This is how Saturday night went down:
After a lie-in and indulging in one-too-many Uprise cappuccinos whilst finishing up design work for BodyTalk, I attempted to quell a bit of boredom by driving to the mall. Although it can be a popular activity for novice drivers, strangely, wasting time at a mall was something I rarely did in high school. Now, however, it is an activity I participate in fairly frequently. Lazily, I meandered and plucked through the contents of department stores, the Gap, Mr. Bulky, Target and various kiosks, including one that sells flourescenlty-lit Jesus statues and unicorns side-by-side. I thought seriously about buying a cookie from the cookie man and then spent a large amount of time contemplating the merit of jeggings. Then, when I found a pair at Target for $12, I concluded that they were a worthwhile enough trend to endorse. I tried on some bras just to try on some bras, then I smelled lotion samples. And at 9 o'clock, I finally walked to my car. Filled with jegging-related excitement, I drove home.
At home, I remembered I had a book that I had been meaning to start—although the owner of the bookshop down the road won't let me tell you what it is because I received it before the formal release date. It will be released tomorrow, so I'll tell you what it is then. To help the rest of this story along, I am at liberty to say that the book is about Russian literature, and it is very funny.
Anyway, I yearned for a glass of wine to go along with my book, so I walked to Ragtag for a drink and a read. After ordering a drink, I thought it best to avoid the bar so that if there was a chance of being bothered by a lonely, valentine-less male, I would not be the victim. I found a table (with just one chair!), sat down and began to enjoy Chapter One. That was, until Lawyer No. 1 stepped up to the plate.
"What's a girl like you doing reading on the night before Valentine's Day?" he asked.
"I like to read. And it's a funny book," I tell him, unsmiling.
"What's it called?"
I hold up the cover.
"Oh, that's a really good book," he says, and he's not joking.
"Really? I was under the impression that it wasn't going to be released until next week."
"So, I'm a law student. What do you do?"
"I'm a writer and designer."
He regroups: "What are you doing tonight?"
"This," and I point to my book.
"Well," he begins, "You obviously have great taste. You're drinking wine and reading a book on a Saturday night. If you need any sort of stimulating conversation, please join me with my friends."
I look up and smile with my mouth closed, and find my place before he has turned around to go back to his table.
Onto Chapter Two, and Lawyer Numero Deux strolls up. Instead of pulling up a chair without being invited, Mr. Closing Statement walks right up to where I'm sitting and stands with his crotch in my face.
Imagine the first conversation, only this guy is more persistent, and he is no longer a law student—unfortunately he practices.
"Russian literature, huh? Have you read Waiting for Godot?"
"Yes, and that's French."
"Oh. Well, what about the Stranger?"
"That's French too."
(Silence commences and segues into the "what do you do" conversation).
"What do you think of lawyers?" he asks.
"Do you really want to know?" I ask.
"Yeah," he scoffs.
"They think they know everything and everyone, and everything about everyone."
"Well you want to know what I think about writers? The same thing."
"Probably true," I reply.
"So, we must be pretty compatible then."
"You think so?" I ask.
"You want to find out?" (Mind you, his crotch is still in my face).
"No thanks. And I don't think my boyfriend would like that either."
"Oh, yeah, that's convenient," he says. "A smart girl like you—drinking wine, reading a book about Russian Literature on a Saturday night. You would have a boyfriend."
"Yep," I open my book up again and leaf to the current page.
"How old are you anyway?"
"23," I tell him, honestly.
"Yeah, that's what I figured."
He leaves, and I immediately grab a pen and notebook from my bag to scribble down the conversation. The evening, so far, has been surreal, and I've still not finished my first drink.
I am not yet through Chapter 2, when (you will never believe this) Lawyer THREE pulls up a chair he has dragged in from outside and sits down across from me. I look up. He leans back. He tells me his name is Marshall, and asks for mine. "I'm Sarah," I say.
I endure a hybrid of the previous two conversations, but rather than deterring his interest with the mentioning of the "b" word, he asks more questions.
"So, this boyfriend of yours, he's okay with you going out on a Saturday night and reading a book?"
"I wouldn't be okay with that," he retorts. If not a book, I wonder what things he would be okay with.
"And where is this boyfriend?" he asks.
"He doesn't live here, and that's none of your business," I tell him.
"I like this. You look me right in the eye when you talk to me. That must mean something."
I open my book up...again to try to find my page...again.
"Wait, just wait a second," he reaches across the table. I retreat. "Let me just tell you one thing," he says. "This boyfriend of yours, if he really does exist, one day it might not work out with him. And you'll think back to this night and wonder why you didn't let me buy you a drink because I'm the best thing that could ever happen to you."
At this point, I am exhausted. The first two lawyers were bad. But this one? It's taken all of my strength not to flog him over the head with my paperback. Marshall has convinced me that he is not the best thing to happen to me, and in fact, he is very far from it.
I stare blankly back at him and tap my book on the table.
The silence drives him away, but not before I ask him to please take the lawn chair with him.
Perhaps it was the loneliness of a Valentine's Day Eve, or maybe a girl sitting alone at a table completely entranced in a book means she's asking for it. I haven't quite figured it out. Thinking back to the evening, I wish I had recorded the appearance of the men who attempted a short-lived courtship instead of just my conversations with them. Now, a few days later, they have no discerning characteristics—they all seem to be wearing the same shirt and chinos, they all have the same blondish hair, and they all have a caricature-esque chin. After Lawyer 3, I didn't want to chance a fourth, so I quickly downed the rest of my wine, finished my chapter and got the Hell out of what is normally my favorite bar — for chatting, drinking, and yes, even reading. Next time, I resolved, I'll make sure to have a bottle of wine at home.