When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Last Night On A Very Special, "My Night Job"...

...I bid adieu to A.D.Annie, Snapper, Red, Sexy Minx, and Drama Queen.

For the first time last night, Sexy Minx discovered I was a therapist and she wanted to have sessions with me. Of course I couldn't do it. She covered it up with giggles, and said she understood, but she was near tears by the end of the night. I resisted hugging her, or anyone for that matter. She also said she hadn't married her boyfriend. I'm not sure why A.D.Annie had told us all that she had.

For the first time, Snapper discovered that I had a Master's degree. He goes, "Well why the f*ck are you workin' here?!" So I had thought about it. I told him, "I guess I wasn't ready to be a therapist back in September."

Snapper and Red worked on the same shift for the first time since they started gettin' it in. While I had been keeping their secret, everyone else had found out. So Red kept poking him all night, and he kept calling her a bitch, and she kept laughing and he kept slipping his arm around her waist, and it was just ... I don't know. Cute, I guess. It was maybe a little more than hormonal. They liked each other. And that was alright. The things they have in common are things I don't seek out, and I can't see them becoming more than f-buddies, but whatever. They have each other right now and how can I hate on that?

Carmine Macchiato came in with the family, and Lady Macchiato came to the counter this time. I spoke to her and found her to be a pleasant gal with a wry wit and a slight Caribbean accent. However, I never got to say goodbye to Carmine himself.

Nor did I get to tell The Bull that I was leaving. He had arrived while I was out on break, so I hadn't handed him off his drink, and thus didn't have a chance to banter. When he's sitting at his table, I might go near to clean up or replace drink bottles, but we don't speak at that point. He's busy in the zone with his books. And of course, because it was a dozen degrees above freezing, he was wearing flip-flops. Ugh. Dealbreaker. (As if contemplating jumping the tracks of sexual orientation weren't daunting enough, there's them big 'ol red feet. bleh.) So I didn't get his name, we didn't agree to hang out in the city sometime, and I didn't say goodbye.

When Snapper asked me, "Do you think you'll come back here to work again?" I thought about giving him an answer that would make him feel better, then decided against it.

"No," I said and smiled.

And he looked at me and nodded. "Well, good for you, man. I'm proud of ya."

And I'm like ... I swear, that kid ...


GrizzBabe said...

Awwww. I'm kinda sad. But very happy for you. Is everything going okay with the new gig? I know you can't talk about specifics, but in general, are you happy?

Alan said...

Grizz, when I leave the office, I walk out past a doorman who acknowledges me as someone other than a visitor or a messenger.

When I step out onto the street, it's night. Life is teeming all around me. I look both ways up and down the sidewalk where business-attired people are bustling away from their places of employ, or towards. Then I look up. Glass and steel and light stretching up toward the sky. Leftover Christmas lights strung through arrangements skeletal wire.

Then I begin my walk to the train station. I pass Carnegie Hall. I take a right turn and a few blocks later, I'm on Central Park South. I'm walking, not because I'm aimless and wandering, and not because I've spent too much time in my room, but because I've just done someone some good. The memory of the firm handshake and the poignant look into my eyes as they said "Thank you." The fact that they scheduled to come back next week to let me back into their lives with the expectation that I can give them the same relief that they felt tonight.

I belong there, walking on Central Park South.

I head towards the magic panorama of Columbus Circle and the Time Warner Center. There is no nighttime because of the lights. It's more like a crystal painting on a black velvet background that is a hundred miles wide. The most beautiful people in the world walk by me as I glance into the windows of a sunken restaurant which is still in the decor of the late fifties. I can imagine Frank Sinatra and his boys at one of the tables in the dim lighting, cigars all lit and bobbing in conversating mouths. A horse whinnies across the street, clip-clopping the pavement in protest of pulling the couple in the carriage behind it.

It is only 8:00PM. There are hours ahead of me. I can do anything.

And I realize. This is it. This is what I wanted. Just a month ago it seemed a million years away, but this is it.

These lights and these lives. I live here. I work here. I belong here.

Grizz, I belong here.

My God.

I really am actually happy.

I'm happy.

Vi vi vi vooom!!!!!!!! said...

Onwards and upwards my dear!

(From someone else also very happy! Must be something aligned in the stars!!!)

GrizzBabe said...

I'm so glad, Alan. You deserve all the happiness you are experiencing and more!

Scott said...

Wow, Alan, that sounds just wonderful. What a leap you have taken to realize that you are actually happy. Good for you. And nice bit of honesty to say you wouldn't work there again.

akakarma said...

Alan- from one to another- great job! It can be draining work but worthwhile for sure! Have you read Orson Scott Cards latest yet?

Alan said...

*bobs up and down repeatedly*

Karma, I was walking on my way to a break a few weeks ago and saw this little book in the sci-fi section called "A War of Gifts". On the dustcover is a sticker that says "Signed First Edition" I opened it and there it was, OSC's signature. It seems B&N will periodically get one of these signed copies put in its stock as a leftover from a store event or whatever, and it gets shipped out at random!

I snapped it up as quickly as my little discount could carry me!!

Is that the one you were referring to?