"Just Look At Her!" (2)
08 July 2009 at 4:52 pm
A few months later, Kristie told me about this guy who came in on Saturday night, sat on the chairs on the stage, and stared at her all night.
A few days later, the bar boss warned me that the new girl needed to talk to me about something, and that something was this guy who came in on Sunday night asking about me.
The next day, a customer I vaguely recognized told me he met one of my "admirers" (his word) earlier in the night, and continued to insist, after I told him that everything was cool, that the guy just wanted to say hello to me, that the customer didn't think he was a stalker, that the customer has known stalkers, and that the customer thinks the guy is an alright kid. (The customer would later get so tanked off Chimay that he'd pass out on the patio, and I'd have to corral customers into helping him leave the bar.)
A little bit later, that customer told me the guy was back, and that he was going to go talk to him. I told him not to, that I was going outside to introduce myself, but I work at a bar on Friday night and it was busy, so the customer left and there wasn't much I could do about it.
They both come back in, and it's the guy who I know only because he found this diary and read the whole thing and contacted me. We've had a few conversations over AIM, and I knew he was taking an ill-fated bike trip up the coast, knew he would be passing through, knew he was intending to stop into the bar.
I knew who he was, but I couldn't tell anyone without them knowing about this. My lives, when they intertwine like a Venn diagram, they tend to implode, like when my brother was dating my best friend and I had no one to talk to about how awful it was for me, even though, and especially because, it had nothing, and everything, to do with me. I am good at compartmentalizing, providing and fulfilling roles, and I don't like when those roles bleed into each other.
The kid hangs out all night, talking with random customers, while coworkers and friends and regulars comment on how they've all seen this kid hanging around, how he's been at the bar since fifteen minutes before we open, and suddenly, everyone's a little sketched out, even when I say that it's really not a problem, but if it were, it would be my problem and nobody else's. But people, you know, they want to help.
I ask the kid if he's alright, serve him some popcorn when he asks for it. The customer buys him a glass on wine, which sits untouched for several hours. The kid says something cute, the delivery of which flows like he's been practicing it ("I overhead two girls talking about you earlier. They were saying how awesome you are, but they might have been saying you're a possum"), and I get it, ok, I get this weirdo kid who's just off having an adventure because he doesn't have anything better to do, I've certainly been that weirdo kid, who knows of this girl in this town, who signed on for a little bit more than he bargained for and could use some help, a place to stay, some food, a ride to San Diego.
But it's Friday night in a bar and I'm going to be at work until 4am at least, and I couldn't offer him any of those things.
And I felt really, really badly about it, because, you know, I want to help.
So I guess this is me apologizing that California wasn't more welcoming.
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