“So then I says, ‘Whaddya mean no more chocolate glazed donuts?’ And the guy, he says, ‘We’re out.’ So I says ...”
Yet another harbinger of old age to come: the brutally banal banter bandied about without pause.
Everything — everything — becomes a Shakespearean opus, replete with character descriptions, action narratives and detailed dialogue.
Doesn’t matter how mundane the story — waiting in line at DMV, setting up a dentist appointment, getting the morning toast to the perfect shade of brown — they all merit a full-scale, one-person production.
At what age does the bad bard gene kick in? Are we born with it and nervously await its ill-fated debut during senior citizenry?
Or is it that younger folk have so much good shit going on that they want to get right past the mindless daily rituals as fast as possible so they can tell you about this hot guy or girl that kind of smiled at them at the coffee shop, or this potential job opportunity that will take them to Australia, or this bike-to-hike-to-rock-climb thing they’re locking in for a month sabbatical.
Maybe when you run out of stories worth telling, you transfer your storytelling skills to the drug store line you had to wait on for six goddamned minutes. “And let me tell you, I said to them, I said ...”
I have seen the storytelling future, and it ain’t pretty.
French fries. Hot. Crispy. No, really, crispy. Not used-to-be crispy or came-out-of-the-oven-but-no-more crispy. Straight up crispy. On a plate. Outside. At a restaurant. With people and wait staff. With conversations and smiles and dogs under tables. With people watching people strolling up and down the street. With a cool breeze, not a cold draft. After a long, oppressive Covid quarantine winter replete with soggy takeout, he and his wife returned to a restaurant. Their first return in the early spring season. So much that used to be taken for granted that no longer is. All summed up with fresh French fries. Oh, and also a cup of coffee in a ceramic cup. That you could get refilled. The little pleasures. How nice to rediscover them, and appreciate them like a toddler heading to McDonalds for the first time.
He kept dialing in on the status calls of a client of his, even though the project had wrapped, just so he could have some kind of connection with other people since he had no more live gigs. Just to maintain the illusion of having work buddies even though he was an occasional contractor who had only worked with a few of the people in the company. It was a combination of George Constanza lying his way into an office, and Kramer just showing up even though he doesn’t work there. He wondered what it would be like in six months when his project was long forgotten, everyone who vaguely remembered him had moved on, and his only connection would be the Monday morning status call. When it’s his turn to discuss his status, does he mention his self-imposed assignment to clean out his sock drawer? Oh well, he figured he’d keep calling in until they were in the uncomfortable position of having to tell him there was no reason for him to call in. Or perhaps they would take the less uncomfortable solution and just expire his email and access code. But until then, they were the only work buddies he had — whether they liked it or not.