This was a while ago and I’m reconstructing the whole thing now on the basis of like four or five lines I found in a notebook so, y’know, the exactitude of things is a bit stretched but, looking back, I remember that this guy’s in probably his mid fifties and he’s got a full head of gray hair and he’s not fat, exactly, but he’s wide to the point of nearly encompassing a second stool. We’re pretty much the only ones at the bar when he makes some remark about a GEICO commercial, or maybe it was Old Spice (something amusing), and this leads somehow to subjects larger than their occasion.
He’s twice divorced, he says, and after dealing with “all that” — says this with a wince, waving a hand before his face as though to peer through smoke — he doesn’t see marriage in the cards again. Says he’s even pretty skeptical about taking women home now from a bar; not entirely averse to it, he says, and obviously when the opportunity’s looking you in the face you never know how you’ll react but, still. He’s wary.
He lifts his glass, sips, lowers it and addresses the paradox: that he’s here on the dating scene not looking for anything serious and yet he recoils from one night stands on the basis that such women aren’t “serious” enough, essentially.
“You, though,” he says, clearing his throat. Puts his glass down. “You’re what: 24? 25?”
“22. Jesus.” His blinking is erratic and he rolls his eyes as though to sober himself. “Anyway. Don’t get discouraged. Do it. Date. You got a girlfriend now?”
This was back in like October, and things were gray at the time, and I remember I did something with my shoulders; kind of a see-saw thing with my hand.
“Yeah yeah, that’s fine. Listen: hang in there, date, do the family thing if you want.” He goes for his glass again but then thinks of something and puts it down. Seems to suddenly get self-conscious, sobered, and with a self-deprecating laugh says, “…and don’t forget to eat your vegetables, of course; call your mother, tip your waitress…”