April 17

Hungry at the cafe but you check your account and decide it’s probably safer just to stay hungry for a while, ’til Happy Hour, at which point you head south to the usual bar for a halfprice beer and a halfprice appetizer, big enough to work as a meal, and to read for a bit before heading home.

At the cafe when you were hungry the barista got up from behind the counter and came over and sat beside you at the communal table, bored in this lull between busy patches, and without mentioning her son she says she might have to look for a new job soon. This sudden candor. Talks with spotty eye-contact, unprompted, about how she’s only just barely meeting her expenses. She refers your eye to the counter where, a few minutes ago, that empty and red-stained Tupperware was full of pasta and she was doing damage to it.

“Made that fucking pasta two nights ago, big pot like a witch, and I’m still eating it now and I’ll probably have it again tomorrow. Like…” Her breath catches and she shakes her head, closes her eyes, sighs. Opens up and looks immediately more flippant and cool. Says, “I feel like it’s fine in the end cuz I’m, what?, I’m twenty-eight. I’m just starting out, like, in life. So I know it’s fine, that this is like my Struggle Period and that eventually shit’ll be good cuz I’ve got like the work ethic, the brains, whatever whatever. It’s just…” mouth agape, pawing for a word, she finally just laughs, “it fucking sucks right now.”

And a cuple hours later you’re here at the bar, finally getting your Bliss, and you’re thinking of her life and of yours. Her attitude and yours.

You’re comparing, which people say not to do.

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Did This to Yourself

There’s a young guy here about your age who parts his hair in the back-right corner of his head and he’s got sunglasses on inside, taking hits from an e-cigarette, an air of austerity and entitlement about him and, internet being what it is, you wonder if he’s famous somehow, or if his parents are rich, and then a minute later you notice you aren’t even entertaining the idea that maybe this kid is independently wealthy for doing something honest and practical.

He’s having coffee at a table with an older woman in nice clothes who’s talking about somebody who lost $9 million. She gets to the end of her explanation: the person who lost it and how they lost it and the consequences. Then she looks into her coffee and shakes her head, pitying. Cocks an eyebrow. “May’ve even been ten million.”


More of this upstairs, in theĀ Thousand Movie Project.