Monday, November 15, 2010

Please Eavesdrop

So getting personal is pretty essential to my job description. But personal as in, "What are your hobbies?" "Where do you spend most of your time?" "What do you use your eyeballs for?" Then they make conversation and I usually say some variation of these things, "Nope. Just 'Libby', it's not short for anything." "Yeah, I heard it was supposed to rain/ get warmer/ get colder/ remain the same." "I've lived here for about a year and a half." "Yes, I love it." Then, today I had this conversation with a middle-aged married couple. The following is a true story.

"Okay, so he's from New York and you're from California? Wow! How did you guys even end up in the same room?"
"Well, he was visiting his brother who was stationed in San Diego. His brother dragged him to this bar and then left him there while he went out with a girl. I was at an after-work party and terribly bored and I offered him a ride home. We both left stone sober."
"I got in her car and we talked until the sun came up."
"And we decided to get married."
"Right then?!"
"Yep. I went home, broke up with my boyfriend of two years and that was thirty years and eight days ago."

I'm pretty much just staring at them in stunned silence and I finally managed to squeak out that question that's been nagging at me for the past half-dozen years, "What made you want to marry her?"
And quite simply, in the most unromantic and honest tone he said, "She was nice to talk to."
"You see, I figured I'd never see him again. So I didn't start with any pretenses. No lies, no put ons. I was just myself--very transparent. Too transparent."
"Not too transparent."
"And I've never had to pretend with him in thirty years and eight days. He only wanted me like I came--straight out of the box."

I was mostly speechless. But I did manage, "I. Love. That story."
She looked at me and asked me the type of question that can only be asked by someone who's not used to putting on airs. She said, "I wasted my time with that other boy because I was lonely. It's a very pathetic part of the story.
so are you wasting your time with anyone, Libby?"
The scope of my grin surprised me, I couldn't hold it back because I felt truly happy to be answering this question honestly when I said, "Nope."

And then they left and I transcribed our conversation.

2 comments:

Adam Parker said...

Somehow, it does not feel out of place for me to link to my latest piece at BTB after reading this.

http://www.bringthebooks.org/2010/11/unfulfilled-romantics.html

JD and Jamie said...

I, too, love this story.

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