I ask for a Snakebite but the bartender pours me a Black Velvet instead.

The Guinness sits sluggishly on top of the hard cider. I hand Garrett his stout and raise my glass.

“Cheers.”

Victoria crinkles her nose at me in a playful way.

“Baby why don’t you ever send food back?”

Because if the Universe throws me a curve ball, why not roll with it? Wants are just wants, afterall. Nothing is ever really needed.

I wonder if I should reach out to her, but she probably still has that jealous boyfriend who doesn’t want her talking to me. And I have been back in town for a year.

Things are going to change. Not in a small inconsequential way. In a giant, nuclear train-wreck way.

New apartment or new roommates. Deposit on an apartment. Where will I live next month?

Questions about money and security – and stability. My mind swims with concerns and worries.

 

 

“He received the wrong size TV from Amazon and he get arrested over it.”

I am only half-listening to my boss blathering on about some bullshit news story. He’s delegated plenty of bullshit to me, so he can stand next to me while I work and run on at the mouth.

When he’s not busy yelling at Mira for one of my mistakes.

I try to interject, to tactfully let him know – not her fault, but mine.

“I’m not coming down hard on her…”

Still, it’s my fault. I know it. She knows it. Politics, man. Work bullshit.

Another night I wish I was drinking.

I roll into Burger King with a buzzed grin scrawled across my face. The cute girl with glasses is working. Yes.

Some younger guy comes in and starts flirting with her. Then some old homeless man.

I have a hard time putting myself out there.

 

On the subject of birthdays:

“I always try to do activities with my partner,” a coworker confides in me. “But it always winds up being something she’s not really into.”

“Well, I set the bar really high last year, so I screwed myself,” another coworker chimes in.

A smile and a drag on a cigarette. “That’s why I do the bare minimum in relationships.” Steph and I chuckle.

Maybe that’s why I’m single, I think to myself.

But there’s probably someone, somewhere who could be tricked into dating me for a minute or two. So my lack of caring probably isn’t the reason.

Not that I’m looking – for reasons or girlfriends.

Things can just happen as they will. I’ll be here to weather them.

I stay up late watching Ghost in the Shell and trying not to think about death and the end of consciousness. I make a cup of tea and read Wikipedia articles about failed relocation programs in the former Soviet Union.

When morning comes, I wash my face and pull on some clothes.

I need to shave my head again. The hair growing longer than it should, showing off the bald spot on top of my head.

The running faucet and the audible scrape of the razor over my scalp comes down like a religious experience. Cutting away at vanity and excess and the desire to cling to youth.

Under the faucet, hair and shaving soap washed away.

Washed away with the years of long hair and debt and art.

“I just want to run my hands through it…”

At work, Sandra runs her hands over my shaved head. Totally inappropriate, but I’m not gonna stop her.

I have always treated every advance as a compliment. Whether I feel that back or not, it’s pretty nice to know people just can’t keep their hands off of a guy.

But that’s probably just me.

Still weird, still crazy. Still following my own rules.

I should call an old friend and talk.

But I know – no one is going to pick up.