Sitting in a coffee shop in the South End, drinking a Spanish latte from a mug big enough to swim in and sloppily picking apart a blueberry/undetermined muffin with my fingers. The mingling of foam and the sharp iron taste from me stress-chewing the inside of my lip.
The hum of machinery and the shrill, almost comically high, voice of a (graduate) student who hasn’t stopped talking for the twenty minutes I’ve been here.
I’m reading Jenny Mollen’s new book, Live Fast, Die Hot, and I can justify reading it because I’m reviewing it for my Media Criticism class and my original pitch of Finding Prince Charming was pushed back for a longer review. The book is amazing, and it’s this perfect blend of anxiety and humor, and it feels real and authentic.
The sky is overcast, but instead of feeling soft and snuggly, the layer of gray clouds trapping the humidity like a bug under glass. I walked from my apartment, forty minutes, and a dark circle of sweat still stains the fabric of my J.Crew rucksack. I can’t remember not being moist—my mom hates that word, but it’s the only one fitting—for these last few weeks. It’s the last vestiges of summer, the gasping breaths, the death rattle. Am I being too melancholic?
I’m in a weird mood, and if this were a book, the weather would operate literarily as a pathetic fallacy—a device where the exterior setting matches the interior mood. I’m conceited enough to actually believe that the weather reflects my mood, but I know that—objectively—it’s actually just a fitting coincidence.
Now the shrill-voiced girl is listing the pros and cons of various dating sites. Coffee Meets Bagel only sets her up with boring guys. However, she went on a string of dates with someone from Coffee Meets Bagel in an attempt to “lower her bar.” He was bougie, she has teen parents (she is so complex). He was a “businessman,” to which she scoffed. I am deep into this girl’s life. Her voice has peaked through the stratosphere and is head-butting into the mesosphere.
I had a not-fight last night (writing on Sunday, so this was Saturday) and I hate that. I’d rather have a fight where it’s explosive and loud and every bad feeling is drained out like a lance, but this was a bump rather than a bang, so you’re left wondering where the soft barriers of the fight end.
It’s super predictable and clichéd, but walking back from the party—liquid-legged—certain things become clear and it’s annoying. Like, all the pretenses are stripped away and your thoughts are cleared up and in the morning it’s a lot easier to rationalize and compartmentalize and store thoughts away. What am I saying? I don’t know. I do, but I don’t.
I’m sitting next to what I think/hope is a date. I think it’s a date because it’s two very cool, very smart people and I hope it’s a date because they seem to have a genuine connection and I just want them to get married/become partners and just do a bunch of cool things. Usually when I’m around dates or couples, it annoys the living shit out of me. But when I see people with a genuine, non-Instagrammy connection, it inspires and enlivens me.
How do you just start hanging out with people? I wish that there wasn’t that innate pressure when you’re hanging out with someone. When I’m with friends, it’s easy and light and freeing to just get coffee or walk and talk or not talk. But when there’s that tinge of something more, that slight tension in the air like the promise of a thunderstorm, I freeze up. How do we get rid of that pressure? And I’m saying “we” because, you guys, idk what to do!! I want to hang with people but not have any of the pressure or the implications or the history or the charge. I want it to be chargeless and just in-the-moment-y.
I have to eventually leave this coffee shop and explore the South End because it’s my beat, but as long as I stay in here, I can avoid my responsibilities and feelings of inadequacies as a journalist. Aka, just forward my mail (aka Amazon purchases) to my new address @ 69 Hiding From My Responsibilities Lane, Boston MA.
A few hours go by. I sweat more. I change my shirt three times.
I’m walking to Whole Foods to say that I’m going to buy bread for my soup (it was an organic tomato bisque from Trader Joe’s that I later added marinara sauce too because organic tomato bisque from Trader Joe’s tastes like the U.S. Mint) but really going to buy desserts and then throw in a random bread roll to assuage my fat guilt.
While walking—wait let me back up. I’m wearing flip-flops, an oversized tank top that says “Lifeguard” on it that I stole from my summer camp job, mid-thigh Adidas shorts and a black baseball cap, and (as always) my viciously overinflated confidence)—to Whole Foods, I spot someone who I tangentially knew of a few years ago.
He was in a fraternity that I was rushing (I was depressed and a lunatic, so don’t judge me) and back then he was so hot that it made me want to rub myself in Vaseline and slide down one of those Olympic ski mountains. He had great brows, a great hooked nose. HOWEVER, I saw him a few days ago, and then I saw him on the way to Whole Foods. He’s gotten fat. Not, like, obese, but he’s definitely gained some weight. Seeing that, bringing a hot person more down to my level (he went from a 9 to a 7, and I’m a 7 if you squint), really made up for the grey mood I’d been in all day. Ugh, so nice.