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ben stiller

I saw him again. What are the chances. Technically it’s only the second time we’ve seen each other. Or is it the third? No, he didn’t see me what am I thinking. It’s maybe the third time I’ve seen him and possibly he has seen me once but he wouldn’t know that because nobody remembers waiters.

I was on my bike. It was a hard day. Everyone was irritating me. From the moment I got to my training I was annoyed with people who wanted to talk to me. Even as I felt my annoyance at others I felt annoyed at myself for being annoyed. What is wrong with you I thought. Don’t be such an asshole. Sometimes I just want things to go a very certain way. Mine. My mood changed throughout the day. I got good feedback from the person I partnered with at the training. I felt like maybe I’m good at this thing I’m studying after all. Why is it so hard to accept being good at something? Or believing it. Everything I learned as a kid was about doubting yourself. I never got an unequivocal compliment from my parents. That must mean something. Meanwhile, my god this record I’m listening to right now is good.

I was thinking about how I almost ran into a car on that block earlier this year. I remember the look of horror on the driver’s face as I careened through the intersection. It seems like every time I ride my bike I have at least one near death experience. How do people do this drunk or stoned. There was some kind of festival or party happening in the park. Bands playing, people going crazy in the sunlight. It was just going to be a day where I rode by a lot of groups of people doing things that I felt alien to. It would be the same that night after the show. The rhythmic sensation of flying by vitrines full of laughter and impenetrable sociality. Right before I left my friend at dinner I felt a wall slide down inside me that signaled it was time to go.  There’s no not listening to it. My efforts to push past it come across as half-hearted at best.

He was hunkered over like a linebacker. Is that the guy who plows through the crowd? Now that there’s a gay football player I might learn the rules before I forget them again. I know they have to keep the ball moving at least ten yards at a time I think. My father once watched an action movie and shouted at the screen It’s just war propaganda! B had a duffel bag over one shoulder. That sounds absurd but he had the hunch of a person walking with a big duffel bag. A steely expression of determination. An unkind face. Leaving wherever he’d been or whatever he was doing to go on to the next thing. My whole fucking day. Why do I mostly see white ones? Mostly men. Is it an indictment of my eyes or my contexts? Both probably.

I googled “Rimbaud on loneliness” and found this:

Sensation

Through the blue summer days, I shall travel all the ways,
Pricked by the ears of maize, trampling the dew:
A dreamer, I will gaze, as underfoot the coolness plays.
I’ll let the evening breeze drench my head anew.

I shall say – not a thing: I shall think – not a thing:
But an infinite love will swell in my soul,
And far off I shall go, a bohemian,
Through Nature – as happy, as if I had a girl.

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Simian

He keeps coming up in different conversations in different places, but I’ve only seen him in person once, which was way long ago when I was still waiting tables at the cocaine/alcoholic factory. Often I can remember the night of the week that I saw famous people because my schedule was fairly consistent – Sunday was usually the quietest night so I remember those the best – but I can’t be sure of the night I saw him. Funny to think that he was even famous by then. He was sitting in a small booth facing someone whose back was to me. He had bleached hair! That took me by surprise. It wasn’t one of my tables so anything I saw was just incidental, on my way to serving fifteen cosmos to a table of Russians probably. There was that other night that I was rushing – we were packed – and I went to make an espresso and as I pulled the coffee lever out of the machine steaming hot grounds splattered across my neck, shirt and the wall behind me. I zombied my way to the bar to ask for ice. Fortunately the bartender J identified what was happening better than I did – You’re in shock, he said and got me to lie down with some ice on my neck in the manager’s office. Maybe I was shaking or something. I definitely wouldn’t have thought to take a break if someone else hadn’t taken charge of the situation. E, the manager, sympathized with me for about five minutes then offered me two shots of whiskey and said I need you back on the floor. You have ten tables. Ever ready to prove my worth as a cocaine-addled waiter, I hurried back to work. I could have sued.

Anyway there he was facing me whenever I passed. Glittery eyes, that bleached blonde hair, a monochromatic sweater. Handsome. More striking than you’d think, but this was the 90’s after all. Everyone was younger then. But the biggest surprise was that he was super faggy looking. I thought oh my god he’s gay! I was somehow sure of it. He was there with a guy! What further proof was needed? I thought, wow I really have the scoop now. What I was planning to do with this priceless information I’ll never know. Then, as now, my resolve was minuscule, minutes long at most, and any desire to tip off some gossip columnist was quickly tempered by my strong Catholic-upbringing’s sense of restraint. I’d never become devious, no matter how many drugs I took. Eventually he got up to leave and he had this little gorilla body, short and powerful, muscular it seemed but definitely apelike. Eyes ready to kill or something. Maybe he was high too, oh god everyone was at that place.

Of course the gay thing is untrue I mean it was just a momentary projection. It must have been the hair and I guess I was unaccustomed to seeing two young attractive men sitting together who weren’t fucking or about to. But like I said he keeps coming up this year in the most random ways. First there was my friend B telling me that of all the celebrities she has to handle he’s the biggest dick of them all, cuz he demands to be flown around on a Lear Jet all the time, among other things. And then P is having the total opposite experience with him because he’s helping him out with his career in multiple ways. And then I was in Sydney and someone had a picture of him all graffittied with make up on it, like a drag clown. I would see it whenever I walked back to my hotel from downtown. At first I crossed the street to get a closer look at it but eventually I found it creepy, so I would just stay on the other side, clocking it briefly as I passed.