Tuesday, February 14, 2006

how to get a girl to come over on Valentine's Day

I accosted Jerry as he walked through the mall on his break. He was on his way to get coffee, and walking fast. I had to raise my voice a bit and put a little hustle on to catch up to his attention.

"I was wondering if I could get a case for my cheap-ass shades? Can you do that?"

"Yeah, sure. When are you off?"


"Alright, just come over after you're done and we'll take a look at you."

I'd helped Jerry track down music he liked, and I'd been lucky playing the suggestion game for him. He liked my taste, and I appreciated his. Since meeting a few years ago we'd only meet when he was out getting coffee. I had 20/20 so there was never a need to track him down for any reason, but he sought me out on the music front. And he would tell me about his courtship, subsequent marraige, and eventual divorce. He was unlucky on that front, and mostly I nodded along in silent sympathy.

I waltzed in to Jerry's store after clocking out, shiny new (shitty cheap) aviators tucked neatly atop my head, and saw he had a customer. Time nicked new lenses as I busied myself asking some of the wandering clerks and technicians why everyone in the store wore corrective lenses, and whether I could hope for a job there someday if I never needed to wear glasses. Did 20/20 employees wear fake lenses? Did they mind selling ugly frames to blind people? What's the next big innovation in eyewear after Oakley's awesome goggles/mp3 player setup? Can you get that in tortoise shell?

Jerry made himself available eventually, and I sat down at a back counter.

"Let's see 'em."

"Yeah, basically they're the crap you get at the kiosk by the food court. I just want something to keep them from getting scratched."

"Not so bad. Spring-loaded ear pieces. These nose rests are lame, though. I'll be right back, put some nice ones on there."

Now, when Jerry went back into the lab, I could see him chest-up through a plate glass window. He turned to face me and set to work on something I couldn't see. He focused on the task at hand. Few minutes later he looked up, smiled, and came back to the counter. My glasses looked the same when he handed them back to me; nose pieces still clear just like they were before. For all I know he was filing his nails back there, but sure they fit much nicer now.

"They should bounce a little on your nose, without sliding down." He deomonstrated the action while my specs were in place, I didn't flinch. "These are a bit long, here," and nabbed the glasses off my face. I didn't flinch.

He heated the frames and twisted them around. He cleaned the lenses with a spritz. The shades fit now, snug and shiny. Finally, now, the case.

"Black or blue?"

"Black, thanks for all this, Jerry."

"Come back any time." He shook my hand, and I took the case and walked out of the store.

On the bus ride home, I felt safe behind my tight mirrors. I did one of the crossword puzzles in the paper and promptly fell asleep with my knees tucked up against the seat ahead. I woke up to a hundred school kids yelling and swinging trumpets and violas at my head.

I noticed it as soon as I walked into my dark apartment. She'd left her black scarf on my bedside table. I put it on and waited.

Currently Listening:
Your Blues
By Destroyer

No comments: