Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Communion, of sorts

I can hear the impatient foot-tapping, the intermittent sigh, and the awkward 2-foot pacing shuffle outside the stall. There's only one in the women's room, but all the same I'm glad we didn't go for the men's. This woman's irritated discomfort is absolutely tickling me, so maybe it's schadenfreude or maybe it's the simple fact of the public location, but whatever it is, I'm into it. This enthusiasm lends a particular gusto to my work and Bacon has to be extra mindful to check his groans.

I love North Beach. I love the strip clubs, the neon signs, the grimy pizza joints, and the shit-hole dives that are cheap and yet rich with literary and cultural history. I love imagining that one of the beat poets might have been on his knees in this very stall 50 years ago. And I, now similarly on my knees, can't help imagining myself linked to them in more ways than one. At least I know as well as they did that in this neighborhood, sleaze is not a spectator sport.

As I exit the stall and face the patiently fuming ladies-room martyr, I playfully wipe the corner of my mouth with fingers whose nails are perfectly painted black. I lock eyes with the woman, challenging her to say something, if she's got something to say to me, but she doesn't. Good. I recognized her as half of the couple that had been sitting next to us in the bar, and chuckle as Bacon and I return to our seats. Not two minutes later, the woman stormed out of the bar and her date followed her in confusion. Maybe she was a tourist to North Beach, harkening from somewhere fancier, like the Marina -- but here? What did she expect?
"So, where were we?"
Bacon can't wipe the grin off his big hairy face. I smile back, having taken great pleasure in satisfying him for the fourth time that night already.
"I believe the flowchart of our conversation has been: whiskey, polyamory, marriage, death, motorcycles, suicide, and then fucking in the bathroom." 
"Ah yes. Well, we better get another round then."

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