all this life happening.


we went out to lunch, me and this guy. it was our second time going out for lunch. i asked another guy who worked here why this guy wanted to have lunch with me, and that other guy said, well, you're like one of the few guys around here. and that other guy even said, we don't talk enough. you know, we're one of the few heterosexual guys at the office, and we don't ever hang out. and i said, yeah, i'm down to hang out more. and it was a strange, silly conversation. it's a weird thing when grown men have to admit that they need something.

so, anyway, it was a nice day out and me and this guy go out for lunch. where ya wanna go, he said. and i said, cafe presse (because i wanted pomme-frites and a croque monsieur). i asked, do you wanna sit outside, and he said, yeah. the hostess said, how are you guys? and i didn't even answer her. i just said, can we sit outside? she said okay, and then she got us some menus. the black table was hot, and i couldn't believe the sun was out. i hadn't seen the sun in a minute. he sat across from me, and he was quiet, seemed kind of down. i said the table was hot, and he felt it.

we got to talking about things, and i suppose this is how friendships are formed. by going out to lunch and talking about things even though you don't really have much to talk about. i told him about my friends, the jews, the ones who got engaged and passed the bar this past weekend. he said, and there you were, getting ready for monday morning. and i said, yeah. i said, yeah, there i was, getting ready to go proctor. and he said, all this life happening around you, and you're stuck at your job. again i said, yeah.

he asked, have you thought about going to law school? and i said, yeah, i've thought about it. i definitely have a lot of people pushing me in that direction. it's a big commitment, he said. i said, and it's discouraging to hear my coworkers talk about how they'll be paying off loans for the rest of their lives. he nodded. i asked if he'd thought about it. he said he had. and then he paused. if i was single, i'd do it, he said. and i know he didn't mean it, but when he said it, it sounded like he thought getting married young wasn't the best idea.

i asked him, so, is marriage a lot of work? yeah, he said, it is. and then he caught himself. but i love it, he said. it's just like with any relationship, he said, it's always gonna be work, you know? and imagine being in a relationship for twenty-four hours a day! i nodded, as though i knew what he was talking about. and maybe i did. i asked if he kept in touch with anyone from college. no, he said. oh wait, college? no, he said again. i wondered about him, and if he had any friends at all. besides his wife and the older woman who shares the office with him, i thought that i might be the only dude he has to talk to. maybe that's what this was all about.

i asked if he ever studied abroad when he was an undergrad. he said he went to australia for four or five months. he told me some story about when he went into the woods and saw all these glow worms. and then, another time, he stayed at a creepy place that used to be a hospital, and there were all kinds of spiders there. he told me this other story about a girl in australia, and how she wanted to hang out with him on one of his last nights there, and how she invited another girl out. i thought the story was gonna end in a threesome, and i was really disappointed when the real ending was this: so, the girl's friend said, we could go throw rocks at "darkies" in the park!

he asked me about my coworker, the girl who sits next to me. he asked, is she smart? i thought it was a strange question. like i would ever really say, no, actually, she's a complete moron! so i just said, yes. she's been really open lately, he said. how do you mean, i asked him. he said that she's been all smiles and full of energy. i agreed, and i said i didn't know what that was about. maybe she has a plan to get out of here. maybe that bar she wants to start is finally getting off the ground.

we split the check, and then lunch was over. he, back to his desk, and me to mine.

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