A Donut Shop Encounter

[overheard in line]

… so… you like the Butternut?

Yes, they’re very good.

Then I’ll take one of those, too.

Anything else, sir?

Yes. Your employee discount.

[Laughs] Sure. Why not. Anything else?

Yes. Your number.

Umm… I have a boyfriend.

Really? Ever given HIM your employee discount?

Nice one. That’ll be four seventy-three.

[Turning to me] Can I help you?

I think I’ll try the Butternut as well. You handled that really well, by the way.

Yeah, well… his wife is waiting for him out in the car, I figured she’d appreciate it.

Or wouldn’t, as the case may be.

 

Asides – 1

The men I meet don’t even try

What do you mean?

They don’t even try to see “me”.
They just want things.
It’s all, like, a big game

Doesn’t sound like a very fun game

It’s not.
I’m lonely.
Is it me?
Am I doing something wrong?

You? No.
You’re fantastic.
Any guy would be lucky
To date you

Then what is it?

It’s just… opportunity.
Somebody good will come along.
They will. They’re out there.

Well they need to come ashore then
Oh… and, um… Owen?

Yes?

How did you know that
Janey was the one?
And don’t tell me
‘I just knew.’
I hate that answer

When I first saw her she was…
Just standing by a window.
I looked at her, and
I literally couldn’t breathe for a second.

Would you say the initial attraction
Was physical?

Sort of yes.
More… metaphysical.
I knew she was an artist,
I’d heard of her, but
I had never seen her.
Now I was just… struck dumb

Did you talk to her?

No, because I was struck dumb.
I did eventually.
She just fascinated me, I mean,
You’ve known her longer than I have.

Yeah, you were the first decent guy
She dated.

Well… sort of decent

No she went out with some real losers.

… and so have you.
But you’ll meet someone.
My whole point.

I hate being patient.
I was never any good at it

Then hurry about things
You CAN control.
Don’t worry about guys.
Maybe you could take up parkour…

Sigh.
Even my male friends don’t even try

Sketches – LXIX

I can’t believe you’re wearing that

Why?
What’s wrong with this?

You look like my dad.
It’s not your sexiest look

Fine. I’ll change

Just give me that shirt.
Goodwill needs donations

Wow, you really hate this.
You realize, a man could never say
What you just said to a woman.
He would be called verbally abusive.
It would be all over the Internet.
It would go viral or pandemic or something

You’re probably right, but
That shirt’s gotta go.
It looks like the pattern was made
By someone operating a jackhammer

[… coming back in the room]

Much better

So did your dad have bad taste in clothes?

The worst.
And he was a really good looking guy.
He wore weird mixtures, like
A Hawaiian shirt with a bolo tie.
Stuff like that.
When I was a teenager, it used to
Really embarrass me

Well I won’t wear that shirt again.
Especially since you just took it.
You miss your dad don’t you?

Every day.
Especially recently.

Any particular reason?

All that craziness with my sister.
Keeping calm was my dad’s province.
That’s not really mom’s thing.
Or mine

He sure loved his girls

You think?

Honey, I know.
I met him.
He loved you two,
Thought you were the coolest things ever

Yeah, well,
He wasn’t big on saying it
TO us.
I’m glad he said it to you

He would be proud of you,
Of what you’ve made of the gallery

Now I’m gonna cry

I could put the shirt back on,
Change the mood

Tacky is not a mood

Sketches – 68

The sepia present.

Is that a sepia-tone painting?

Yes

Historical?

No, it’s representative of
Our current times.
How we may look back on them
Forty years from now

So as quaint and out of fashion
As faded black-and-white photographs?

More like lithographs,
But yes

And what do you see
As the essence of our times?

I haven’t worked that out, but,
Blindness and hubris are in there.
We cannot see what is right in front of us.
Most people have stopped looking,
Unless they think there’s a good
IG post to be seen.

And the hubris?

Oh, that’s everywhere.
We are trying to create
Artificial intelligence
Without genuine wisdom;
Machines can learn, but
Kids are left untaught;
And we sit in judgment of all
Previous generations and societies,
As though we are so much better.

That’s a poem right there

Now it needs to become a painting.
Do you mind cooking tonight?

No problem.
How about chicken curry,
Squash, and whole grain bread?

That’s hubris, right there,
Thinking you can pull that off

But it’s more or less sepia

Then I’ll more or less
Try to eat it

Sketches – 67

“It’s easier for guys…”

If anything happened to me,
Would you remarry?

I don’t think so

Why not?

I’m weird, I’m
Hard to get along with.
There could never be anyone
As perfect for me as you

I think women would be
All over you

Then your hypothetical future
Looks nothing like the past.
What about you?
If anything happened to me,
Would you remarry?

It’s easier for guys.
You stay attractive as you age.
Men just want younger women

So guys are shallow for seeking youth,
But young women aren’t shallow for seeking
So-called ‘high status’ older guys?

That’s actually a fair point

And anyway, guys are attracted to you

Yeah, well, don’t die, is my advice

Then you can’t, either

Fine

You want to stop at
This next exit and get a drink?
It says ‘cougars welcome’

It says ‘coupons welcome’

I was only three letters off

You’re right.
You are weird

Sketches – 66

Truth and lies

Are you listening to jazz?

What?

Are you listening to jazz?
Because that sounds like —

… Miles Davis, yes.
Kind of Blue.

Of course

I have a question.
Have you ever lied to me?

What?
Ummm… yes.

When?

Just now.
When I told you I’d lied to you

It’s too early for logic puzzles.
I started to write down
All the lies my dad told us.
It would take less time
To write down the number of
Truthful things he’d ever said

Oh, love, I’m so sorry.
You don’t talk about him much

He’s gone now.
I mean, he always was, but
Gone irretrievably,
You know

But you loved him

Loved and hated, yes.
Still do.
Always will, I guess.
He would tell my sister and me
About the new house he was going to build for us:
Beside the ocean, on a hill,
Where I would have a pet dolphin,
And she would have
Her own flock of seagulls…

Yes.

I think I realize now,
Lies were the best things
He knew how to give us.
The world seems a pretty dark place
To a little girl who can’t
Trust her father.
But that house,
The one he was going to build —
That was beautiful

Have you ever painted that house?
The way you imagined it?

Every painting I paint is that house,
In a way.
I’m always trying to bring the past back…
And fix it

But you work so hard
To be truthful and accurate
To what all actually occurred…

When people think they know,
And you show them that they’re mistaken,
They may grudgingly agree,
But you’ll always feel like a liar to them

Ok, you topped my logic puzzle

But you understand, right?

I think so

Where are you headed now?

To wash my car.
Need anything while I’m out?

Bring back more tissues, please

💙

Sketches – 65

No blue here

Blue.
Do you know it used to be
By far the most expensive pigment
For artists to buy?

No, I did not

If you look at old paintings,
You’ll realize
Many of them have
Little to no blue in them.
So I’m doing this series
With no blue

It’s weird to think
Of blue being hard to come by

It’s weird to think, period.
Art should make people think

All art?

Yes, but
The kind of thinking varies.
It doesn’t have to be
Terribly serious
All of the time, however.
But thought, yes

So will one day
This be called part of your
Lack-of-Blue period?

No, it will be part of my
Rose-up-and-smacked-you-upside-the-head
Period

How about I let you work?

Good, I’ll see you around dinner time.
What are you making?

Plans to cook dinner, apparently.
It will be good, don’t worry.
No blue dye of any kind

Now you’re getting it