Still a stranger

Today's amusing moment on the sidewalk: He didn't accept a flyer, but one guy hesitated, looking me up and down. Sometimes people notice the cape or the insect head, but this guy was looking lower. 

"Nice bulge," he said, and I followed his eyes downward to my pants. 

I'm eating a little healthier and doing genuine work for a living, so I've lost some weight, and several inches from around the midsection. I'm still wearing the same slacks, though, and the extra inches of material had bunched under my belt buckle, giving the impression I had a loaf of bread in my pants. French bread. 

"It's an optical illusion," I said, and yanked at the excess cloth, making my mythical over-endowment disappear. He shook his head, like I'd disappointed him on purpose…

♦ ♦ ♦

Toward the end of my day on the sidewalk, a guy who works or lives in the neighborhood walked by, paused, and started talking at me. After pushing flyers at him a hundred times, his face has finally become familiar to me, so I no longer hold out a flyer for him and say "Upstairs!" when he walks by. He wanted to thank me for that.

Then we had a few minutes of amiable conversation, laughing about the goofiness of what I do for a living, and swapping stories about assorted shitty jobs we've had.

Then came a moment of silence, and I recognized that this was when I was supposed to stick out my hand and say, "My name is Doug."

Friendships spring from moments like that, but I didn't do it. I'd have to have half a dozen conversations with that guy before I'd gamble on a friendship, and even then, who knows? So I let the silence stretch itself out. It took a while, but finally he shuffled his feet and said, "Well, thanks again for ignoring me. Be seeing you."

And safely still a stranger, he walked away.

From Pathetic Life #11
Sunday, April 23, 1995

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.


  1. That ending, depressing, but you really are the hermit you say you are...

    1. I am depressing and a hermit. Nothing against making friends, but it's a lot of work and I'm lazy.


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