Verbal Release

I’m sitting there, and he’s talking. He’s talking and talking and talking, and me? I’m sitting there, fiddling around with the straw in my drink. I know why I’m here, and it’s not so that we can talk. It’s so that he can talk. He’s talking, as usual, about things that I already know a lot about. Topics on which I already have informed and evolved opinions. When he has a moment of pause in the conversation, I jump in with my two cents. But I can tell he hasn’t heard me. I could say the same thing over and over and over again, and he wouldn’t even register that I’ve said something clever or funny or deep. He just waits for my mouth to close so he can continue talking.

It’s fucking frustrating.

“I’m writing an article on gentrification,” he tells me.

“Nice! I wrote an article on gentrification in 2013, and, oh, boy, I did not make any friends with that shit!”

I mean, sure, I get it: he’s trying to impress me, and I’m thoroughly unimpressed. Because I did that five years ago.

“I’m just sick of people talking about gentrification because we’re way beyond gentrification. It’s already happened. People just want to complain about it and not actually do anything about it.”

“Yeah! I mean, it takes a lot to really address the issue of gentrification and an infrastructure that can’t withstand overpopulation. It’s all about policy, really, and Costa Hawkins didn’t get repealed, so, what do you think people should do?”

Oh, no, this went completely over his head. He doesn’t really give me an intelligent response, which bums me out, because I was going to talk about how gentrification and racial discrimination in the work place go hand in hand, which is why I think it’s important that the bar and restaurant industry focus on desegregating the front of house because it’s a job that doesn’t require a college education but pays more than minimum wage. But, scrap that.

Instead, I say, “Back in the day me and my friends used to punk the gentrifiers. I’m talking like back in 2012, before it was an issue. We thought if we were big enough goons that it would scare them away. I seen people posting about just shooting guns in the air in East Oakland to scare people off, but that’s too little, too late, and they’re not that committed to the tactic. You know who’s doing the most gonzo anti-gentrification shit? The homeless people! They’re literally shitting all over San Francisco! San Francisco is the human shit capital of the world! They smoke crack on BART! I mean, that is a level of commitment to fucking with the gentrifiers that I could never even aspire to!”

He doesn’t laugh. Crap. I mean, yeah, I get that the drug addiction and homelessness are very problematic in our community right now, but that’s not why he didn’t laugh. I’m starting to realize that there’s no depth to be had in this conversation – it’s just a regurgitation of bulleted SJW Instagram posts with little critical thought beyond the fundamentals. Fucking yawn. It’s starting to irritate me because I actually give a fuck about this topic of conversation and having a day one conversation about gentrification i 2018 is pretty fucking tired.

This isn’t what I want. As I sit there and shut up and let him take back control of the conversation because I’m too bored to engage anymore. We’re not on this date because he wants witty banter or to build rapport. He just wants an audience. Unfortunately for him, I’m a horrible audience. I work best when I’m treated like an equal. I have so many weird, funny, inappropriate things to say in any given conversation.

As I’m sitting there looking at this guy, all I can think is, “Why does he have to be hot and bad at conversation! Why, God, why!?” I realize that I’ve reached the point in my life where I’d rather hang out (i.e. fuck) with someone who is marginally less attractive than this guy but way better at conversation. I guess this is what being an adult is all about: instead of just fucking random hot dudes, I now take the time to have a conversation with them so I can discern if this is way too fucking tedious to deal with tomorrow morning before jumping into bed.

I know that this isn’t an unreasonable goal, I’ve just been off game because I was spoiled for so long. That’s fine. I find a way to weasel my way out of the conversation, say goodbye and slip out the front so I can call a cab. He, of course, follows me out of the bar and asks me why I’m leaving.

“I’m going home,” I reply.

“Can I come with you?”

The audacity.

“No, I’m okay.” I hop into my cab and zip away.

But, wait, what’s this! Four missed phone calls? I pick up.

“I feel like I should have gotten in that cab with you!”

“Ah, oh…”

“Do you wanna keep hanging out? Where do you live?”

“Um, I’m okay…”

By the time I get home, he’s still texting me, asking me if I want to hang out tomorrow. I don’t know, you guys, I said yes. I must be a glutton for punishment, or maybe my post-dead-dad emasculation kick is going really strong. I’ll admit it: I’ve been enjoying going on bad dates and coming home to bitch about it onto the Internet. It’s funny because there’s so much other good stuff going on in my life that I could write about, like how great my friends are, and how I feel optimistic about the future, but for some reason this is really doing it for me.

My phone buzzes again. It’s Gangsta Boo!

Can you pick me up from Union City

Oh, god, this shit again…


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