Gap-Tooth Waiters

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

“I’m surprised more kids aren’t gap toothed.” Think about that. You walked in and overheard that statement with all of its attendant baggage. For one, this was said by the mother or friend of the mother about a baby or toddler who, and here I’m postulating, her child has a hulking, tie up the dog because this fence ain’t going to hold him in, gap in the monster’s (euphemism for children up through 26 years of age, without judgment on the quality of the child, instead it’s a judgment on the mushiness of the brain of said child—technical but important distinction) teeth.

Continuing the analysis, second, the child cannot be blamed for this gap because how can other children, not do—and here you’ll have to fill in the cause of the gap; perhaps the child sticks overripe carrots between her front two teeth (another conjecture on what teeth are gapped) or…

My analysis wears down here. The senselessness of the work, the who cares aspect—you get the picture, and, please, take it as far from me as you can get.

***

“Excuse me,” Ed the waiter asked as I read through yet another article about the confirmation of John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court. “I was just wondering, are you a writer?” My belly glows at the question. Here he is, an older, kind (and rather considerate, in that he takes his time delivering my food as I pick at my salad to catch up with my reading or writing) waiter, and he wanted to know whether I was a writer.

I answered, off the cuff (in that I accepted my initial stab at cleverness instead of delving deeper) and not honest and certainly not extending a branch of conversation, “Aspiring.”

He goes on, as if to explain himself, “I didn’t mean to interrupt, but I always see you here either writing or reading, and I think it’s great. I used to be a social studies and English teacher, and I just think what you’re doing here, your writing and reading, I think it’s great.”

Did I mention that my belly lit up the entire restaurant? How people covered their eyes when they looked in my direction because of the belly’s brightness? How I wanted to answer “Yes! I am a writer!” How I wanted to throw aside a my consternated baggage, point at the stack of my stories, and yell to the world, “not just a writer, but an author—a noble scribbler in the arcane art of authoring, idea-ing, and general brilliant discourse of the eye-opening and insightful (but not necessarily clever or at all self-indulgent) act of sharing. That’s what I wanted to say, to scream. But I took the other road and whispered my answer, and bored him (and frightened me).

The stack of stories? It’s going to grow. I’m sick, tired, and cliché-driven to write anything that will budge that stack and decrease my reliance on consternation to feed these pages (not that feeding this pages is in any shape my goal).

***

Where did the raising of the roof—Dearborn. Baseball. Fighting. The catch and hook. What moves you (i.e., David)? Fuck the rest (i.e., 3 readers)—what’s in it for you?

It’s very crowded today—the reining family-oriented (non chain!) restaurant. Four flowers on red and white table cloths. Exchange it for something becoming—practice the sound and motion—it’s been too long and too all-consuming. It’s not a once-a-week thing, it’s an every day, find something to say before going away experience. We’re in the blue XP bar. It’s better this way. Better in many ways.

Powdered cheese in small jars with large holes. Pictures flashed and minds mashed. Add a verb, form a sentence. Reach for a rod and spare the bait. I’m getting close, bursting along the close-knitted seams. I will pop out and run naked among you. I won’t disappoint—me again. The four of you, you can go to hell as you throw praises in the form of chocolate baskets and well-worded comments on the genius and growth and general (but not specific, expect where examples are cited and footnoted) brilliance of the latest stacked work in my moving from the world of aspiration to actuality—such an ineffective word to describe the rush and enjoyment and great spectacle of that most wished for achievement.