There's a bar with great wifi near my hotel, which means everyone who works there knows me. Noon shift. Tuesday mid-afternoon shift. Late shift. Weekends. I am, I have learned, "Double Maker's John," which while impersonal is far kinder than many of my more personal nicknames. I'll take it.
No one there knows anything about me, due to their chronic lack of caring, but I know everything about them. They're mostly girls in their 20s, so "everything" does not run particularly interesting. The woman who tends bar at lunchtime is my favorite simply for lack of hysterical prattle about boys not returning texts. I assume this is because her grandson, at 2, is too young to have a phone.
One waitress, Christina, has never actually served me but we've chatted often. She's adorable, with her brown ponytail pulled through a baseball cap. After a particularly mind-numbing session of listening to a drunken, off-duty 22 year old bartender talk about her texts while texting them, I was relieved to see Christina. "You know you're the only person here who hasn't told me the story of her life?" I said. "I just want to thank you."
She then told me the story of her life.
She began by talking about an ex from 15 years ago. Considering that I had her placed in her low 20s, I was visibly surprised. It turns out she's actually 36. Helloooo, ponytail! I'm John!
"I have three kids!" she added, still laughing at my mistake.
I tripped over my next question, because in most cultures it would merit my being slapped. Here, though, it merits wondering: do they all have the same dad? I couldn't think of a polite way to ask it, so I instead asked, "Is...Dad still around?"
"No, they're assholes," she snapped. Now I wanted to know if she knew who the father was for each child. Meanwhile, Christina resumed texting her married ex, whose "mediocre" wife for whom he "settled" does not know that Christina remains his emotional intimate.
I munched on my taco and fondly remembered the five-second window when she was attractive. It was glorious.