I couldn’t tell his age because of the massive Civil War beard masking his face. But judging from the plaid shirt, the tennis shoes and baseball hat, I’m guessing late-20’s, early 30’s. The minute he got in the car, he asked, “Do you have water?” “Sorry, no. But I have mints.” I offered him one. “Does my breath smell?” He seemed defensive so I reassured him, no, it was just the next best thing to water. A vehicle for saliva if you will. He took one and leaned back, concentrating on giving me directions back to his house. Take the second left, that right, now keep going for three blocks.
The ride wasn’t entirely silent but it wasn’t totally chatty either. We would talk about something, then conversation would fade away. In one of the silences, he blurted out, “I ate a pot brownie earlier and, uh, I think I’m coming to the climax. Like right now.” He gulped, mouth dry, desperately in need of water.
“We’ll be at your house soon. It’ll be fine.”
He looked sideways at me. “Hey, do you think it’s weird that people sit in the front seat and that you’re supposed to talk and you don’t even really know each other? Like why the front seat, not the back seat? Why be forced to pretend that you’re friends?”
“Duuuude, you are totally talking some high shit right now. Everything’s weird if you think about it too much. You can sit wherever you want, you can talk or not talk. It’s really up to you.”
“But what if I was, not that I am, but if I was a serial killer… wait forget that… I mean, if someone was to…”
He made a strangled sound as we pulled up to his house and then he leapt out of the car, unable to formulate any more words into sentences that didn’t seem vaguely offensive and threatening.
Yes, my bearded stoner customer, you are right. This is all weird. You pick up your phone, you order a car, I come pick you up, we fist bump, we make conversation like we’re not total strangers, I get you safely back home and we know each other but we don’t know each other but can you really know anybody? Isn’t everyone really and truly a mystery? I mean, how can you even know yourself?
Oh god — the pot brownie I ate while writing this is really kicking in… how is it possible that these keys form words? That words convey meaning? That language is the imperfect means by which we communicate feelings and emotions and seek love and connection and understanding?? Swekcgybbst/;eryfbsd????