Friday, August 26, 2005

The other night, I took River outside and as I waited for him to pee, this guy pedals up on a bike and asked if I had a cigarette.

I know, "pedals up" implies a young guy in a pair of OshKosh B'Gosh overalls and a cap with a propeller on top. But, no. He was about my age, maybe a year or two younger, and somewhat cute. However, he spoke with the unabashed frankness and speed of a amphetamine junky, or a politician, but I threw caution to the wind and, since he didn't use the line I hate more than anything—"Do you have a cigarette I can borrow?"—I said, "Sure," and gave him one. I offered him two, but he declined, citing karma as a reason.

We talked about karma, dogs, the possible privatization of Social Security and what we were gonna do about it. He told me jokes, tried to teach River to shake—River politely declined, prefering to lick his hand, clueing me in to the fact that this guy was tasty—and then this stranger asked what I was into.

Was this it? A line? An offer? A suggestion? Did he want to play Let's Make A Deal? WhatamI into? I wondered. I'm not really into kinky stuff, but I'm not exactly Mr. Vanilla 2005 either. But wait, maybe that was a segue. Maybe he was about to sell me drugs. It was a bit late to suggest going to see a movie. Maybe we'd go dancing, to a bar, or a coffeehouse, where we could continue our conversation over lattes.

But I hate lattes.

"What do you mean?" I asked. He explained that one of his pasttimes is salvage. He finds things in people's trash of value and pawns them or gives them to his friends.

"I'm into solitude," I replied, went back inside, and immediately began teaching River attack commands.