going through phrases


There are two phrases that come up in the course of normal life, usually spoken by strangers, that when uttered give me reason to hesitate and consider their ripe possibilities. One of them was said to me today.

"Oh, you’re easy."

It came innocently enough from a cashier at the bookstore this afternoon. It seemed as if everyone in line ahead of me had some sort of complex transaction that required multiple staff members to huddle over lists and print-outs and such. Checks and rechecks made everything so slow that by the time I got to the cashier, a stunning blonde woman with that mix of elegance and comfort that puts a little splash in my chest, when I handed her my book and a twenty-dollar bill I'm sure it seemed perfectly normal for her to say "Oh, you’re easy." 'Course I bit a hole in my tongue, but that's the price of living in a civilized society, wouldn't you say?

The second phrase is the ever-popular: "Do you have the time?"

Harmless phrases. It’s the response that can be deadly. The window of opportunity for a thoroughly satisfying retort is always such a tiny thing, and if you’re married that window is often closed and locked, curtains drawn, storm shutters nailed up, with cactus planted in the rocks below, right there next to the moat.

But it's a good kind of moat, don't you agree? I knew that you would.

"Do you have the time?" seems at first less complicated than "oh, you're easy" in that it’s a simple yes-or-no question. But there are variables.

When asked "Do you have the time?" a happily married man will skip the yes part, look at his watch, and mumble "3:47."

An unhappily married man will look at his watch, say "yes", and then wait for the woman to make the next move.

A single man will not even bother to look at his watch and simply say "Yes, absolutely, and I've taken the liberty of ordering a presumptuous little chardonnay."

A happily divorced man will look at his watch and say "no."

* * *

This is why we go to movies, at least those of us who haven't ordered up the chardonnay. There's nothing like a steamy little flick for getting those vicarious juices going. You'd be amazed at the list of women whom, in the course of my lifetime, I've had the good fortune of, er, knowing. For example, I went steady with Deborah Kerr there for a few years. But heck, I was just a kid then. Soon thereafter Candace Bergen and I were quite the item. Dropped her for Susan Sarandon, though. Now Helen Hunt keeps calling. Yowzah.

Eventually the lights come back up, I throw out half my popcorn, and Viv and I head for home. But for those few brief shining moments...

Chances are there never ever ever was even one instance when I was asked "Do you have the time?" that was meant as anything other than "What time does it say on your wristwatch, mister?" It's just something about me. I'm pretty sure it's the sparkle in my eyes that, when a woman moves in very close, looks like moonlight dancing on the water. Of a moat.

In other news, well, I finally got some fertilizer on the lawn and it looks a little greener, and I got some of the garage cleaned out. I'm going to try to do some weeding... around... the backyard flower b... zzzzzzz... zzzzzzz... 3:47... zzzzz...... zzzzz....


Today's Music:

"The Road To Hell" -- Chris Rea -- THE ROAD TO HELL


Wisdom of the Day:

"I think it can be stated without denial that no man ever saw a man he would be willing to marry if he were a woman."

- George Gibbs, How To Stay Married