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Let's Go Somewhere Else

Let's Go Somewhere Else

Zak Block

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Every independent coffee shop, in every burgeoning cultural hub or college town across this land, employs a woman, about whom her coworkers jestingly speak as though she were much younger than they, hence needing to be shielded from some of the harsher truths of adult living.

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Her name might be Kat, but it might just as easily be Claire. Very soon after engaging Claire, or Kat, in a light conversation, you may learn from precisely which European nations her ancestors came, and so from which she is extracted; as well, the religion or religious denomination of her father if it is distinct to that of her mother, and vice versa; or, that of a given grandparent if his or her own is distinct to that of a majority of grandparents. But that's only if you engage Kat or Claire in a light and leisurely conversation, and you very well may not.

She may have red hair, but never auburn. It may be brown, but never chestnut. Blonde, but never strawberry-, nor ever dishwater-. She may also have pink hair.

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Of this you can be certain: that, if her hair is not pink, yet she may still have a pierced helix; may still, tragus; if not a rook, a conch, snug, daith or anti-tragus. And she may be a vegetarian, or a pescetarian, but never a vegan. Nor any of these for ethical reasons, but reasons entirely nutritional, perhaps with a hint of karmic.

She may be the funny one in her group, but she may belong to several groups in some of which she must, at times, defer to the “funny one”-ness of another who, it would seem, others find to be more funny than she—though she doesn’t feel too strongly about it either way. She may wear band shirts, daisy dukes, may own inexpensive sunglasses, may paint her nails a lot, may sleep on a futon, may sleep on a more conventional bed, may be slightly above average in height, perhaps of average height but never of below average height. She may also wear things on her wrists, may wear light summery flower print dresses, but only occasionally.

She may have smallish breasts, she may not. But she would never have a large bust. Conversely, she must have thick thighs and a big butt—she must be catcalled a lot, en route to work or returning home after, but never by the kinds of boys she likes, though it stands to reason that those boys don’t catcall anyone, let alone her.

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She may, at any given point, wear makeup, sparing and tastefully, but she also might not. She might clip up her hair, she might do something else entirely with it, or something else entirely with something else entirely.

She may, at times, seem to have very little control over the volume of her voice, for which reason she may be overheard, every so often, to reveal rather embarrassing bits of personal history, while confiding them to a trusted friend or work associate—but of course, never in shame, as she feels none—and for which reason, frequenters of the coffee shop that she currently works at may know the following to be true of her:

That she's been dumped, via phone; email, text- or instant-message; and, most recently timeline post; that she’s dated at least one “boy” who turned out to be gay; he hadn’t known that [something] [something’d] [something]. Of this you can be certain.

She may know that she hadn’t known other things, or still doesn’t and one day will discover even more that she hadn’t.

Did I mention that her coworkers speak of her as though she were much younger than she is or that they think she needs to be shielded from some of the harsher truths of adult living? Well, they do that quite a lot.

She may be seen, at any given point in a day’s work, to sidle up to a male coworker, and lay her head on his shoulder, and this act may be accompanied by an exclamation of fatigue, linguistic or paralinguistic, or by a silence undoubtedly significant of fatigue. He may be a rather tall aspiring actor, or a rather tall successful painter, or something else entirely. He may be dressed one way, he may be dressed another way, but with certitude it can be stated that he “is dressed.”

She may talk a little too much. But never more than just a little. However, it may be the case that certain individuals, who would never think to accuse her or anyone of such, nor who one could be said to talk, unequivocally, too much—may be won round to the notion that she does, but not more than just a little, just barely perceptibly too much.

She may have a neighbor, whose name may be Derek, who doesn’t really know her, and with whom she hasn’t exchanged more than a few completely necessary words, but who may be nursing something of an unhealthy crush on her. Mind you that Derek, whose name might also be Dexter, or Declan, or Derrick; Dunstan, or Douglas, or Douglass, doesn’t know Kat, doesn’t know Claire all that well; that his entire conception of her may be misguided and mistaken.

Nevertheless he makes her very uncomfortable.

All rights reserved to Zak Block

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