#224: George

October 2nd, 2013

Good for you, George.

Good for you for chiming up to ask if I knew anything about the patent office.

I had sat next to you on the Metra when there wasn’t a seat, George. Why am I telling you this? You remember, of course. I in my purple shirt and polka dotted tie hitched up my bike to the handicapped spots in my midday hike from one job to the next and I asked if I could sit next to you.

You said yes and started asking me about the patent office, telling me about your design for a strap-and-chain system to load up cars even though no one would feel safe with just a strap even though it would work and if you could just make 500 of them and sell them to your friends for $50 that’s $50,000 right there you said before correcting your math.

You talked about your other invention too, but wouldn’t tell me what it was. You told me about trucking for three-day shifts on the weekend and working at the dealership the other days. You spoke with your hands. You had a trucker baseball cap, a thin brown mustache and horsey teeth that looked like they had something stuck in them until I realized it was just rot.

It was obnoxious, of course. And rude. But good for you for not shutting up and letting me ride in peace. Good for your female friend sitting behind you for slapping you on the back and chiming in on stories, confirming the cheapness of your boss and how big the chicken wings were in that place in Mississippi.

Later that day, I walked by people who chose to bleep bloop on little gadgets to avoid making eye contact. I used my sunglasses to the same effect.

That night, on a bus, I heard the worst person in the world shriek into a phone about the rudeness of a friend for taking a wedding date she had considered but not told anyone she was considering.

So good for you, George. Good for you for being happy and nice. Good for you for joking with a stranger about the patent office and about a boss who once gave you a cookie instead of a raise. Good for you for telling me about the damage used cars from Canada bring and a bit of the history of the Rockefeller wealth.

You were kind but annoying. You were nice but wouldn’t shut the hell up. And in a world that looks inward, you looked out. You talked to a stranger when a friend was sitting right behind you.

And good for you for that.

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You are currently reading #224: George by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

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