Saturday, December 4, 2010

Small Talk and a Little Flirting

  Jan brought up a strange point the other day. She was tired of woman hitting on me. This topic comes up every few years with my wife. We talk about something that happened, that I may not even have noticed. She doesn’t tend be jealous but sometimes it can‘t be over looked.
  A few years ago, we lived in Vancouver; she wanted me to start wearing my wedding ring when I went to a certain bank. I really hadn't noticed that every time I went to the bank a young teller would always make sure I was in her line (switching with other teller so I ended up in front of her) or she would pop out of the outside window. When I say pop out she would lean so far forward that I could read her bra size. My wife in response would lean towards me and display her wedding ring. You would think that would help but no, we ended up changing banks, because I was getting tire of my wife wanting to go with me every time I needed to do a little banking.
  The scenario held the same for several stores and a couple of restaurants. I would end up with a phone numbers on the receipt. Trust me, I never called them and only told my wife, once we had left the restaurant. I didn't need her going to jail over it.
  I look at myself in the mirror and I don't see myself as attractive. I am over weight and looking a little gray; so much so that I started shaving my head a few years ago.
  I am still friends with about half of my girlfriends from the past. Some I talk to on a daily bases. My wife is not jealous of them, she talks to them too, almost as offend.
 I asked one of those girlfriends what she thought about what I've shared above. She said it was the way I speak to women. I look them in the eye and pay attention to them. I did paraphrase and she also pointed out that I objectify the woman form as much as the rest man kind. I am just better at hiding that fact.
  I will also go one step further. If you start a conversation with a random person, the next time you see that person bring up the conversation. For instance, if I meet a clerk in a store and she seems upset and tells me that her car broke down. The next time you see her ask about her car. Woman like this, they like it when someone pay attention and remember things.
  Yes, I do tend to start random conversations with people. I do it with everybody. Once I was in a store in Sunnyside, Washington. It was a dollar store and I started a conversation with a tired looking man. My friend pushed me a little and told me to get a move on. He said the guy was busy and didn’t want us taking up his time. I had just moved from Vancouver and Portland.  I was tired of people looking away every time I tried to start a conversation. In Portland, if you were to ask a random stranger anything topic other than the weather, they will shut you out. You can almost see the physical change that they go through. In eastern Washington it is a small town atmosphere that I grew up in and I appreciate it most days. As for my friend, I am not sure that he understands the need I have for small talk. As for the man that worked at the dollar tree I still stop and talk to him every once in a while.
  My dad and I were in Vancouver in the line at a Bank of America. Mom was back at my place watching TV and Jan was at work in Portland. We sat in line talking and just as we came to the teller window dad got a phone call from my brother.
  The teller was a gay man, a fact that I do not hold against him. He starts telling me what he had planned that weekend. He even asked me what I was doing. I looked over to my father and he was busy on the phone so I continued to speak with him. He was a nice guy and I wouldn’t have minded becoming friend with him. (Friends mind you, not bunk buddies.)
  We pulled out and my dad dropped the phone into his lab and started to laugh. My dad had only seen a gay man in the movies. He grew up, dirt farm poor in Carey, Idaho.
  "So, do you have a date?" he joked.
  "No, but he was a nice guy,” I answered.
  "James you know he was gay,” he laughed.
  "Yes, and it doesn't bother me. He thought I was seeing someone anyway," I answered.
  "Who does he think you were seeing?” asked my father.
  "You of course,” I answered, moving back into traffic.
  The van got quiet and my father turned and looked me intensely. Waving his hand from left to right in a half circle he whispered, "You will have no need to inform your mother of this."
  I didn’t tell her until after he had died. She needed a good laugh and I don't think he would mind. He was my dad and I’m a proud of him.

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