tales of scotto

A Moment

I thought to myself, “I’m not drunk enough for this.”

A shame, too, because I’d spent the last five years learning how to get exactly drunk enough, and definitely not too drunk, for this. But my drink is far on the coffee table, and something - rather, someone - is blocking my reach.

I’m sitting on the couch at one end of the party between two other guys. The girl lying across us is short enough that her head can rest on the first gentleman’s lap and her feet just lightly graze the third’s. As for the middle, a very particular part of her is positioned on top of a very particular part of me in a very particular way. I’m trying to not rock the boat.

I could leave if I wanted to, but there are no other seats, and I’ve already made the standing rounds several times: there’s nobody else to talk to. I was invited by the girl who is hosting the party, and she’s attending to the rest of her guests in the kitchen. I’ve told her repeatedly that it’s okay, I can amuse myself. The partygoers at this end are all very relaxed. When I mentioned where I work, we started talking about music, although mostly they’re all into metal. As they chat around me in stereo, my hands rest precariously on our horizontal friend’s abdomen.

She notices me longingly eyeballing my beverage and reaches out to hand it to me with a smile. “Are you having fun?” she asks knowingly. I smile, “Oh yeah, this is a blast” and swig, and maybe it will be. If I can escape, if I can find our hostess, if I can think of the right thing to say. Another drink might help.

Mr. Feet, who has the easiest escape route, decides he’s done being an ottoman, and makes for the restroom. I don’t shift. I don’t have enough liquor at hand to forget the hostess and vie for Miss Torso, but I’m enjoying the arrangement as a conversational piece. Years ago, when I was a more easily-distracted man, I would have capitalized.

Instead, I finally do vacate my position and go in search. I find her where I left her, but surrounded by a new circle of friends. She introduces me around and says in brief how she knows everybody. She looks me aside and apologizes again. I take her sincerely and hope it means something. And I can’t think of even a single thing to say.

I slink back to find our girl still lying comfortably on top of Suitor #1, with her legs curled up to make room for non-competitors. I find another conversation to join and watch them out of the corner of my view as they make goo-goo eyes at each other. They inch closer and closer. I stare intently, as if willing them together. His finger encircles her lips. “Now, you idiot,” I all but shout.

And then finally, tentatively, their lips meet; quickly at first, parting as suddenly as they can, and then again more certainly, sustaining contact, and you can just barely see one’s tongue meekly poking its way across the breach. Finally. Damn it.

Maybe it can never be the same, but it can always be better.

On Saturday night, I went out to seee my friend Joe Chammas play his CD release party at a bar called Naughty Nadz on the edge of Etobicoke. I don’t think I had seen him play live since April or May 2011 when he played in Hamilton, opening for a band called Eclectic Revival at their release party. I don’t get out to see him as often as I’d like, but transportation is an issue sometimes. This night, I told him, I would have hitchhiked if I had to.

He’s been working on this CD, in some form or another, for four years, since his last CD release. Back in those days, he used to play at the now-closed Lost Lounge. That place was tucked away in a pool hall called the Executive Snooker Club, which itself was tucked away in an otherwise Asian stripmall in a dark corner of Mississauga. I used to like coming out to see him there. It had a certain feel to it: dim lighting, candles, incense, couches. It was the right size for a guy sitting on a stool playing an acoustic guitar.

In that four years, much has changed. I came into the bar, dropped some money in the tip jar, and quietly took a seat while Joe was already onstage tuning his guitar and getting ready to play a Jason Mraz cover. I took a seat near his ex-girlfriend, whom I was pleased to see because we were always friendly and it’s heartening to me that they’re on good enough terms that she came and brought her parents.

Afterward, I told Joe what I thought of his performance and his progress as a performer. I don’t know a lot about playing music, but I like to think of myself as a pretty conscientious listener so it means a lot to me that he seems to value my thoughts. Then I went with him and a bunch of his friends, many or most of whom I knew from previous encounters, to find a suitable bar (which there was done, due to the UFC) and ended up at one guy’s house, after picking up copious amounts of food and settling in to watch Mean Girls (which, I will freely tell anyone without prompting, I have a friend who was an extra in, with his face visible and everything.)

The title of this little post occurred to me sometime between the show and the Mean Girls. I’ve been trying to figure out how to articulate it since.

Incidentally, you can buy Joe Chammas’ album, Wiser Creatures, on iTunes, because this thing is real.

Right now all I can think

Is how I seem to have lucked into a good thing and I should just keep my mouth shut and let it happen. It’s tough for a fidgety, fussy weirdo like me, who’s always looking for the worst in any situation, to appreciate and enjoy other people. To let them in. And what’s more, to not actively find faults with them, reasons to back out. Some of those thoughts are there, but I’m not listening to them because, for now at least, things are good and the only things that are bad about it are in my head.

Somehow this is working.

"Hope I wasn't too whatever."

Last night almost didn’t happen.

I mean, it was going to happen regardless… the literal switching over from one year to the next, people out partying, girls in minidresses and open-toed shoes despite -17C temperatures, that was inevitable. But for me, the day almost ended before it began. I woke up that morning from a particularly troubled sleep, and then as I was getting ready to shower, I slung my shirt over my neck and - crank. Ow. I spent most of the morning holding my hand over it and even all through the afternoon I was basically trying to just stare ahead, while a throbbing ache in my shoulder and neck added a bit of a frustrating element to every minor moment with customers.

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We used to wait.

When I was in high school, we were all on MSN. That was the thing, if you made friends with someone, “Hey, what’s your MSN?” And then it had that handy status for vaguely hinting at your feelings, like the Facebook statuses of today. Mine was usually about some girl or other.

I remember the stomach-twisting angst of waiting for the girl you liked to come online so you could bother her with pointless conversation. I got so possessive and would take offense if they couldn’t stay on long. Even if I had nothing to say, which was the case pretty much always.

But in a time before every teen had cell phones and just a bit before Facebook was a thing, that was how we were all in constant contact with each other. You had to be on a computer, had to log on, had to be on their schedule. For a long while, if my friends wanted me somewhere, it would involve a brief MSN conversation.

Nowadays, you want to talk to someone, you text. Text them whenever you like, any time of day, it’ll get to them. But if they don’t respond right away, it kills you. Who doesn’t check their phone? Do they not want to talk to me? Count the minutes. Are they thinking of a reply? Are they busy? Do they hate me? Should I be taking a hint here? Fuck, fuck, fuck.

I actually was kind of late to get a cell phone. I can remember at least one instance where I was supposed to meet up with a girl, and for whatever reason I thought this was going to be our big moment, but I had to call her by a certain time, but we had just taken on a boarder in our house, and she spent the night on the phone with her mom, and somehow that was enough to stop me from making the call. (I feel like if that was enough to stop me then I really wasn’t dedicated to the cause.) In retrospect I doubt that this was my big missed chance with this girl, but you can convince yourself of anything.

I haven’t matured to the point where I can be cool about stuff, but I think I’ve got a good grip on it. She took a while to get back to me last night after a pretty rapid exchange, and it was a nail-biter, but it worked out in the end and I kept from blowing my stack. The urge to go “Hey, why haven’t you answered me?” is tempting, but easy to play off, because when you hear yourself think it, you realize how assholish that sounds. I have a policy to try not to send three consecutive texts in a conversation, or even two if possible. Give it time. If it’s gonna happen, it will.

This post was about nothing in particular, but that’d been rolling around in my mind for a while.