Back in Boulton, Colorada.
“True love doesn’t exist, friends. Everyone’s playing a game. So lose as quick as you can—lay down your king—give up. For it’s only on the other side of defeat that the mysterious heart, cracked, can let some light in.” ~ Dr. Willard Evans.
She had 99 Problems, but her black Amex wasn’t one.
Lululemon was sold out of her favorite 98 dollar pants, rip off, but so worth it.
She’d left ’em in San Fran at the Yoga Journal conference. That boy she’d slept with, the hairy one who stank like the hippie he wished he was, the aging hipster boy with the too big wannabe-Tom Selleck brown mustache, with the effing cliché dirty trucker hat and annoying habit of thinking everything he said and did was interesting…
…he’d been on her f&*king mind.
She hadn’t given a s*#t about him until he didn’t call back, and now she was actively resisting the feeling that she’d been played.
But two could play this game, she was 25: she’d seen plenty. She knew what he was doing…piqueing her interest by feigning disinterest. That was her game.
She knew, however—looking at herself in the empty Lululemon mirror out on the floor—looking through her own empty sky blue eyes, pretending to be thinking about the loose see-through* white tank top for 59 bucks…she knew she was perfect.
*she wore a black sports bra under
Can I help you with anything?, the fat-thighed retail girl fakely asked her with a big fat fake smile. She nodded no, smiling fakely, and went back to her conversation with herself.
She was what men wanted. She was tall enough, and fit, with naturally blonde hair and not at all voluptuous and, like a tribeswoman, she wore her money on her—perfect sunglasses, jewelry, Coach bag, all of it simply, tastefully proud. She liked playing around. She asked men out to too-pricey bars and insisted on paying half. She was the postmodern fruition of generations of matriarchal pushback. She could walk into a model session for yoga balls and not have to change or get made up. She was what old b*$t#s in Orange County or Sundance or Aspen wish they were, thumbing through their catalogs, considering plastic surgery.
But, being second-gen rich, she had her own problems. Namely, she was bored.
She had little to do other than enjoy life—and enjoying life is awfully boring, after awhile. She went on her yoga trips to Mexico, Costa Rica and here and there. She had her friends who didn’t like her, that much. She had affairs with strong-jawed men and it was all fun and games but, as with a too-flexible yoga student, there was little challenge in it for her. She envied poor people, with their real life problems—you know, paying bills and getting their crap car fixed and buying stuff on sale at the grocery or whatever.
But she wasn’t an idiot; she knew she was missing something. Perhaps that was what she liked in Eco Boy—he was dirty and real and cared about everything—eco this, Occupy that—he seemed like the kind of guy who’d be cute to play with until she killed him and dropped him, dead mouse, bored. But in the meantime they could be very see-and-be-seen at restaurants and she could get him to shower more and they could have more backbending, hardwood floor thumping sex.
So: first move?
How to get him to chase her?
She went back into the changing room with her name on it and closed the door. She took off the $58 see-through white tank top and dropped it on the floor and looked at herself as she redressed. She needed some sun. She left the store with another fake smile and walked up to the parking lot and b-beeped her hybrid (SUV) and threw her bag in the back and got in and turned the silent ignition and drove off. She let her iPhone idle in the cupholder. She wanted to figure this out. Without really thinking she drove to the café where she’d seen him, that day, his butt nicely filling out his old indigo jeans.
Downtown, she drove around the block five times until she found a parking spot. She walked into the old wooden café, waiting in line with a bunch of high school kids too young to go out; got her mah-tay. She sat down, same seat as before, by the window.
She went back to plotting. Once she got him to text or call her it was game over—he’d be on the hook, chasing her, idealizing her, I’m in love with you, you’re the one. He’d be calling and texting more and more, protesting her ignoring-of-his-fragile-ego.
She didn’t give a s#*t, of course. She didn’t plan on falling in love until she was at least 28.
So she wasn’t gonna get married, which she wasn’t, she was a highly rational being, she just needed something to do. And by something, she meant someone. She was just effing bored. She’d tried working but that was boring, too—she didn’t need the money and she was plenty smart and other than dressing for work, each day, there wasn’t much to it. At work, nobody was supposed to sleep with anybody and her dad wouldn’t retire or die for at least another 10 more years.
So, cute boys and travel and staying fit was all she had. It wasn’t enough—but she had an inkling that this shallow Eco Boy a@)h#*e would prove a good, long, hard, frustrating timesuck.
Perhaps she’d met her match in not-giving-a-shit. And something about that was immensely entertaining.
Like Hemingway hunting a great elephant, she donned her proverbial safari hat and loaded up her big gun and plotted this new boy’s demise. If he proved more of a challenge, well then she’d be entertained by this elephant, or mouse, until the Spring. And then it’d be travel season, again, and before you know it she’d be 26 and she’d have kept far away and safe from that hot boredom she hated so.
She didn’t see him that night.
She looked around the cafe and its used bookstore, and wondered how so many people could write so many books, let alone read them.
She leafed through an old New Yorker—the cartoons were boring. The little front sections, about random things, were short and cute, like listening to a 14 year old prep school girl prat on about interesting things. The longer articles seemed intimidating and a bit…serious. The comedy article, by Steve Martin, wasn’t funny, or perhaps she didn’t get the joke. The fiction she avoided: she had no desire to waste her time on some random author she didn’t trust. She read the movie reviews, and looked at the restaurant review and gallery listings up front.
Which made her think gallery. So she iPhoned the local modern museum, and looked at their upcoming events. Nothing much. A couple art classes that sounded fun, if she were the kind of person who did classes. She liked the idea of that: taking a weekly pottery or drawing class, exchanging knowing chitchat with whomever was sitting by her; making a big bowl with flower designs in it or drawing nude models…and getting drinks after, at some dimly lit lounge with cool people in it. But it all sounded like a lot of effort. She’d rather watch a movie about someone living that life than live it herself.
It was 7 pm and she had nothing to do. She put The New Yorker back, went to the bathroom and washed the people off her fingertips, took a paper towel and opened the bathroom door…and drove to Cornucopia, a local grocery store that managed to be pricier than Whole Foods. She was vegan, now—she’d read it was easier to keep weight off if you give up all that meat and cheese—so she went in and bought her overpriced coconut ice cream. It was f!&*^g 7 bucks a pint, nearly. Rip off. It was on sale, now, $5.69, so she opened up her big purse and put 10 of ’em in there. And then she picked up some kombucha and stuffed three different flavors in her aching purse, and then she grabbed a bunch of plastic-bottled coconut water and, trying to hold them all, shuffled over to a cash register. She emptied out her purse, slid her credit card through the ATM thingy, and left with a big paper bag. She drove home, set it all down by the door, and turned on the TV. Nothing seemed good, except for Game of Thrones, which she’d heard was awesome, but it had a midget in it and looked pretty nerdy.
She got up and changed out of her yoga pants and all and into sweats, and a tank top. She curled up on the big flat couch and ate some vegan ice cream, small spoonful by ridiculously small spoonful.
She muted the depressing TV and went through her phone, looking for someone to call. She’d noticed that most people seemed to be busily texting and calling people all the time. She wondered what they talked about.
She didn’t want to call her dad; she had nothing to say. The old man had a paunch, now, and a silly goatee, and was so sweet and caring. He depressed her. She liked him more when he’d been 40. He’d been busier, and seemed aloof and important and hard, like a quarterback mid-scrimmage, calling the plays, no time for his daughter. She’d felt proud of him, then.
Now, he just played golf or at least wore golf caps and f<<k*d 30 year olds and seemed just as bored as his daughter. He was an action figure that no kid would ever buy: Nearly-Retired Businessman. Like his daughter, he’d never had a life. He’d never had friends. Unlike his daughter, he’d had work.
Her mother wasn’t any better—she’d just ask if Yoga Girl had “a boyfriend or a job or was doing anything important.”
So she put her phone down and walked around her apartment touching things, moving them this way or that. She wound up back on the couch.
It was humiliating.
It was humiliating, being perfect, and yet so alone.
No one cared if Yoga Girl lived or died, truly. She didn’t even have a cat.
It wasn’t sad—she didn’t have any kind of sympathy for herself—it was just stupid, and super boring.
Yours in truth, but slantways,
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