Now, I have never really kept that little tidbit as something to live by, but I have remembered it from time to time and tried to be as friendly and open to everyone as much as I could. That’s what I did with Karl, who I saw last week on my way home.
Karl with a K, that’s the way he introduces himself to everyone, is someone that that just got laid-off from his job at an insurance company. Now he works part time at a bookstore on 13th St., and you know what kind of bookstore I’m talking about. Now we aren’t great friends, in fact I have never called him on the phone even though I have had his number for the last six or seen years. But, I see him and he tells me to walk him to his job and sit a while; which is what I did behind the counter after I took a tour of the place and gauged who the clientele were.
Once seated, I said to Karl that I had thought that he worked at the other bookstore across the street. He told me no because they would not allow him to have sex with the customers. It would be a job with no benefits and for someone with his sexual appetites, to work in a whorehouse and not participate in the fun and games was definitely out. At this place he could have as much dick and ass as he pleased, three or four times a night if he wanted and he had his Cialis to keep things running if needed.
Well, after I while I started to think of ways to leave without being abrupt, when I noticed a short, youngish white man had been standing by the steps. Karl also noticed. The man came closer and gave Karl the $10 to get into the back. “I’ll be back there in a minute,” Karl said to the young man. The customer nodded and slipped through the gate and went into the darkened passageways. It was time for me to go.
Karl and I hugged, although it seemed to be more in a fashion of two dogs sniffing each other rather than friends embracing. We promised we would see each other again and I left thinking that I was friends with a whore. How can anyone call me snobbish or judgmental? I open my arms and my heart to anyone. I just had to remember to wash my hands when I got home.
I think of another night years ago when leaving a restaurant with an ex and a couple of his friends when I heard him mention that someone had taken to calling him Niles. You know Niles, the skinny gangly looking brother of Frazier Crane. The one that you would imagine to have some facial or body spasms derived from his nervous inability to accept nothing less than the best, at least in his eyes. Niles was the only other person on the TV show that just as snobbish, pretentious and as arrogant as the star of the show. When I heard him say this I laughed. The name fit him so well. I bent over and laughed again, all the way home.
It’s not that I was being vindictive or unsupportive. Even though we would fight over anything, anytime any place, it’s just that my boyfriend, ooh there’s a phrase I have never written before, believed that he was such a cut above the rest, that he made everyone rise to his standards. He was the type of person that could lift his head up, jut his jaw out and smell that faint whiff of blue blood in the air at a hundred paces. He had a piquant sense of finesse that would be rivaled by no one. That’s what made it funny. I would even fight him over it, but truth be told, I loved him for it. Maybe I still do.
Then two or three months later I heard him say to someone over the phone, Marris would not be doing something or other that night. I thought to myself, “Marris?----Marris? Who’s Marris?”
Then it dawned on me. Marris was Niles’s cold bitch of a wife. She was the one that you never saw, but only heard spoken of in a derisive manner. She was supposed to be callous and unfeeling, stern and unyielding. She was the one that everyone feared and everyone stayed away from. She was even more snobbish than Niles but without the personality. She was the butt of everyone’s jokes. In short Marris was me.
I was the punch line in someone’s ribald humor. And it was funny. And I laughed. But to this day I say that I am not cold, but if that is what people say and think about me, then “fuck em,” I've got my whore friends.