The other day, while minding my own business at the bus stop waiting to go home after a long hard day at the work place, this young man with whom I have chatted once before comes up to me and begins to show symptoms of verbal diarrhea. He says, "Ohmigod, how are you? Long time, no see! What have you been up to? I've been trying to get back into the work world. Damn the man, this economy, and this fucking system." All in one long exhalation. Then I simply reply, "I've been good. Just going along to get along." Apparently my mistake was in replying because holy crap, he just wouldn't stop! He proceeds to tell me all about how he is getting back to his painting, and how he is going through this surrealist/Dada-ist phase, blah, blah, blah, etc. All while smoking (sort of - not really inhaling), profusely sweating, and constantly touching his lips. Weird. I knew I was sunk when I turned around to see this obviously drunk and toothless man give me the "sorry man, no help here" shoulder shrug. Awesome.
At this point, I have yet to speak more than my first nine words. He keeps plowing through his circular thoughts and then begins to talk about poetry. Even better. He tells me about how he has four books of poetry published - - well, self published anyway - - and was asked to host a poetry slam at a local coffee house. Then he turns to me and says, "do you know what a poetry slam is?" Yes, child. I know what a slam is. What I really say to him is, "Yes, I am familiar with what a poetry slam is. I went to the University to study poetry and creative writing and did a few rounds at the open mic nights during college, and I am actually still writing." Then he flies right over this piece of personal information to tell me how he is also trying to get back to writing, because he just really wants to give back to the kids who are struggling right now with finding themselves and when he was in high school he was very inspired by his creative writing teacher, who is quite well known in the community. "Deb McGinn" he says, "do you know of her?" he asks me, dripping with condescension. Again, yes, child. I know her. What I really say is , "I do know her. She was also my creative writing teacher in high school. She is an incredibly inspiring woman. We were both pretty lucky to have her." This is where things go downhill. Quickly.
Looking very excited, he asks me what year I graduated from Lincoln High. (Go Links!) I tell him, because I am not ashamed, that I graduated in 2000. His face registers visible shock and he says, "Whoa. Old skool." OLD SKOOL!!! What the hell? I am not even 30 yet - - OLD SKOOL!!! Gah. So, I shove my eyes back in my head, because I am sure the bug eyed demon look I've got going on isn't attractive at all, and politely ask him what year he graduated. He replies with, "2008." Of course. I have spent the last 15 minutes listening to a 21 year old tell me about how hard life is, and how he has four books of poetry published, and is hosting a poetry slam. He doesn't know this, but I have officially ended this conversation. We're done here. You don't get to flaunt your four published books AND get to call me old without repercussions.
Gentle readers, this is the point where I had to make a decision. Do I fake a smile and see if I can wiggle my way into his poetry slam? Do I ask him about his publishing experience? Do I try to crawl back in to the writing community by this particular channel? NO. The answer is unequivocally, NO. This boy is one tent short of a circus and I ain't buying a ticket. I will just keep on keeping on in my own way. So, yeah. Best day ever. I got showed up by one of the crazies AND called old for the first time.