The People You Meet


“That’s so true,” she said.

I looked up from my Maki roll. “What is?”

She showed to me her phone, on which was a picture of fuzzy stock-art of two hands clasping over a candle with a quotation in intricate white Gothic-font text on top: “Life Truth #754: When The People Most Important In Your Life Are The Ones You Didn’t Expect.”

I said, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.”

She looked surprised. “No, it’s not,” she said.

“You’re implying there’s something unusual or special about people you care about – I assume you’re thinking a best friend or a boyfriend – that it’s somehow a unique magical thing that you didn’t expect to meet them or expect them to become important to you?”

“It’s true for me.”

“No, it’s categorically true. That’s why it’s stupid to say. Like if you say, ‘Isn’t it crazy that when I lose something it’s always in the last place I look?’ Because then you didn’t look anymore.”

She had this wide-eyed expression. “Ohhhh-kayyyy,” she said, drawing it out like you would for an accosting hobo.

“Listen,” I told her, now putting my chopsticks down. “If it’s special that you meet people unexpectedly who become important to you, then you’re implying that’s unusual because the usual is what? You wake up on Tuesday, and you go, ‘Today I have decided to meet someone who will be very important to me in my life,’ and then you pick up the phone book and flip to some random name like Mark Twombly from New Brunswick and call his number and say, ‘I have decided to meet you and that we will be important in each other’s lives now.’ That would be creepy. It would be psychotic. That would be unnatural.”

She didn’t say anything, and she was looking at something on her phone again.

“That’s not how human interaction works,” I said. “Even on the theoretical level. That picture is just something obvious rephrased so that really stupid people think it’s some kind of insight. And don’t even get me started on the #754 bullshit. If the creator of that picture didn’t also make 753 other equally-idiotic pictures then what’s the point of pretending they did? It lends a cute fake credibility? Life Truth #8,755: Niggas Be Trippin’.”

The waiter showed up and she looked relieved. “I’m sorry,” the waiter told her, “I asked and we don’t have any kind of tea except normal black and green tea.”

“Okay, I’ll just have water,” she said.

The waiter left and I took another drink from my beer.

“I’m really trying to get more fat-soluble vitamins and oils without phytic acid,” she said earnestly. “Aren’t you worried about that?”

“No, I’m not.”

“Why not?”

“Because I don’t know what the hell you just said but I can already tell it’s bullshit.”

She got a strange face. “You don’t care about your health?”

“Actual health, sure. But that faddish, pseudo-scientific trend stuff online just sounds like quackery. Most of the time when something sounds like quackery, it is quackery. Most of the time things are quackery even when they don’t sound like quackery. Quackery is a big force in the world. Unless you have replicable empirical studies that have proven what you’re saying, you’re just spouting out your ass. Watch. Garlic is birth-control.”

“Uh-huh.” She looked like she wasn’t listening.

“I claimed that garlic is birth control. Now I can write it up on the internet, like ‘Facts You Didn’t Know About Garlic’ and one of them is ‘Garlic is birth control’ and I’ll throw in some nonsense about how birth control companies don’t want you to know this natural health secret and maybe single mom in Arksansas discovers it, and idiots will believe it just because I spelled words correctly and published a post on the internet – which most of them don’t know how to do, spell words correctly or publish simple internet posts, and most of them think the internet is magic. Like it’s a super entity that produces cat pictures and articles authoritatively, not that a person somewhere made those. And then you’ve got a ton of stupid pregnant bitches with garlic breath.”

“I’m gonna ask for the check,” she told me.

“It’s like when you put a girl-power quote in front of a picture of Marilyn Monroe or Phylicia Rashad looking all mhmm, girl but it’s not an actual quote that anybody actually said. The pictures are just supposed to add this false sense of credibility and grrl-powery-ness. Like if I take a picture of Albert Einstein and just put in big words on top, ‘BITCHES AND TITS!’ and everyone’s like, oh, Albert Einstein held forth homey truths in re: bitches and tits, that is very wise, hmm, hmmm.”


I said, “Like when everyone misattributes dumb quotes, like that Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. He never said that and it’s not the definition, at all. Insanity doesn’t even have a definition anymore because only idiots don’t understand that mental illness is a nuanced and complex-”

“Stop! Just stop!” she said.

“Trying to call Mark Twombly from New Brunswick, now that’s a little insane but – what? What?”

“Shut up! Okay? This date is going badly.”


“I’m gonna go.”

“This was a date?”

“Good-bye.” She gathered up her coat.

“I had a date?” I watched her walk out. “Fucking sweet.”


14 thoughts on “The People You Meet

  1. Very nice =).

    Although, I have to disagree with you on the magical quality of meeting someone whom becomes romantically important in one’s life (and not simply because that’s what is founded on ;)). If one was to look back on the introductions he/she made over the past several years, it would be the romantic and intimate intros that led to pivotal relationships that one would say carry a unique, meant-to-be quality. It is an after-the-fact, retrospective perception that person holds. Even though it is subjective, it is nonetheless quite real and unarguable for that person, as he/she is comparing it to all the other unimportant intros that have taken place. So, it is magical…it is unique, as so many other intros fizzled with no lingering satisfaction being gleaned from the bland exchanges. There is such a thing as, “love at first sight,” which is ultimately the moment you see a certain someone with the vision of your heart. After that shattering instant, that relationship will be viewed as a product of fate’s hand. And, who are we to doubt the authenticity of another person’s life-transforming event?

    What do you think? =)

    • Haha, thanks for your giant comment, Peeksi. I refuse to take responsibility for what my fictional characters do or say. They’re a bunch of jerks. Nobody likes them, and they don’t let employees know when they finish the last toilet paper roll at a public bathroom.

      But in response to your thoughts: I usually don’t remember when I met my good friends or girlfriends. When I think of them, I have more of a big-picture idea, and memories of dynamics we had along the way: things they said or did that I found interesting or made me feel a certain way. I think the development of a relationship, with its comforts and dangers, and compromises and surprising graces that need no compromise, are what matters and not a first impression or burst of immediate infatuation. In the words of genius philosopher group Fall Out Boy, “The songs you grow to like never stick at first.”

      • I enjoy the fullness of your characters =). I also enjoy replying to a post that a writer worked to create, such as this one.

        Yes, indeed. There are those of us whom immediately see love in another and the initial view is proven by it turning into a long-term relationship filled with love and acceptance. And, there are those of us whom believe it takes a true bond built over time that leads to the coveted relationship description of, “like no other before.”
        Finally, there are those of us whom believe in both, because that first moment is charged with so much emotion that is truly unforgettable. In addition to that heart-pounding moment, every smooth-sailing and/or tumultuous year that goes by in said relationship further solidifies the imposed meaning behind why that warm smile that captivated the heart so effortlessly. The beautiful part of it is this: no matter how we get to that magical place, there is room for us all in the world of love ;-).

        Love your writing!

  2. My personal “favorites” are the fancy landscape pictures that people steal and then cover in vaguely warm and fuzzy quotes that are just stupid. I respond in a similar manner when people show them to me.

  3. LOL Oh how I wish sometimes I could have an outburst such as this one! And I’ve often wanted to start a crazy internet fib to see how long it would take to catch on… my guess: two seconds. P.S. Marilyn Monroe, though beautiful, is not my idea of a role model so when I see “empowering” or “inspiring” quotes plastered across her photo, I usually steer clear.

    • Yeah, I saw a picture of her once with the text over it, “Girls, stop looking to me for advice – I was a whore, not a philosopher.” It made me laugh but I also felt bad because it seems misogynistic.

      • LOL Yeah, well, it’s a bit harsh. How about we say, “Girls, stop looking to me for advice because I was never really happy and probably should have read more advice quotes on Pinterest.” Although, to be fair, she had some pretty decent quotes herself… that is, if she really said them and with the internet these days there’s no way to find out for sure. 🙂

Holla back, girl

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