“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.”
“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.”