Tuesday, April 22, 2008

And sometimes the most interesting things you learn are what people don't say

I read PostSecret every Sunday.

One of my friends remarked that they really could be divided between "secrets and boasts" - which I think is true.

If you've read though them, you know that there are the boast variety - "I think I have perfect breasts!" Or, "I'm smarter than all my friends."

And then there are secrets that feel like a punch in the stomach - confessions of being molested as a kid, contemplating suicide, cheating, being betrayed. There are secrets that make you ache for the person, and secrets that you cannot imagine.

I remember one that was a postcard of the World Trade Center, with an X on one of the windows. And the back said something like, "I wish you'd gone to work that morning."

Last year, on one of the myriad nights of drinks with Laura, we wound up in random conversation at Local 16. It was one of those last-minute plans, so I had on some outfit better suited to sitting around the house, and no make up, and glasses. And Laura was post-yoga hair up dried sweat-y.

And sometimes those are when you have the most interesting chance encounters. I think it's because you're so clearly not out to flirt or to impress the opposite sex. The vibe you are sending is the opposite of sexy.

The bar was crowded, and we had, as always with Laura, several men chatting with us. One of them was a really fit looking blond, with predatory, pale blue eyes. He was very physically attractive. And very much on guard.

He was also mildly condescending. The condescension wasn't personal - although I don't think I yet understood that some men will slyly undermine your self-confidence in order to have the upper hand, to make you feel like you need to work for their approval.

At some point Laura and I separated, squeezed apart by people, and this guy and kept talking. He was intent on talking about work, which I suppose is inevitable in DC, and an easy, if tedious, default conversation.

The work conversation was boring, and, as I'd said, he was condescending. This was never gonig to go anywhere. And so during a pause I looked up at him and said, "Tell me a secret?"

You might ask why, and all I can say is, why not? You never know what you're going to get.

And this was when it got interesting, although not in a way I expected. His face closed. His lupine eyes narrowed. "Why?"

"No reason. I just thought it might be interesting."

One of the things the Dementor told me was that he could go through a crowd and pick out the people who were like him. The ones who'd grown up abused. He could see it in their eyes, in the way they moved. He didn't miss a detail about anyone, ever.

And this guy in front of me, instead of playing along, he mentally backed up. His energy shifted.

"You tell me a secret."

He sounded almost angry. It scared me.

I said something light - I can't really remember what. And excused myself to find the bathroom. And when I came back, I joined Laura in her conversation, nestled in the crowd.

What I really wanted to say was, "I can tell you a secret about yourself: You don't trust anyone."


  1. Yikes.You just made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

  2. This is such a great line, especially for trying to get rid of someone! I would never have thought of something so perfect...
    Have been reading for a couple weeks - love it!

  3. DCup - Sorry. There are more of these people in the world than I ever expected.

    Heather - I'm glad to hear that! Thanks for reading!

  4. Wow. That's kinda creepy. I would've guessed he has control issues. That he likes to control the interaction and was caught off guard when you took control of the steering wheel.

    But your diagnosis makes sense too. He doesn't trust anyone so he's got to be in charge...

    Anyway, that kind of reaction is not healthy. I'll bet money that he's a future (if not current) spousal abuser.

  5. yeah seriously. just reading this made me feel gross.

  6. "I can tell you a secret about yourself: You don't trust anyone."

    It's key to remember that anyone includes himself...

  7. HIN - I would bet you've called it exactly.

    Slightly Disorganized - Ah, sorry.

    VVK - Most likely right - hadn't thought of that.

  8. This really was creepy. Wow. Really.

  9. Someone has issue and you poked them with a stick
    Lucky escape methinks


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