|We were just getting into the Hall & Oates jam portion.|
We cranked out a good 12 - 14 song selections before we slowed down. She asked one passerby if he had any suggestions, and he didn't. In the end it didn't matter (we thought) and (with pride in our choices) we filled the roster.
We sat. We talked. We were watched. The passerby from the jukebox was at my 10 o'clock. I was sitting up against a wall, opposite of the entrance. He was at long table that stood bar height and ran through the middle of the room. His back was to he table, because he was staring at us. I didn't mention this to my friend for a lot of reasons.
- She doesn't live in the city. I don't want her to think its strange.
- He wasn't physically intimidating. He just seemed like a guy who was out of place.
- If I had mentioned it to her, she would have looked at him. In these situations I find it's best to pretend it's not happening. No interest, no action.
- We were about to leave soon anyway.
I was mentally relegating him to "strange guy in a bar," when he approached.
"Can I hang out with you guys?"We could have said "no." I've done it in the past. But we were discussing anything serious. And we weren't putting out vibes to attract anyone else. This was an after-work crowd at a bar. Also, it's San Francisco. Talking to strangers happens, right before you're talking to a friend. (See what I did there?)
And so we met Peter. Peter is from Boston. He works in construction and was brought out by his company to work on apartment complexes going up near the ballpark. Peter has a heavy Boston accent. Peter is married to a woman who works for the federal government They are Catholic and have three children, who are all right around my age. They've been married about 35 years. Peter travels a lot for work, but goes home every three weeks. Traveling has been part of his job for about ten years. He gets put up in nice apartments, and it's lonely.
"Aren't I entitled to have an affair?"
"No actually, you're not."But that came later. First, Peter forgot our names. And this friend and I have the same name. If you're going to crash my party, pay attention to the guests. He forgot what we did and where we worked. I switched to asking Peter about himself, because we were literally going in circles with the questions he was asking us. Then we got to the crux of the matter.
"You guys married?" - PeterIn my mind, he's a dad. So I treated him like a dad. Dads don't want to know what their single 30-something daughters do in the dating world. Trust me - I've tried to tell mine. But Peter did not see himself as a dad. Peter saw himself as a potential. So he started making inroads.
"Yup." - Friend, D
"No." - Heroine, D
"Do you got a boyfriend or something?" - Peter
"I live my life." - Heroine, D
"What does that mean?" - Peter
"It means I live my life." - Heroine, D
"What's your husband say about you being out?" - Peter
"Actually, it's my wife, and she's out of town. But --" - Friend, D
"You're married to a woman?" - PeterI wish I had a picture of his face. He was a man who wanted to accept it, but was incapable. There was at least one muttered "wow," and an awkward "so you're the 'wife' then?" And later "yeah but you can't be Catholic now, not married to woman." It was cringeworthy. I digress.
"Welcome to San Francisco." - Friend, D [possibly with jazz hands]
Peter told us about his wife ("she could be watching right now") and his three kids (two girls and a boy) and then said he was looking for a young lady to spend time with while he was here. Friend D (bless her heart) first thought he wanted us to help him find such a young lady. She literally looked around the bar with an "ummmm."
But this man - this married older man - wanted me to be his San Francisco thing. It was infuriating on so many levels, I didn't even know where to begin crushing him. I unleashed all of my thoughts at once. My tirade spared nothing. I reminded him that he was disrespecting his vows, that his daughters would be disgusted that he was picking up a girl their age (or a little younger) and that his wife works for the government and really could be tracking him.
I told him she could be in bar herself with some 30 year old stud.
"She's not like that."
"Well she probably doesn't think you're like that either. But she has a friend. And that friend doesn't trust you and has been whispering in her ear for years. And that friend will get her attention soon enough."I asked him what could possibly be in it for me.
"You want me to waste a year of my life when I'm not getting married or having a baby to hang out with a married man in a situation I know has no future? All for the pleasure of your company? That's not enough. What are you offering that's worth the compromising of my morals and the scorn of my friends?"
"Well no one has to know."
"My whole life is on the Internet. As soon as you walk away. This will be on Facebook."Then I went in the other direction. Telling him that there was no way he'd find someone who would enjoy him for a year and just let him go. I told him if it were me, and I loved him for a year, that I would want to keep him. I detailed how I would destroy his homelife using DMV and real estate records that a former member of the media just might be able to access. (He doesn't know a media bluff - he works in construction.) I told him how one look in his wallet while he was in the shower could mess up his whole lecherous operation.
"Why would you do that to me?"It was as if he had never seen a revenge movie. Or more likely that he thinks women are weak. I told him a woman who willing be a whore for a married man for a year would probably not feel compelled to share her STD history.
"I can't believe you would give your wife herpes. That's gross."
"I wouldn't!"I could have railed at him for hours. First of all, he thought I - dressed in my bowling ensemble - looked like mistress / whore material. Secondly, he assumes his wife has no option but to sit at home and be thankful for his existence. Thirdly, he's willing to suck a fertile year from a 30-something just for his own "funsies."
And he was unapologetic.
"I wish I had never talked to you girls." - Peter
"Yeah, that was a mistake." - Friend, D
"Know what else? This is my neighborhood. I've lived here for years. I go to bars in North Beach, Chinatown and Nob Hill. I actually hit every neighborhood in this city. And if I see you, I will tell whoever you're with the kind of person you are." - Heroine, DHe left - without paying for his beer, which the waiter just put on our tab.
On our way to finding a taxi, we saw him briefly on the next street. He ducked his head and scurried away.
I mean, really!