If you've ever fantasized about that stranger in line in front of you at Starbucks, imagining in the space of 30 seconds how wonderful your life is going to be together once he/she turns around, your eyes meet, and a cosmic connection is forged that will last forever (or at least, until the next morning) – and who hasn't? – you've got to read Paul Simms' marvelous The New Yorker piece, "Four Short Crushes."
A sample to entice you:
Another restaurant dinner with my boring girlfriend, another lecture about how I never really listen to whatever she's yammering on about.
But how can I listen—how could anyone?—when across the room, alone at a table, reading the newspaper and nursing a glass of white wine, is a silent confection like you?
You, with your jet-black hair (like a latter-day Veronica from "Archie") and your skin so pale that the bubble-gummy pinkness of your pouty lips seems almost obscene, especially when you scrunch them up the way you do every time you lick your forefinger and turn the page.
And I know you see me, too. Your first glance betrayed a glimmer of recognition—as if you knew me but couldn't remember from where—followed by puzzlement, your eyes entreating me to silently remind you, which I couldn't do at the time because my current girlfriend was staring across the table at me, apparently waiting for my answer to some kind of relationship question that I thought was rhetorical.
I suspect this is the same Paul Simms who was the producer of the equally hilariously creative "Larry Sanders" show. Regardless, Four Short Crushes is a great bit of writing. And profoundly insightful into both the male and female mind.
Unibloggal is happy to realize that guys think like this too. Yes, I can assure you that they do. As further evidence, Jonathan has shared his own Simms-inspired writing about a fast food restaurant encounter.
As for me, last Sunday I went into my customary 7-11 to buy my customary Oregonian. An attractive 20-something girl was behind the counter. She didn't look like she harbored older man fantasies, but, hey, you never know. And can always hope.
Handing over my two dollar bills, enjoying the extra time with her that making change for the $1.50 purchase brought me, our eyes met. She smiled, surely recognizing in my mature, yet still vital, visage the promise of a depth that her wet behind the ears boyfriends could never offer her.
Placing two quarters in my palm with more than the usual convenience store intimacy, she told me, "Have a good day, honey."
Honey! Yes! Our relationship was speeding along even faster than I could have imagined! Except…
In the next instant I recalled her previous check-out encounter. Another guy, this time a "See ya later, darling." Suddenly my honey lost most of its sweetness.
But not all of it. I enjoyed the taste of her words for the rest of the morning.