Yesterday I was at the cafe reading (Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination) and making notes (for pieces I'm writing, books I'm doing, pitches, and people and venues that need to be exposed in these pages), when a woman sat at the table next to me. The tables have a padded bench on one side, a chair on the other. We were both on the bench side. She was stunning. Beautiful in an interesting way; by which I mean, an uncommon way. The type of person who looks only like themselves, if that makes sense. She was six foot tall. Extremely fit. Went to Dartmouth. (With the sweatshirt to prove it). Probably late twenties, maybe thirty. Not married.
She kept looking over at me, or would glance when she got up, like to get her drink at the bar. And she sat in a way that almost invited a word or a look. That kind of leaning, open, more proximate, maybe, than one would normally be, type of way. She had a leather-bound journal--it actually said "Journal" on the front--and was writing in it, voluminously, in longhand. When she wasn't writing in this journal, she was reading a book, and marking it up with a pen in her left hand, as I was also doing with my book.
This is exactly someone I ought to be interested in, in this initial, at-a-distance sort of way, where one makes a remark or two, or is sure to smile at that person. You don't know them, obviously. But you do know certain things about them, and you can make certain deductions. They might not all be correct, but there are things to go by.
Rarely do I see anyone who suggests to me that maybe I should do that. And yet, I didn't yesterday, and I think this was an error. In one regard, I'm not certain why I didn't. But I think a lot of it has to do with where I am in my life right now. This situation. I can't envision anyone going through this with me. Wanting to. Being strong enough to.
It's worse than hell. There is no quality of life, and that won't change until it changes, by which I mean, the problem is solved. I am not in this position. I am where I should be, in many ways and areas. In the world. With readers and recognition. In Rockport and Cape Cod. The presence of someone--even someone who was immediately interesting to me like this arresting and stunning woman--won't change nor even relieve any of what this worse-than-hell is. I have to get out of this first.
But all the same, I was disappointed in myself. She had red hair, and one of those faces where it looks like the person is someone who observes and absorbs the world, rather than projects the needless and erroneous out into it.
These were just my impressions, of course. I could have turned and said, "You don't see many people writing in a book these days," as easy as you please. But I didn't. I just sat there and thought about doing it.
So. Not a good showing by me.