They could have easily been a modern-day Romeo and Juliet. Two star-crossed lovers from opposite sides of the tracks; him replete in stocking cap, high tops and a black T-shirt, her in a business casual dress and blouse, daringly high heels, silk scarf and a long coat.
I’ve seen more mismatched couples, but when you stand where I stand, you tend to see a lot of things.
“I’ll have a big beer,” Romeo said, even before sitting down. Nothing shows a date your level of consideration quite like ordering your beverage before she has a chance to sit.
“Do you have a drink list?” asked Juliet, struggling to get out of her jacket.
Instead of helping her, Romeo simply leaned over to give her more room.
“Don’t spill my beer,” he said as she hung up her scarf. “Can we get some chicken wings?”
“What are the oysters ” she began.
“And some onion rings,” he said, interrupting.
The night continued on much in the same vein for some time. Romeo ordered a shot of whiskey and another big beer. He ordered his entr?e before she had looked at the menu. Greedily, he gobbled down most of his wings and rings before offering her a perfunctory, “Want some?”
If this was a date, it was a bad date.
No matter how long people have been together consideration is the keystone of dating, at least in the beginning.
I looked at her briefly, wondering why any woman would put up with behavior like that.
“We’re not together,” she said as if reading my mind.
Well that sort of explained it.
“We’re just roommates.”
I visualized the most expensive item on the menu, just to be sure.
“I’ll have a side salad,” she said. “Dressing on the side.”
I sighed with relief. Over the years I have waited on psychics, psychologists, psychiatrists as well as everyone in between. It can be a little off putting if you believe someone is analyzing you instead of communicating with you. I know that it makes me a little more guarded.
“We’re just roommates,” she said repeating herself.
The lady doth protest too much, I thought, risking much if she was indeed psychic. Those other two, psychologists and psychiatrists, actually have to guess what you may be thinking. Thankfully, because my guardedness around them might be more Jungian than Shakespearean. But I digress.
The two roommates argued about politics, he vehemently on the right, she on the left. They could not have been more Montague-Capulet if they had tried. Whoever said opposites attract must have left out the “initially,” because it is not what we agree on that we fight about, but the parts that we don’t agree on. And with relationships the more you don’t agree on, the less likely you are to succeed. Trust me on this, no one ever cries into his or her beer or chardonnay about all the things that went right.
More beer and more wine later and the two argued even more vehemently, about religion, TV and then the bill.
“You’re such an a**hole,” she said finally.
“And you’re a b*itch!”
They scooped up their belongings and headed out to their cab. I noticed her scarf still hanging on the wall so I grabbed it and raced for the door. The door bumped up against what turned out to be two amorous people busily making out.
I looked around for the two roommates. They were nowhere in sight.
“Is that my scarf?” asked one of the amorous pair.
Leaving me with this these thoughts:
• Shakespeare would have made a hell of a psychoanalyst.
• Sometimes with relationships we settle not for what we want, but rather for what we think we deserve.
• I wonder if those two still “won’t be together” a year from now.
• The ubiquitous fairy-tale ending “Happily ever after” was originally rendered as the far less bubbly, “They lived happily until they died.”
• “I am responsible for my own happiness,” is a well-known self-help mantra. Funny that “I am also responsible for my own unhappiness” is not.
• Shakespearean lovers usually don’t turn out well; Othello and Desdemona, Hamlet and Ophelia, Antony and Cleopatra just to name a few.
• Can someone please just ask me about vodka?