October 23, 2007

age: 23

location: Chicago, IL

I amount to nothing. Thank God. I am at Jimmy’s Bar on Ashland listening to poetry by creative writing majors, who also amount to nothing.

I talk to Jimmy, the owner, as he pours me a drink.

“Are you a poetry fan?”

” I’ve never met a poetry fan. The only ones in love with poetry are the ones writing it.”

I smirk. “Well there’s quite a crowd if no one likes it.”

“Yea, well, people gravitate towards anything containing the illusion of meaning or some profound truth. Even look at me! I am sounding like fuckin’ Oscar Wilde,” he laughed, “Do you want another drink?”

I nod and then listen for a moment to the poet on stage. If he didn’t talk so slow then maybe I could appreciate it. Everything is ruined by the attempt to be something greater.

Thinking back to the drafts of work on my own floor, I sigh. Sometimes, I cannot wait until I die so that my writing can be uncovered, while the world realizes the tragedy of my death and what a loss it was. Oh the talent! It’s not that I want to die but I want a chance for another facet of me to live.

Jimmy pours the boys next to me some rum and cokes then turns to me.

“So yesterday,” he says, “I decided that I would stop buying gas station sunglasses.”

Jimmy is growing more and more into his over-the-hill persona, reluctantly coming to terms with the fact that he received a government check in the mail. We went to college together. And all through college, he was an advocate for gas station sunglasses — wearing them indoors and out, proclaiming you can not get a better deal elsewhere.

“Don’t. You love them.”

“Yeah but I think I only loved them because they were cheap. I thought hey, four dollars, might as well! But now, I realize that whether four dollars or ten or twenty, a waste is a waste.” He lit a cigarette while I shook my head at him.

We turn to the poets on stage and pretend to listen but like everyone else, we are instead immersed in our own thoughts.

I’ve long forgotten how to regret meaningless conversations. Thank God everything is nothing.

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