The Luck of the Wall Socket by Jack Neary

The entry below is being cross posted from Jack Neary’s own blog, Shards

I am in the Barnes and Noble café in Nashua, NH. As usual. Trying to work. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes less so. Most times, I can achieve a level of concentration here I can’t reach in a more private atmosphere. Today, at least at this moment, is not one of those times.

I’m in the only seat I could get near a wall socket. A seat near a wall socket is crucial at Barnes and Noble, because I have to plug in my computer. Yeah, I have a battery, but the computer is about four years old and the battery doesn’t last all that long. So the wall socket is a must.

Unfortunately, today, I am sitting next to a couple of 20-somethings, a man and a woman (boy and a girl?), who are in the very first stage of chatting each other up. Emphasis on the chatting. And the conversation is as inane as any conversation I’ve ever heard. The most prevalent words emerging from their lips are the words “like” and “awesome.” The conversation has evolved in the last thirty minutes from dogs watching him kissing his “ex” in bed (he made sure he emphasized the “ex” part) to his receding hairline, which is not really receding, which he knows, but which, since he brought it up, she feels compelled to defend. Points for him. (He’s 26, tops, and he just used the phrase “If I could do it all over again…”) You can, asshole! Twice!

Sitting on the table in front of her is a paperback entitled, “Personal Development for Smart People.” From what I’ve heard of the conversation, she hasn’t had a chance to begin reading yet.

Okay, he just said, “That was my first tattoo.” She called it “cool.” He thinks the lines are too thick. She doesn’t agree. She thinks it’s fantastic. He has absolutely NOTHING to worry about in terms of action later in the day. Or night.

Two more “likes,” a “sucks” and a “basically.” Classic.

I just took a quick glance in the guise of a look to the clock or something. She is wearing jeans and a shirt, each of which is full of carefully calculated holes.

As I said, this guy is In Like Flynn.

For those of you who enjoy century-old baseball references.

I’d really like to get down to work on this new play I’m writing, but I can’t. I know–I should go home and lock myself in my room and concentrate. But I can’t. I do my best writing in the cafe at B&N. That’s just the way it is. I have to wait for these two to shut up, or else wait until another wall socket opens up so I can move.

These two shutting up is not going to happen. Not for a while. She just looked at her watch, gushed, and asked him if he knew what time it was.
He said, “I dunno. 11:30?”

It’s 2:30.

She gushed again.

This guy knows exactly what he’s doing. I think he told her he’s an Emergency Medical Technician. Even if it’s not true, it’s gonna get him through this day. And night. I guarantee it. He’s so smooth there’s no question she’s paying for dinner, too.

If they make it to dinner.

Maybe he parked his ambulance outside. That’d be quicker.

I wonder if she’s gonna buy the book.

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