Since I began blogging, I have taken to carrying around a small notebook, pencil, sharpener and eraser. I am more of a pen person, but using a pencil feels right to me. I was at the bar in the Dublin Underground, drinking an RC, no straw, my usual drink. This is my favorite place in Iowa City. It is a friendly place.
I was really focused on writing down some thoughts about possible future blog posts. I didn’t notice the woman taking off her coat and sitting down one seat over on my right. I didn’t hear her order the glass of white wine, or notice the look on the bar tenders face when he first saw her. I was scribbling away, when I felt the slightest tap on my right elbow, and as I looked up, she said in a French accent, “What are you writing about in zee little book?”
Normally that would be a pretty easy question, since I was the writer, and it wasn’t one of those tricky multiple choice questions, I should have been able to fire back an answer immediately. It wouldn’t have been a problem, had I not looked up. Had I kept my eyes on zee little notebook, I would have been able to say something like, “My woodworking blog”. I saw her face first, and my response was, “I…um…It’s…huh…I don’t remember. What was the question?” I was having trouble breathing. She giggled and pointed my notebook.
I then went into a somewhat incoherent rambling about it being notes for a blog which I have been doing since Jan 2 of this year, and lots of other details, which just kept pouring out of me. The little voice in my head was screaming at me, “You are blathering like an idiot” I was pathetic. She sensed that this could on for a while, unless she intervened, “What is zee blog about?” This second question let me gather myself a bit, and I took a breath and said, “It is about woodworking.”
She wore a white silk blouse, black skirt, and had short ebony hair, with the sort of face that launches a thousand ships. I think she said that she liked woodworking, but my head was still spinning a bit and I missed some of her response. It wasn’t until she mentioned something about retiring from French national gymnastics team, after she grew 6 inches her senior year in high school, and had been a lingere model for the last 7 years, that I was able to focus on what she was saying again. It was a good thing too, as she asked me another question, “What is the URL for zee blog?”
She had her iphone out and typed in the address as I gave it to her. Since I knew that if I opened my mouth I would begin to blather on like the idiot again, I sat quietly and fidgeted with my pencil. “The photos are tres beau, did you take them?” I was a bit less shaky by this time, so I said, “yes, I enjoy photography.”
We talked a bit about photography and then she asked, “So you have the wood?” At that moment I felt the urge to tilt my head slightly to the right and raise my left eyebrow. Tragically I suffer from the rare affliction eyebrowus parallelus, from the Latin, which means the inability to raise either eyebrow without raising the other simultaneously, thus keeping them parallel to the eyes. She quickly corrected herself, “Do you have a favorite wood?” To which I said that I like hard maple and walnut. She reached over and touched my arm, looked into my eyes and said, “I would love to see your wood.” Damn eyebrowus parellelus!
She held out her hand and introduced herself. Her hand was warm. Her expression was kind and calming. I guessed that I wasn’t the first guy to stammer in her presence. Feeling at ease, I said, “It is nice to meet you Sherri Seurat, my name is Brian Meeks.”
Her father was an avid woodworker, and she was the great granddaughter of Georges Seurat. We talked about photography, her modeling career, her grandfather, and I was much less of an idiot than I had been in the beginning. I don’t know how long we talked, but every minute was a delight.
I was telling her about my little workshop when she asked, “What sort of air filtration system do you have?” I said that I don’t have one, but I wear a mask. The look of shock on her face startled me. “You don’t have zee air filtration system? Don’t you know that air quality is important in keeping your lungs healthy?!” Her voice began to rise. “My father never took care of himself; he breathed that dust every day until he died.” She got up from her seat, sobbing, grabbed her coat and fled up the stairs. I was stunned, but I followed her and went outside just in time to see her hop into a cab and drive off. I watched her head off along the river towards the mountains. The beauty of the setting sun was lost on me. It looked cold and sad.
Thirty-seven minutes later I was loading the Jet AFS-1000B Air Filtration System into my car. I am pleased with my purchases. It has a remote. I can breathe again.
-- Brian Meeks, http://extremelyaverage.com