I’m sitting here in this coffee shop. Y’know the one there by Allen street. The town is filled with thousands of middle class college kids living off their parent’s money.
The coffee shop is where the ones come to play the part of sophisticated bohemians. The pretensions glow from their line-less faces as they sip cappuccinos and nibble strawberry scones. The boys to my right are discussing Nabokov with a serious air, a copy of Sartre’s Cuba lies conspicuously on the table.
The young woman on my left is declaring that she can never allow her creativity to be stifled by entering the work force. The man with her scratches his goatee in agreement, occasionally suggesting they go back to his place to hear his new Washington Squares CD. Matt has just designed a new international symbol for peace. He moves from table to table trying to sell hand painted T-shirts that bear the design. Tomorrow he’s leaving for the 25th anniversary Woodstock concert where he hopes to strike it rich with his creation. He asks me, “Do you think I should go to MTV with this or not? I don’t know if I want to corrupt myself with the MTV generation.”
The anaal lab attendant from the university stops by my table to ask of my ancestry. He’s sure I look ‘particularly European” and says I remind him of an underground film actor. Ornelia is playing head games with the philosophy instructor who’s trying to get back in her bed. She says, “to look at him you’d never think he has a donkey dick down to his knees.”
Gopha the skinny Indian boy feels inclined to sing me a verse of ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ when I ask him if he’s a friend of Monica’s. Jason is trying to talk Gopha into a dollar bet on a game of chess. Between times Jason will chew your ear off with his plans to conquer the music industry while studying entertainment law, but when it comes to his never ending dollar chess matches he’s quiet as a church mouse.
I sit among them. To all surface appearances one and the same. If they could only see I would rather reach into their flesh and tear out their shallow little hearts than listen to another second of their prattle.
With no job, no gigs, and my girlfriend’s so far gone she might as well be one another planet, I’ve been leading the writer’s quiet cafe life. Spending my free time outdoors drinking iced teas and cheap wines. With a friendly facade I chat amiably with whatever stalwart genius decides to squander away their hours in my vicinity.
But behind my eyes is an unspoken challenge to any and every one of these social elites to just once say one thing that would inspire me. Just one little idea which is new and meaningful. Any emotion which would incite my animal passions to seek enlightenment. Unfortunately original thoughts are nil here. Even a crude spark would enliven me, but they only deliver the failure of dull mediocrity.
In my secret mind I wish to run like a madman banging gongs and speaking in tongues. Or maybe jump on a table and shove a baklava stick up my ass as I sing the Star Spangled Banner in the forgotten language of the Hottentots.
I know these thoughts only reveal me as a fool because the spark I search for cannot be shocked into existence by Dadaistic acts of obscene performance art. Where it truly comes from is one of the mysteries which will always haunt me.
But alas, the woman at me left has acceded to the temptation of the Washington Squares. And Matt has made T-shirt sale to the scruffy girl in the tie die frock. Jason moves his rook to check, and for all my wrath all I get is a bitter taste in my mouth which all the Chablis in America won’t wash away.