Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Romanian Chairs

Bellevue is a dry town, but a drinking establishment is in walking distance, spitting distance, if you will. I was waiting for the 14 bus just a cock hair out of town, no good place to sit, in front of the road house called the Rusty Dory. What the fuck is a 'dory?' What ever, the last place I went to shop is a Red, White and Blue thrift store, located right off of route 65, where I bought nothing. There was a close call with a leather trench coat that came near enough to my size to spark a mental picture of me in sadist regalia. Makes sense, somehow, that people would have secret lives in a town that forbids the use of alcohol. But a man burdened with unrelated guilt has no right to judge others.

The remorse was for pissing. There's a Burger King an eight lane jog across 65 from the thrift store, both still in Bellevue proper. Like a thief, I snuck in and used the men's room, and didn't buy anything. I could hear the invisible voices, saying, "There, that is the man who pissed in here, and now the door is always locked, and you have to ask at the counter for the key, because bastards like that lousy thrift shopper did what he just did. Fucker." Pricks like me abuse corporate kindnesses, and it's the commoner who suffers for it. Reminds how a term paper I wrote in college, titled 'The Ethical Suicide,' landed me a C-, and I didn't bother with grad school. Now I ride the bus. Standing guilty and alone, an ugly American, soon I had company at the bus stop along the highway. And again, I was still alone, though now among others.

Two men appeared from across the street, both quite old, very pale, one in chinos and a checked sport shirt, the other in blue work pants and a checked short sleeve sport shirt. One on the two men was carrying chairs. They were speaking, smiling their words to each other, in a rush of an Asian dialect. Both ignored me when I smiled and nodded in their direction. Both though, seemed to be thrilled with their purchase at he thrift store.

If I could understand their language, all doubt would be erased. They were talking about their two Romanian chairs. Stealing glances though, I saw on one of them the word 'Romania." It was on the underside of the hardwood seat, the chairs stacked in front of them, one upright, the other inverted. They were cheap, sturdy early American style, the kind supplied to nursing homes and group homes and condominiums owned by the tasteless middle class. My legs were hurting.

I was aching for a friendly conversation, as well as for respite from the heat and the burden of my own weight. But only a true ugly American would initiate conversation in what might be someone's second language. And I'm a cute son of a bitch, when I'm not pissing in some fast food joint where I'm not wanted. Two people close by, and no one to talk to. And two chairs left unused, like they weren't there to be sat on. With the two bleach skinned old men talking to each other, and no chance at all at any sort of kinship forming on my end, I decided to make a seat out of a pile of rocks, fresh clean rocks trying and failing at decorating the front parking lot of the Rusty Dory. Like the two chairs, it was uncomfortable, and it couldn't have looked good for a man to sit like a child on the ground, while two men remained standing beside the highway in front of their second hand furniture.

I've always admired the stoicism of the Asian peoples. One would have to be, to sit for more than a few seconds in a patently uncomfortable chair. Or, for that matter, to remain standing for as long as it takes for the bus to come. When the bus finally came, I waved the two men enter ahead of me, like a good American, like to allow them their best opportunity in finding seats and some free space for their ugly Romanian chairs. These are the silly rules I live by.

No comments: