I was at Fado's with a girl from the soccer team, the place so packed we couldn't find a table and sought refuge on the upper balcony, sipping rum and Coke and people-watching. It was better than trying to talk, anyway, because the Black-Eyed Peas were blaring and trying yell over it just made the headache worse.
So I sipped my drink and laughed at the girls below, wearing too much jewelry and teetering on stilettos and letting muscle-bound frat boys hit on them, and things honestly haven't changed all that much from high school if I really think about it.
Well, one thing was new, at least, because a guy walked up and started talking to me.
"Hey," he mumbled, staring at his feet.
I felt an instant wave of sympathy for the guy, because who hasn't been there before? It was dark and I couldn't really see his face because he wouldn't meet my eyes, so I smiled and kinda leaned down so he'd look at me, and I introduced myself. What hell, right? He's just shy.
"Hi," he said.
Oh. "This place is kind of crazy, huh? You can barely breathe in here."
"Yeah." Oh. Oh no.
"What's your name?"
"...WHAT?" I yelled.
"Oh. Well, hi! Do you live around here?"
Crap. I started scrambling. "That's handy. I wish I lived close; this place is really cool, but I don't get much of a chance to drive downtown. Trying to get home after a night out can be brutal, y'know?"
At this moment, I realized I was a dentist working on a patient without anesthesia.
The conversation -- if you can call it that, because it consisted of me yelling whatever inane thing came to my head in an effort to fill the silence, which can be pretty deafening even when T-Pain is making your ears bleed -- continued for five excruciating minutes.
After his twentieth one-word answer, I snapped.
I set down my drink, reached over and grabbed him by the shoulders, which was finally enough to get him to actually look at me.
"Dude," I said. "I'm giving you an out."
He seemed confused. "...what?" It was his second-longest sentence of our abortion of a conversation.
"This." I waved my arms wildly, as if I could physically point out just how painful the last few minutes had been. I grabbed his shoulders again. "I know this is really, really awkward and we're kind of banging our heads against a brick wall here, so I'm giving you an out. You can leave right now if you want."
He blinked at me a couple of times. Then he walked away.
I'm going to die alone. With many, many cats.