The Geeky Guy was not the only one who thought he was married to the Lisping Barista. So did the drug dealer, Chai Latte; only it wasn’t exactly marriage he thought he had. He thought he had something that’s often confused with it. He had possession. But, don’t believe it from me. Let’s let the Lisping Barista tell it.
Chai’s been really, really generous. Whenever I need money, he gives it to me. I get all the drugs I want. He gets me some clothes and some jewelry I never thought I’d have. I ask for some money to fix up my car, but he says I don’t even need a car. I ask him, “Do I need to work?” But, he says, “Working’s important for your self-esteem, Baby.” He’s right. He has a good work ethic and lots of self-esteem. He goes to work every day, right there with me. He never leaves my side.
Chai’s got lots of friends and they’re OK, but they’re not my Chai Latte. There’s only one I don’t get. That’s Silent Bob. He intrigues me because he never says anything. He just looks at you. His face says it all; but, not quite. You still want to hear what he has to say; not because you need to, but you want to have the satisfaction. I get turned on by coaxing words out of Silent Bob. At first, I just get one at a time. At this stage, whenever he says anything, it sounds weird; not because it actually sounds weird; but it’s weird he says anything at all. It’s like when the couch or the chair or the refrigerator speaks up and says something. In that case, you really want to hear what it has to say, even if it’s nothing intelligent; but because you want to hear it do it and because you want to be able to say you made it talk.
Anyway, so, days go by with me getting one word at a time out of Silent Bob. Then everything comes all at once. It’s like that old movie about Helen Keller where she finally learns how to talk and then you can’t get her to shut up. Well, not quite like that. Silent Bob is still what you might call reticent; but it felt that way.
My breakthrough came when I asked him where he was from.
“Yoopee,” he says.
I don’t know where that is. I failed geometry; but, before I can ask him, he adds, all on his own, “I’m a Yooper.”
“What’s a Yooper?” I ask.
He tells me he’s from the upper peninsula of Michigan. He shows me with his hands. He makes a mitten with one and a claw with the other. He comes from the claw.
I ask him how he got here. That’s when he really gets talking.
“When I was a kid,” he says, “I used to look ‘cross lake and see land, other side. Door County, Wisconsin. At night, lights. We call them Foggy Cities, eh? I always wanted go Foggy Cities.”
“So, did you like the Foggy Cities?”
“Nope, Foggy Cities just like Yoopee. So, I keep looking eh? But, I take wrong turn.”
There’s something just so adorable about Silent Bob, looking for his foggy cities. We all have our foggy cities. The things that get us going, but we can never find.
But, there’s also something else.
“I like the way you talk,” I say; and I really do. It’s different and it makes me think about words. There’s so many ways to say the same thing. When you find a different way, it makes you think about all the others.
He looks uncomfortable and embarrassed. I know why. I know exactly why.
“I don’t like the way I talk,” he says. “I sound stupid; but, I can’t change it.”
So, he feels the same way about his Yooper accent as I feel about my lisp. I want to make it all better for both of us, so I do a dumb thing. It’s the right thing, but dumb.
I lean over and give him a kiss, right on the lips.
That was the exact moment Chai Latte decides to walk in the room and see us. That’s how I got this black eye. No, it wasn’t falling on a doorknob like I tell everyone. The next thing I know, Chai tells me I’m quitting my job. Only, now, I don’t want to.