Friday, December 13, 2013

Gift-giving in the Tempus Fugit.

It was cold last night. Cold enough to make me envy a hipster's Amish beard and flannel shirt. That cold.

Nevertheless, the cold did not keep Dame Insomnia away. She was suitably diaphanous but somehow braved the elements and visited my bedstead.

"Get up, George," she whispered.

I rudely rolled over, turning away from her.

She grasped my shoulder. "George," she said, jostling me. "Arise, my Love."

So I did and I quickly threw some clothing on and a leash on Whiskey, and we trudged sleepily uptown to the warm, antiqued incandescence of The Tempus Fugit.

"It's been too long, my friend," the bartender said to me. He was already around the bar with a bowl of cold water to wet Whiskey's whistle.

I settled into my favorite stool, one in from the end, and he pulled me a Pike's Ale (the ALE that won for YALE.)

"I have something for you," he said placing a small, wrapped package on the teak of the well-lacquered bar top. "Consider it a holiday gift."

"I'm speechless," I lied, speaking.

"You are deserving of so much," he said, pulling me another to replace the glass I had swiftly drained. "You are a giver to so many. Yet you yourself are a bad receiver."

"You read me like a cheap book," I said, staring into my amber. I pushed at the gift, reluctant to open it.

I opened the box, finally, and inside was a pair of heavy-framed glasses.

"Glasses," he said redundantly. "Magic."

I put them on. There was no refraction, no discernible vision change.

"Thank you. A strange gift, I'll admit, since I am 20-20."

"They are glasses," he said, "specifically for people with acute vision. They help you see less well. They obscure and blur rather than clarify. They'll help you stop seeing so well. They'll help you accept the cockatoos and poseurs and do-nothings and the rest."

"They are glasses that blind?"

"That's right," he said. "Because it is tougher to live in a world where you see than in a world where you don't."

"What about every day banalities," I asked.

"You won't notice them when you are wearing the glasses. They are like noise-cancelling headphones for your eyes."

I sipped slowly at my second and then my third Pike's as the bartender OCD'd the shiny bartop ever-shinier and Whiskey twitched in her sleep.

In short order I pushed two twenties in his direction.

"A gift," he said, pushing the currency back.

I walked home, not seeing where I was going.

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