March 6, 2014 by Andy Lester
An intimate look into how a woman flirts through a written study of human behavior – and how her shocking actions change everything.
On a trip to Europe I had a three hour layover and time to sit and write, take notes and try and get that inspiration from people watching. Instead of writing comedy I attempted something more serious, with merit to challenge myself.
I now commit to a literary study in the details of human behavior – to probe the nuances of an intimate character description. I sit in a bar, steel myself and wait. A woman comes in wearing a summer dress with thin straps, a natural curl in her hair, she looks athletic has no luggage except a backpack and she has a kind of energy about her. She sits down at the corner of the bar orders a 24 oz beer, nods to the bartender and then she’s talking just a little bit loud, she’s getting noticed, smiling, flipping her hair and glancing, laughing and talking. She talks about how she’s cold, and all she has to travel is this one bag and she’s freezing. So she’s got the flirt goin’ on, I’m taking notes writing down details for this piece because if you read reviews of winning essays and Pulitzer Prize authors they always talk about the authentic detail that it must be based on truth. Now I’m writing truth, real details about how she’s flirting and it’s working! The guy down the bar gets up, walks over to her and drapes his coat on her shoulders and she looks up at him and thanks him, He’s got cargo pants, sneakers with an odd tread, a mustache, why are his elbows skinned? I’m writing what’s happening, capturing the body language, the texture of her hair pulled back in a bob, the earth colors in her dress, the stud earrings, the green sport water bottle tucked in the mesh pocket of her backpack. She’s talking about playing competitive sports and how some European players, you just blow on them and call foul, but not Romania, those women are athletes that respect the sport, she orders another tall beer, the dance continues but with the guy on her left in a suit. The first guy’s checkin’ his watch he’s gotta get his coat back, How does he do it? Does he let her keep it? Now she’s talking about how religion is like eggs, you don’t know what came first the chicken or the egg and how people like their eggs all different ways, She’s talking to a woman on her right, they hit it off, laughing having another drink. Everybody’s looking at “Gerri” with an “i” she gets up and the guy on her left is talking to her – I need to get a picture of her to get the detail for my writing piece – the brocade purse, the fact that she wears clear nail polish – the light make-up, she’s a little flushed now. She’s standing, shifting maybe she doesn’t like the guy in the suit who hands her a business card and she looks at the card for a long time. I take the shot with my cell phone. She leaves in a hurry.
I didn’t realize it at the time but when this woman got up from the bar stool and was standing there she just…pissed herself. Literally, peed on the floor! Too many beers, too quickly and couldn’t make it to the restroom. And just walked out into the airport…I just witnessed this so to be absolutely sure I zoomed in on the floor and yeah, there it was – a big puddle with wet footprints striding away.
It occurs to me that someone somewhere might pay a couple hundred dollars to see that but for me I see it as Karma telling me I should stop taking myself so seriously as a writer, especially because when all this happened – I hadn’t even left New Jersey.