The Middle Path

I met Jamelah last summer on Flickr, when I followed her trail of pretty pictures and found her store of wonderful words. Her blog has been one of my eager daily stops ever since then. The other day I was responding to a post she did on pick-up lines, which I’m thinking are perhaps the SUV’s of casual conversation, when it occurrs to me that the comment really belongs here. And so, with minor alterations, here it is.

[Insert Jamelah’s pick-up line post at this point]

The best utterly unnerving line that ever hove at me came one night long ago at the old Ritz, which is now a tolerable and venerable night club called Webster Hall.

I was kicking around New York between high school and college, working at a newspaper, doing both reporter work and production shifts. We put the paper to bed on Tuesday nights, which in the pre-computer days took two+ days of nattering work.

On Monday and Tuesday nights I regularly went to the Ritz after we closed up. Monday and Tuesday nights were Rock Against Depression nights at the Ritz (buck to get in, and cheap drinks though I hardly drank at the time). I went to dance out my tensions. I was sort of dating a girl who was sort of separated from her husband and was rather older than I was, and I spent a lot of time pretty much alone, which has been a sort of motif with me.

So one night the DJ was doing really well, and we were getting the cheap fun schlock (Einstein A-Go-Go by Landscape, say) along with the necessary vitamins and minerals (Cars, Gen-X, Bow Wow Wow, Blondie, Ramones) and the edgier bits (Nervus Rex, The Feelies, The English Beat and whatnot). I was In The Zone, dead tired and very happy, and then he played my favorite dancing song of the time, Cold Colours (later known as Primary), and I was doing my thing, oblivious to the thinning crowd and thinking I’d go home after this.

When the song was over I started to leave, and this pretty blonde woman came lurching over (it was probably pretty close to 4, which is a rough hour if you don’t happen to not be drinking, which no one else was). She grabbed the lapels of my jacket, leaned in close, and bellowed, “You have all the moves.” Shortly after this she fell over, which didn’t improve her chances much. She was cute, though.

Best happy line, by contrast, was in my Junior year at college.

I had met this girl and fallen in love on the spot, and we spent a number of months dancing the just-friends dance (argh) and I was getting pretty pushy about not being just-friends any more because I had a vision, see. (This has also been a sort of motif with me, generally with wonderful results, recent days excluded.) We were at this party and we’d had a bit of a spat on the predictable topic so we were steering a little clear of each other. We were now on the “I like you too much to date you” part of the program, and I was pointing out how silly that was and she wasn’t buying. So it was a rough evening, and neither of us was being very graceful about it.

There was a bowl of hard candy on the table, and she was sitting in the window talking to someone and watching me, and I was talking to someone and pretending not to watch her. After a while of this she picked up a piece of the candy, unwrapped it, held it in her teeth, and came over and tapped me on the shoulder. She pointed to the candy in her lips.

“Want some?” she said.

2 Responses to “[INLINE]”

  1. jamelah Says:

    Hey… thanks for the mention. I don’t know why, but I only seem to be able to remember the awful and/or irritating lines. Never the good ones.

  2. Linus Says:

    Well, that was a particularly memorable line, which led to a particularly memorable year, so it’s easy to remember. Plus it’s so short.

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