“The orange juice in a mimosa is not considered a serving of fruit! You need to eat something!” said my girlfriend with whom I was drinking what was supposed to be my first meal in two days.
“I have some soup I just made, no gluten at all in it,” said the cook from behind the bar. “Chicken vegetable. That’ll cure ya.”
I slurped a couple of bites and called it lunch. “Let’s just go to the pool,” I told my girlfriend.
A couple of other folks who worked in the biz were lounging poolside and playing “Name that Tune and Artist” as the bartender switched the satellite radio through random decades of music. My girlfriend won every time thereafter. A mini dance party ensued as we hopped around waist deep in the chilled pool. “Keys water aerobics!” laughed my girlfriend.
A comfortable bond formed between us while we continued to sip mimosas and beer and enjoy our few hours before each of us had to work that evening.
“What is the dumbest question you’ve ever been asked by a customer?” asked a guy who’s working at three restaurants.
“How many miles is it between mile markers?” said one of the girls. We howled.
“Or, my favorite,” I said, “Where are the rest of the Keys?”
“Followed only by ‘Are we in the Keys yet?’ when I worked north,” added a bartender who was enjoying his first day off in ten days.
“Did you ask them if they’d passed through Homestead yet and tell them that was the Keys?” I laughed.
“Oh, another one: “Does water go all around the Keys?” said the bartender.
“And, ‘Where’s the brackish water?’” laughed the other guy. “I tell ’em ‘Over there is the Bay side and that’s the fresh water. Over there is the ocean side and that’s the salt water. Underneath the bridges you crossed? That’s where they mix and become the brackish water.”
“Oh no! I have the best,” said another girl. “How many bridges are there in the Keys and which one do I take to get back to Miami?”
“I hope you told them to take a right off the main road, then a left, and then take the tunnel,” laughed the bartender.
“There’s always the ‘Is the fish fresh?’ question,” added my girlfriend. We all nodded and smiled. One by one, we went back to reading magazines, floating on rafts, and just lounging.
As the third mimosa kicked in on my grumbling stomach, and my mind wandered beyond the palm trees and the sound of the waterfall, I relived an entire story about stupidity:
“Will you be my girl? Just mine?” he asked, kissing her at the bar. “I really like you.”
“Of course,” she smiled, feeling warm and happy. They had been dating for several weeks and known each other for months. This was good. This was nice.
And the next night, as he wrapped his arms around her in front of all their friends and whispered he couldn’t wait to get back to her house, she allowed herself a moment of relief that all was so good, for once.
When they walked in the front door, they had not taken three steps when he turned and said, “I have something I really need to tell you.”
She panicked, but only a little.
“I’m just not feeling it. Not feeling the spark,” he told her.
She was sure she’d misheard. Hadn’t he just declared her his girl? Hadn’t he just kissed her and not let go of her for even a second when they were out with friends–as he had done every time they were out for the past few weeks?
“But then why…” she began. “I mean, didn’t you just ask me…”
“I know, I tried,” he said. “I really did. But it’s not happening for me.”
Tried? If you have to try, why bother to pursue? Tried? What, maybe hoping for some benefits along the way? Tried? Tried? You never felt the way you said you did? Really? But why would you….
Oh. Right. Stupid people are such easy marks upon whom to foist our laughter, our arrogance, our wicked delight in being one up on them.
How stupid can I be?