I love the line in Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club about single-serving friends. You meet someone and connect but it’s a fleeting moment with no intention on continuing once the moment passes. It’s on an airplane, in line at the grocery store but you’ll never meet again and for that brief period of time, it’s nice. One serving and done. Another fun line from that book was, have you ever ridden a toilet backwards and pretended it was a motorcycle? I don’t know why my brain holds onto those pieces of info and anything of substance evaporates.
I met a single-serving friend at the Apple Store, a woman I could obviously tell was rich–glossy lipsticked, leather-bag (a real one, not the Coach one my mom got me that really said COUCH) plus we were at an Apple store and not where I normally am which is a grocery store dumpster.
But does it matter, Mona? Yes but only because I am hyper-aware and immediately self-conscious and this is all on me, a shell of a human being powered only by self-doubt and murderous envy and the memory of one time when my hair looked shiny in 1996. When a stranger is nice to me, I immediately question it. Like, why are you doing what you are doing?
The place was packed for a Friday afternoon and I had to swap out my still under-warranty iPhone 6 for a new one because I couldn’t listen to music without cranking it up to the highest levels. So I guess that’s why I stopped working out! See also: laziness.
I sat next to a woman at the Genius Bar table. I spied the open laptop in front of her and noticed she had checked in 30 minutes ago. So I asked if she had been there for 30 minutes and she said no and smiled at me, probably because it was a courtesy laptop that anyone could use while they were stuck in the land of misfit iPhones.
And then we filled in the time waiting for our appointments to begin, our conversation moved from what brought us there (her broken screen) to motherhood, to kids, to how we can never have nice things, to how neither of us believe moms who say their kids never fight. It was nice to talk to someone, another mom, another woman, another person who probably has a hugely different life and circumstances (her dog goes to a spa!) but was kind enough to me for an afternoon to commiserate and kvetch about our lives outside the Apple Store.
Her husband came in and took hold of the laptop without asking if I was using it or if anyone else was using it. The two of them started talking about her iPhone problem and she pointed to mine and said, “What if I get something like hers?”
And my life lit up because I had something that someone wanted! Me! A trendsetter! Which has never happened. The only thing I have that anyone wants is the money in my wallet and those fans are my kids.
I spoke highly about my iPhone 6 and its 128 gigs of memory. I bought it right before I went to Saipan last year and I wanted to take videos, make movies, and capture everything without figuring out which version of Angry Birds I’ll have to delete to make room.
“I really bought this,” I said slowly, “because of my kids. How many photos do you take of your kids?”
“Tons!” she exclaimed.
“Yep! Me, too. Now I can take a 10-minute video of their performance and I don’t worry at all.” Do I do anything with it? No! But I have it!
My pitch was enough to convince this lovely woman to convince her husband to buy her a new phone. A man who probably makes decisions a lot–buy, sell, buy, sell–and whatever decisions people with money get to make when I have to figure out how I’m going to fill up this $25 order minimum because I want beef with broccoli but I guess I’ll have to just get the whole buffet because I am bad at life.
I feel like I navigate my life mostly as an empty shell needing to be filled with Real Housewives recaps, Terry Gross’s NPR voice, vodka, the sounds of my kids laughing, the sounds of a comedy club laughing at my jokes and whatever love language is just tacos. I hope one of the love languages is tacos. I don’t even want to read about the other four.
But for one afternoon, I had a fun conversation with another woman and later that day, when she and her husband drove to pick up their kids from school, she had a new toy to share with them–an act that I do all the time.