Submitted by megan on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 21:43
After work today, I went to meet Jennifer at the Usual Spot. I was pretty excited, because I hadn't seen Jennifer in ages* and because I also hadn't eaten the very good food there in ages and ages* and because I was going early, which meant I would be home early, which meant I could get a lot of writing done.***
Now, the Usual Spot used to be my very usual spot, like usual 3 or 4 times a week usual. And it's a hang out for a few overlapping extended social circles.
When I walked in and saw Ian, I wasn't surprised. Ian's someone I know from my former life. Though he's a bureaucrat now, I know him because he's a musician, used to be full time teaching and in jazz bands; my ex, Mike, loved him. And no wonder. I can't vouch for Ian's technical prowess on the sax, but he's a lovely and kind man. I'm always pleased to see him.
Tonight he was with a couple of co-workers who were too wrapped up in the Specials Board for introductions. He and I passed the time amicably, talking about his new contract, my writing, whatever else.
The door kept opening, a draft across my neck. I kept turning, looking for Jennifer. It was other people, poking their heads in, counting those of us in line, twisting their mouths in resignation and leaving again. Several times.
And then two large men opened the door and stayed.
The face of the one on the left clicked me back a few years. Shit, I thought, he's That Guy. Drummer. Practices. In my basement. Empiricals? Yes. Ro? Ru?
Ian did the polite thing. "You all know each other?"
That Guy and I looked hard at each other. Click. "Ross, yes," I shook his hand. "It's Megan."
"I remember." He smiled.
Ian turned to me. "So you know Michael."
I turned to Michael, expecting the same click. But I did not, in fact, know Michael. He and I both raised our eyebrows and shook our heads slightly.
Their small talk continued around me.
"You're still with [redacted], Ian?"
"Yep, not in the [redacted] department any more, though. Getting to know the poets now."
"Nice, nice," Ross said. I'm not sure if he meant it or not.
"Hey," Michael piped in. "Megan just found out she'll be working with [forgotten]!"
"Really? Wow, that's--"
"Umm, Megan? As in Megan Jerome? As in Mike and Megan?"
Michael looked perplexed, but Ian got what I meant, I could see his laugh in my peripheral vision.
When I was dating a Mike, we always got a kick out of, and were sometimes confused for, this other indie-rock Mike and Megan. When Mike and I broke up, I occasionally wondered how the other Mike and Megan were faring.
I started to explain this when Ross threw up his hands.
"Alright! We've all slept together. That's it! Let's just admit it. Face it, we're in a small city and we've all been to bed together."
It's the most succinct description of Ottawa I've heard in a while.
Ross turned to Michael. "Except for us and this George guy. Let's go find him."
They wandered off to find their dining companion. Ian and his crowd were seated. I turned to pick up the paper, smiled back at the man on the banquette.
*Translation: Approximately 10 days.
**Translation: Approximately 1 month.
***Translation: Fuck around on the Internet and avoid writing by accomplishing some of the items on the house list that have been listed for months. Possibly go to bed at 9:45.