Thursday, September 25, 2008

Something to Think About When You're Killing Time Until Happy Hour

So there’s a guy in a bar at Christmas-time, he was just laid off, treacly holiday music is playing and he’s writing, really gnawing on a pen, and a woman walks in, orders a vodka soda, and pulls out a manuscript and the guy is intrigued but doesn’t want to pry, doesn’t want to be the guy that chats up a woman at a bar. However, he goes on to write a story about sitting at a bar writing and seeing a woman come in and start reading a manuscript, only in the story the man does intrude and the woman turns out to be a publisher and lo it was the guy’s last day on the job so he had taken the opportunity to print up a bunch of his shit (what are they gonna do, fire him?), and he passes it off to her and she reads it and likes it and she publishes it and it makes tons of money and the two fall in love and buy a townhouse on Fifth Avenue and the man writes one highly acclaimed novel after another and some of them are turned into films so they hobnob with movie stars and are impossibly stylish. And, in this story, this fiction, which this man creates, there’s a happy ending because it’s a happy story that Nora Ephron would make into a movie, she doesn’t, not really. It does; however, get published by some small press in Seattle.

In the book, though, the woman who walked into the bar and is, of course, a fiction, was based on a real person, and that real person happens to read the book, because she’s the kind of person that reads unsuccessful books put out by small Seattle publishers. So she sees, she understands that she was the basis for that character. Obviously, she’s not a hotshot New York publisher. She’s just a schoolteacher who was grading papers. She was home in Seattle for the holidays and there was a constant stream of terribly treacly Christmas music the entire time when they were there, which, when it came right down to it, was only about half an hour. Half an hour two people sat in the same bar writing and drinking, but the one writer wrote something that became known and in it becoming known that woman at that bar, the model upon which the writer based his fantasy, came to know it, too. So, she tried to track down the writer who wasn’t really married to a publisher, obviously, as that was fiction. He was just a writer living in Seattle struggling to get by as people really weren’t buying his book. But the woman found him through the small press which was not in New York as his book might have led her to believe, but in a dingy office on Capitol Hill. So they met and they talked and then they dated and they went back to that bar on a Tuesday afternoon during Christmas-time and they kissed and it seemed as if they were going to live happily ever after.

Except the man at the bar just noticed as the real woman picked up her stack of papers that she’s reading a case file and she’s a lawyer and all that he’s accomplished is filling up a page with useless twaddle as he waited for it to be 4:00 so he could pay the three dollar happy hour price for his beer which just might have made the entire exercise worthwhile.

What schoolteacher would drink vodka sodas? Really, that whole story was unbelievable from the get-go.

No comments: