Carrboro. You, with your thigh tattoos, low-slung buildings, black-rimmed glasses, social consciousness, civic engagement, threadbare Keds, fearfully aggressive pedestrians, hula hoops, high-waisted jeans, midtempo rock, humanely processed coffee, goddamned face-painting and disquieting professorial air.
Me, CVS pharmacy, with my lusty, fluorescent glow, sliding glass doors, sun-baked pavement, condom racks, gossip mags, $5.99 Aerosmith and Pointer Sisters compact discs, overpriced Coors Light and post-Valentine's Day candy markdowns.
The first time we met, you and I shared a craft IPA. It tasted like shit, but I drank it anyway. You scowled the ENTIRE time and slouched in your seat. But perhaps, that's what I find so enticing about you. You're mysterious, young and gloweringly hip.
Then we had that furtive late-night booty call. Weaver Street Market is closed, you said. I just want some potato chips and beer, you said. No, I don't have Shiner Bock, I said. Fine, you said, I'll drink Bud Light. Fine, I said. I'm not too proud. I can take it. I'm fine with this arrangement. Need anything else? Got bumps, bruises, warts, welps, measles, mumps, reflux, rash? I got it. I can be your sloppy pharmaceutical seconds. Got your Extra Care card? No, not your Rite Aid card. It's OK. Wait, don't forget your coupons. Save $1 if you buy more than $10 worth of toilet paper. See ya.
But a funny thing happened after you left. I missed you. "Time in a Bottle" came on the radio. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I wanted more. My heart shed a tear. You exiled me to skulk about beneath the Harris Teeter. But now I want more. If I'm your partner, say I'm your partner. Proclaim it. Let me stand up in plain view, arm in arm, on the corner.
That one, that corner right there. You're not using it anyway. That building looks like a petrified turd. If a building could get rigor mortis, it would look like that one. If a building could look like Michelle Pfeiffer at the end of Scarface—when the drugs, the 1980s and marital discord finally took their toll—it would look like that one.
Let me get rid of that building for you. Let me put a big sign right there, one with scrolling text. Half-off Coca-Cola products and deodorant, it will say. Hey! Don't leave. Relax. Let me rub your neck. Have another rye ale. Everything's fine. Shhhhhh. Hey, isn't this your favorite Elliott Smith song? Yes, soothing. Let me have 100 parking spaces. No! Wait!
It's fine. Go, but don't pretend you're too good for me. You let Wendy stand on the corner and she smells like burnt meat products. It's fine. Your friend Chapel Hill isn't so snooty. And either way, you'll be back. I know you will. In the desperate wee hours of the morning when you have a persistent headache or an aching desire for Pringles. See you at 11:30 on Sunday night. Snack-sized Frito Lay's for $1.99.
*do not contact me with unsolicited services or offers.