Pun, Forrest, Pun
Updated: Jul 2, 2020
“Large latte for Rick?”
I see what’s happened here, I thought to myself.
“I see what’s happened here,” I said, accidentally verbalising my thought.
The barista asked me what I meant, but I just took the coffee and told her not to worry about it. I was a bit breathless when I ordered my coffee, and I have a history of not pronouncing my E’s properly whenever I’m low on oxygen, so the spelling blunder may have been my fault anyway.
This gripping piece of action took place last week in London, capital of England and place to go to if you want to be reminded that life is essentially pointless. I was in London to meet my friend for this photoshoot thing, but I don’t want to go into that because the coffee shop yarn I’m about to spin offers more twists and turns and growth and laughter.
Before I ended up in Starbucks, I met my friend at Oxford Street. She was late, so while I was waiting I got my phone out and checked dictionary.com to see what word of the day was. If I’m waiting, I’ve gotta be at least boosting my vocab.
When she arrived I told her that I was annoyed because she hadn’t been replying to my messages recently, and I thought she was ignoring me. She said that she wasn’t and that she’s just bad at replying to Facebook messages on her phone; I said that’s fair enough and asked her what the plan for the day was, but she didn’t hear me because she was replying to a Facebook message on her phone.
“What’s the plan?” I repeated.
“I told you earlier for God’s sake, I hate people who don’t listen.”
Suddenly I started running – my natural reaction to hypocrisy is to sprint away from it. I discovered this when my mum told me she didn’t like watching the news because it’s “depressing and devoid of hope”. Her words were like a starting pistol to me – in the time it would take her to say “please kill me now”, I was 30 metres away.
Fast forward fifteen minutes and after sprinting halfway across a city I barely know, I’m sat in Starbucks, drinking a coffee with someone else’s name on it. I’d never felt so anonymous in my life.
“I can reinvent myself here,” I thought. I can change: I can be confident and approachable and handsome and good at making memes – I’ll be a brand new person. From now on things are gonna start working out for me.
“Excuse me, do you mind if I sit next to you?”
I look up and I see a girl.
“Yeah sure,” I said, not believing what was happening.
We start talking. She tells me she’s 20 and a student and I can’t believe how similar we are. The more she was talking, the more nervous I was getting. I once read somewhere that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile, so when she was talking I didn’t know whether to smile and show her that I’m enjoying the conversation, or whether to frown and show her how motherfucking hench I am.
I start frowning, and I can see it’s working. She seems mesmerised by me. I grow in confidence and I start telling her about my life. I tell her about how I’ve started sprinting away from hypocrisy and that some people think it’s proper weird but hey that’s just me baby. She says it’s not weird and that she has similar thing: she says for 3 years now she’s been triple jumping away from bigots.
“This is my soulmate,” I thought and also once again accidentally verbalised (#nofilter #hejustsayswhathethinks). I realised that I hadn’t asked what her name was and so I asked her. When she told me, I thought it was one of the strangest names I’d ever heard in my life, but it didn’t matter because I really fancied Mychances*.
We start talking some more and I tell her about my family and friends.
“They’re two of my favourite sitcoms,” I say.**
She belly laughs for 70 seconds at the greatest pun she’s ever heard, and when’s she’s done I tell her about my blood relatives and close acquaintances. I say my little brother is really annoying me at the moment because whenever he goes for a piss he doesn’t wash his hands. I call him a dirty little knobhead, but then I remember that that’s her future brother-in-law I’m talking about.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have besmirched him,” I say, apologising while also smashing dictionary.com word of the day out of the park and into the stratosphere.
My confidence was at its peak and I decide to go for it.
“Hey listen, can I ask you something? I’ve got this idea for a meme. It’s like it’ll be Donald Trump and I’ll Photoshop in some cheese… and like a cheese grater or whatever… and the caption will say ‘Make America Grate Again’… because like the slogan… like from the campaign.”
She doesn’t laugh and looks at me in disgust, but despite just dropping the mother of all bombs, I decided it’s now or never to ask her out.
“Anyway, I was wondering if I could get your number, and if maybe you’d be up for going out sometime?”
“Oh sorry,” She says. “I actually have a boyfriend.”
I feel sick. Immediately I get up and start sprinting. My brain’s reeling; I’m darting through the streets of London and it hits me. I’m running from myself. From my own hypocrisy. I go around trying to convey myself as someone who has morals; someone who cares about people; who’s not superficial. I tell myself that what I want from life is to find a connection with another person. All I actually want is a girlfriend that I can show off like a fucking prize, so she can validate my existence and show everybody that I’m worth something. I’m pathetic. I start vomiting but I don’t stop running.
I see my friend, she’s in the same spot I left her, tapping away on Facebook messenger. I stop.
“Let’s go, we’ve got to do this photoshoot thing.” She says, looking up.
She hadn’t even noticed that I’d left. I mean nothing in this world.
“Fair play,” I say.
Anyway, that’s about it.
*Like “my chances”. Like that’s her name. It’s a pun. I’m a punsmith.
** I wasn’t lying about being a punsmith mate.
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