Thursday, November 30, 2006

His name was Kris with a K, he wrote his name on the back of my Friends & Family 20% off coupon card.

Wrote it with a K.

In blue ballpoint pen in the top left corner of the letter-sized card. His phone number too.

Kris was talking about Tampa. Clearwater to be precise.

"I've heard of it."

His eyes widened. "You have?"

"I have."

Now he's tellin' me how he moved here from there, onto 9th Avenue. S'OK but he wishes there was a subway.

"Eh, someday."


"Well no."

On the East Side, maybe.

And about how now he sees Clearwater everywhere.

"I'll look at something and somewhere, somehow in the fine print. It says Clearwater, Florida."

I nodded and smiled and said yes, that's what –

"And across the street from me there's this bar. And two of the bartenders are from Clearwater!"

"That's very strange."

"I go out, there's a group of people. Someone's from Tampa."

"Yes – that's bizarre."

"And then there's these other people who come up and are like, did you say you're from Tampa? We're from Clearwater."

"Maybe they're all fleeing," I volunteered.

"Date of birth?"

Kris was entering my data. I was taking the two-week trial at the New York Sports Club and here he was with the plans and such. He handed me my temporary magnetized card. A suspiciously portentous temporary card. Suggestive of lifetimes of recurring fees, referrals, costly training regimens undertaken in fits and starts.

"There you go!"

"Great. Nice to meet you," I said. I extended my hand.

"Not a problem at all – you too. To you too."

"OK. When I'm ready to – "

"Come see me – "

"I will."

"Have a good swim."

"Alright, man."