I, like my dear friend Megan, find myself regularly acquiring an enemy for a day. A temporary adversary to mix it all up, found at coffee shops, on the street, in a tree. A stranger and I unexpectedly connecting for a single encounter, for a single story, for a single moment, singly.
Like at the pool hall, I was screwing around at a table when a worker came up and told me it was reserved for someone else. I told him when the people who had it booked came back I’d give it up willingly. But that wasn’t enough for this fella. We got into this argument, which to me was about injustice and inequality and the growing culture of an unwillingness to share. All he knows is it ended with me calling him a giant butt.
Then the next day I was going out to dinner at a half fancy restaurant downtown. They had a $16 valet, and with nowhere else to park, I decided to make use of the service. I should have been skeptical that he wasn’t at his post. I had to go in and ask about him, then wait by my car for him to show up. He eventually did, in a plain jacket that gave no indication of his being the valet. But he stared at me, so I handed over my keys and declared, “I trust you.” He said, “I trust you too.” So I went back inside. But then he came to my table. “Your car is dead.” It wasn’t, but I had to go back outside to show him how to turn it on. After that I walk in front of the car towards the restaurant. He jerked the car forward and hit me. Luckily I was ninjaic enough to do a barrel roll over the hood and managed to escape relatively unscathed. “Oh shit!” is all I heard him say as I hobbled away. After the meal, I went to retrieve my car from buddy. I hand him a $20 bill and he gives me my keys. Then he just stands there, assuming there’s no way I would want any change. An assumed 25% gratuity for hitting me with my own car. A random young man ran up to us holding snack size chip bags in each hand, yelling “These are all mine!” I paid no mind to him and stood my ground, waiting for my $4.00. He looked at me queerly, then reluctantly handed me the change. For an unknown reason I gave him a toonie back. Either way, my enemy for a day is had.
So these nemeses, they come and go, as we’ve been through. However, I have recently met my sworn arch enemy, the one who puts the others to shame. She is the girl who, instead of accepting the more sensible “One kale smoothie please”, forced me to say “I’ll have the kale-a-bunga.” out loud to complete my order. At first I thought she was only doing it because she was new, anticipating that our feud would be over soon. But during our next encounter she wouldn’t serve me until I said, with a little oomph, mind you, “Banana-ra-ma-ling-dong!”