There’s a coffee shop on Main Street in Warrenton where I’ve taken to reading stories. Every now and then someone will sit at a table adjacent and hop on a Zoom call and for a time I lamented the lack of etiquette inherent to one-sided public conversations until I started doing it myself. If everyone jumped off a cliff, so would I. The last time I took a private call so publicly was over a decade ago in a FedEx on 14th Street. My casting for Find My First Love was nearing its final rounds. The production company had to make sure I was indeed crazy enough to seek love on a reality TV show but not so crazy the public exposure might cause irreparable damage to my psyche. In between brunch and evening shifts at the tapas restaurant down the street I connected over Skype to a screening therapist in Manhattan. “How do you feel about public humiliation?” he asked and I told him that would be just fine. I needed a break and it was either this or going out with a man from Craigslist who wanted to buy groceries for a confident and bossy woman. I guess I’m more the submissive type. The British producers wouldn’t feed me lines per se but they did their best to direct conversation. “Are you knackered? Perhaps it’s time you had a little sleep.” It took concentration to mirror their lines in an American accent.
My brother is always concerned whenever I say I worked at a tapas bar; apparently I pronounce it “topless.”