Flashing #34: Monolgue

Thursday, May 07, 2009

First of all, I have an article up on the Flash Fiction Chronichles. Please go check it out. Comment, link it, etc.

Ok, so, today's piece is pretty self-explanatory. A monologue version of the original memoir. Nothing more to say, if you want some more Flashing check out the main page.

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I hate starting this whole thing with a cliché so let me just qualify this – this isn’t me talking. I mean…it’s me…talking…but it’s me just repeating what other people always say. It’s important that you realize this, because it’ll be impossible to hold your attention for the next five minutes if you think I’m some generic, cliché-dependent, middle-management type. I don’t normally use clichés. I don’t say things like “no good deed goes unpunished” or “monkey see, money do” or “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” But just because I don’t use clichés doesn’t mean other people don’t use clichés… 

Anyway… 

People say that the grass is always greener on the other side. I guess what they mean by that is that no-matter how good your life is, someone else’s life will always looks better. I’m not going to lie to you; I bought into this particular cliché for quite some time. I guess I was one of those guys who always felt like there was something missing from my life. In the interest of full-disclosure, here’s a quick summary of my life up until April of last year… 

I was a good student and a good son. Never got into trouble, always got good grades. I had my fair share of alcohol and experimented with a couple of drugs in high school but this is Brooklyn we’re talking about – in Brooklyn I was still a fucking boy scout. I had sex with only one person before college and it wasn’t because I was a nerd. I was on the football team for fucks sake. 

College wasn’t much different, either. I had a steady girlfriend for the first two years and missed out on a lot of the supposed “freshman experience.” And even though I was single throughout Junior year I only hooked up with one person and it was…odd. Now I did hook up with the theater during my junior year. I started acting, writing, and directing and I was happy – I really was – but I wasn’t wild and, you know, the grass is always greener etc, etc, etc. 

And then I met Robin. And we dated and we fell in love and I moved to DC and she came with me and we’ve been together for ten years. We’re getting married next month, in fact. Robin had a different experience than me. She kind of veered towards that other side of the grass. The greener side. We’d talk about it from time to time and she’d assure me that my grass was much greener and this thing we have, it’s what she always wanted. I kind of “yeah yeahed” and tried to figure out some way to bring her into a hot threesome. Never worked. 

So that takes me to last April. My job was sending me on a trip to Munich and I decided to go up a couple of days early. If there was any part of the other people’s grass that always looked the greenest it was the European adventures. The back-packing and the train riding and the meeting of fellow travelers and the getting piss drunk and the making of mistakes. That was one lawn I’ve always regretted not walking on and there was a little voice in the back of my head that convinced me that this trip to Germany was my chance to at least get a taste of that lawn. 

I think you know how this story ends but let me spell it out for you anyway. 

I spend a day walking around Munich experiencing every friggin’ beer garden I come across. I sit at these massive tables by myself because every other table is stacked with groups of people who know each other or couples sharing a beer together. I was kind of bummed out; thinking the solo-traveler in Europe thing isn’t for a guy like me. 

But that first night…I partied. I stumbled into some local bar, started getting hammered by myself, and met up with some locals who wanted to practice their English. We talked all night and into the early morning – leaving the bar at around 6AM. I made up a whole new identity for myself, it evolved as the evening went on, and our little crew of people grew throughout the night. I was drinking and flirting and smoking and doing everything I shouldn’t be doing and it felt great. 

This grass, over here, it really was greener. 

And then there was day two. I met up with my new German friends and we went to a karaoke joint. The English was kept to a minimum; the people I was with spoke a lot of German amongst themselves. I sang some songs but no-one really seemed to care. I mean, seriously, I was up there signing and jiving some James Brown and got nothing. Not a clap. Some pail and frail guy does Phantom of the Opera, though, and the place goes nuts. As the night went on, the more detached I become from my group. 

And then it wall went to hell as I was leaving. Various people in the bar started shouting sarcastic chants of “USA” and “God bless Bush” as I exited the bar. I didn’t look back; I quickly made my way to the hotel and thought of Robin the entire time. This is what she said this grass was like. Fair-weather friends and disappointment, this grass has the potential to be shit. 

I had some great grass back home. I take good care of it. I keep the neighbor’s kids off of it; chase them with a baseball bat or something if I have to. I’ve been working on this grass for ten years, I’m happy with it everyday, and I don’t think there’s any other grass out there I’d rather be on. 

I called Robin when I got back to the hotel. We talked for an hour.

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