“So I said, ‘strike indicator’? That sounds like bobber fishing to me buddy!”
You smile and nod politely as your friend talks up Chris, a 56 year old trout enthusiast. Chris’ wife sits next to him at the bar, occasionally putting a hand on his knee, eventually tugging on his shirt. She is listening to the bar owner, who you cannot hear, but whose tanned wrinkled skin, deep V-cut shirt, and large class ring suggest he used to be quite the charmer.
“Oh you’re from Miami? I almost went to U of M but then my parents said ‘you’re going to business school in Rhode Island’ — I was like, ‘whatever!’ — they said ‘here your essay is all taken care of’ — I mean, whatever right??”
You smile reflexively, but your raised eyebrows broadcast their own message. Chris excuses himself. Your friend takes a deep breath, he wasn’t expecting to be in networking mode, much less this close to closing time.
“You wanna get out of here?” he asks.
You reassure him it’s fine. “Do your thing.”
You went to grad school together, four years and two cities ago. You were both musicians, composers, artists. In the intervening time you picked up whatever odd jobs you could find while spending every spare dollar and minute clinging to various failing personal projects. You haven’t fully caught up on your friend’s life, but even the surface level details of his booming fishing business sound like objective, tangible success, a thing you have lost all hope of ever measuring.
Chris has returned, his wife has briefly escaped the bar owner’s attention. “So anyway we met here, turns out we live about 30 feet away from each other — which is perfect if you know what I mean, twice divorced. So what brings you here?”
Your spiel essentially boils down to a few key words: girlfriend, doctor, hospital, and the name of the upscale apartment building you live in. You mention no occupation or aspirations of your own. His reaction is as just as automatic and predictable, something along the lines of “Doctor huh? Now that’s a keeper!”
She is, indeed, a keeper. She is a beautiful, brilliant doctor, and the best at everything she does. Even the most minimal description of who she is and what she does, girlfriend-doctor, raises the eyebrows of twice divorced men. But there is one simple reason that she is, as they say, a keeper:
She unconditionally loves your neurotic ass.