The more I think about, the more I believe I shall never meet another person as willfully, cluelessly rude as the man I met last night in
Muteki Mario Star Club.
We arrived at the small video game bar in Shinjuku as a group of 8 and found that most of the seats were taken. As Kyle negotiated with the bartender (owner?) I got stuck standing in front of this American man who was sitting on the couch next to the window. He looked not just drunk but Drunk, maybe even stoned. Scratch that, stoned people are friendly.
His very first interaction with me was to touch my stomach. Who does that, as a greeting? He told me to sit down in the zero available seats. I nodded because that was my intention: as soon as I have a seat, I will be sitting in it.
"Where are you from?" he asked, his face so tired it was as if he was bored by answer before I gave it.
"I’m from Osaka." is my usual answer to this question, because that is where I live now. This makes Japanese people laugh. He did not laugh.
"Where are you FROM?" he repeated, aggressively. Were there any space to evacuate to, this was the moment I would have seated myself far, far away from this jerk. But there was nowhere to go, nowhere to sit.
"Originally? New York." I remember looking away from him as best I could, hoping he would understand our conversation, now and forever, was over. He didn’t.
"What part of New York?"
"New York City."
"What part of New York City?" JESUS, are we really doing this? Keep in mind that with each question he asked, his voice grew more impatient. Sorry random guy, I didn’t realize I was supposed to introduce myself with my former address. I really didn’t want to get into the whole "grew up in the suburbs" thing, so I went with the last place in New York I lived: my father’s apartment.
"I guess it’s called Turtle Bay?" I said, legitimately unsure if my dad’s place was officially within that neighborhood or not.
"What part of New York?" he repeated after making a face that told me he had no idea what Turtle Bay was.
"The East side. Mid-50s." I was worried he would ask again, because the next words out of my mouth would surely have been profane. Thankfully, I found a seat (near him, sadly) and he became distracted by Kat. I wasn’t eavesdropping but I think he started hitting on her.
(Kat: I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.)
Once I had a seat I could face away from him, which brought our
conversation interrogation to an end. But there was an epilogue.
I sat facing the screen, drinking a Screwdriver, eating bar snacks, watching my friends playing Punch-Out. He was standing up near me and I noticed he was reaching for my right breast. What. The. Fuck.
I don’t remember how I stopped him because I didn’t touch him. Maybe I just glared?
"Do you have a lighter?" he asked, not acknowledging how he almost groped me for no reason.
"No." I said, in my best possible "leave me alone" voice.
He said something else that I couldn’t understand, something about “you look like…”
"I’m sorry?" I asked in exactly the way you ask when you don’t want to hear another word from a person.
"Nevermind." He left shortly after that.
When I left, I saw his card on the table. He had given it to Kat and she had left it behind, purposefully. It said he’s a “financial advisor” so presumably he makes a lot more money than me. Great.
The reason I can’t put this out of my mind is that I’m positive, from his perspective, I was the evasive asshole who didn’t warmly receive his questions with a smile and precise answers. Indeed, our entire group was a bunch of jerks for not seeing him as a friend we hadn’t met yet.
And that bums me out, because I like making friends. Maybe that guy is cool when he’s not drowning in beer, but I’ll never know. And he’ll never know me.