Posted by Aaron Schwartzbard

insideShe raised her eyebrows toward the middle of her forehead. This, he knew, was to express an emotion that was composed of 40% concern and 60% skepticism. It seemed to him that she was unable to experience simple feelings. Not that she was unable to experience feelings—rather, her feelings always seemed to be some unnamed composite of named emotions. Until he met her, had he thought about it, he would have believed himself to be a sort of emotional genius, being able to distinguish between even subtle variations of happiness and joy, or sadness, sorrow and despair. But she… She lived her life like a master chef seasoning each moment with a unique blend emotional herbs and spices. His emotional palate had expanded in the months they had been together. And in this dish, he could distinguish concern and skepticism.

Had she been with her girlfriends, the look would have been enough. They would have known what she meant. But in her brain, in her overly-developed frontal lobe, a signal emerged to notify other areas of her mind that there was a non-negligible chance that he had missed the entire meaning of the look she threw his way, and this issue was far too important for her to risk failing to convey her passionately held view. Her language center was first to respond, producing the words in just such a tone that he would have been unable to miss their deeper meaning. “You mean, at that gas station where you can get food?”

“No,” he said, perhaps a shade too pointedly. He was aiming at 65% flippant, 25% sincere and 10% firmly resolved. He suddenly feared that he lacked the fine vocal control to accomplish such a technical maneuver, and that he had overshot the “firmly resolved”. He pulled back for the briefest moment to regroup before continuing. “I mean, at that eating establishment where you can refuel your car.”



  • Martha
    March 30, 2011 - 5:25 pm | Permalink

    I love your Sheetz story, but please confirm that it is pure fiction. My entire universe is premised on a highly empirically supported framework that men (particularly ultra runners) understand nothing about women unless they are beat over the head with it — there is no such thing as subtle communication. Personally I have managed to avoid eating at non-preferred establishments with useful phrases like ‘No Fucking Way!’

  • February 24, 2015 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    You, and your lady. I think I am in love with the both of you.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *