I was having a conversation with somebody I met last night and we were running through all the standard biographical interview questions: What do you do for work? Where are you from? How long have you lived in New York?
I tried to think of somewhere more interesting to take the conversation, so I asked her, What’s the last book you borrowed from a library?
After some thought, she answered Fahrenheit 451, which is actually kind of an interesting answer to a question about books, and the library was in Los Angeles, so we talked about New York versus L.A. for a while. A few moments later she excused herself to go to the bathroom, which I assume she did. Later I saw her sitting at another table.
An optimistic, healthy person would probably take the events at face value. Our conversation didn’t end on a cliff hanger; drifting from conversation to conversation is what people do in a bar.
However, my ability to over-narrate any situation is making me wonder: did my question, which honestly popped into my head from out of nowhere, make it seem like I was trying some kind of pickup artistry? Did she assume it came from a set of index cards that I was carrying in my pocket? Did she actually have to use the bathroom, or was it a polite excuse to end the conversation?
Last night I wasn’t thinking of any of this in terms of “meeting people” and relationships. It’s only in the morning after that my mind creates a pessimistic narrative around the facts. I feel like I’ve been falsely accused in a secret court which presumes my guilt and forbids me to testify at the proceedings. It is impossible to know if the court is real or exists only in my mind.