At at drinks thing on Saturday night, I wound up sitting at a table with a guy named JP, whom I’d met before, and a stranger in a knit cap. Knit Cap had a sort of interesting nervous energy about him. He seemed like he might be a writer, or an academic, or some other professional neurotic. Just as I was in the middle of writing my own story about his background, he reached into his bag and hauled out a thermos.
“Which one is my pint?” he asked JP.
“Thanks.” He poured a little of something coffee-colored into the thermos top, as if measuring it, and then poured it into the glass.
“What is that?” I asked him. I figured he’d brought his own booze or something.
He furrowed his brow in concentration and produced two or three packets of something, which he tour open and dropped into the glass. “It’s chai,” he said. “And some other herbs.”
I picked up the empty thermos top and sniffed it. “Ginger?”
“Among other things. I realized, when I left the house today, that I hadn’t had my chai today.” The look on his face said clearly that a health disaster of major proportions had been averted.
I stared at him. JP stared at him. Then — I blame the beer — I grinned hugely and proclaimed, “You’re really WEIRD!”
Knit Cap, to his credit, smiled back.
“No, I mean it!” I said. (Sometimes, when I get started, it’s really hard to stop.) “That is so, so weird. You know that right? To bring a non-alcoholic health beverage to a bar and drink it out of a pint glass?”
“Yes,” he said, still smiling. “I guess I do know that.”
“That’s awesome. You are totally and completely weird.” I paused. “I really like you!”
Now we were all sitting there beaming at each other, like converts at the pivotal cult meeting, the one where we all decided to change our names and start wearing the same outfits.
“It is weird,” JP said. “I was totally thinking that, but I never would have said it.”
Every party needs a blabber, that’s why they invited me.