Our table was rickety and despite no longer being able to drink coffee myself, I felt a huge amount of responsibility for the quality of the coffee he was drinking. I’m still at the stage where I need to justify my lack of coffee drinking, as if people would judge me for drinking tea. I delight in telling people about my ulcer. The first thing I said to him after saying hello was to tell him about my ulcer. I assume people judge me for drinking tea, because I used to be that person who judges people for drinking tea. Anyway, I have no idea if his coffee was any good, but he drank it down within the first five minutes of us sitting down. My tea was tea. His name is Matt, and he had the dubious honour of being the official start to my project, being the first to leave the sweaty anonymity of the internet’s cocoon and explode into becoming a real person. Or more specifically, catching the train up from Shellharbour and meeting me out the front of Kinokuniya bookstore in Sydney.
Matt was polite and friendly and said about two words for every ten of mine. I think this is because as we sat down, I pulled out notepads and pens, and the notepad had lists of questions and a checklist for me to tick off and he looked at them and laughed a bit, and I told him that I tend to over-prepare. He said ‘at least you’re not recording me!’ and I answered with ‘actually, could I?’ and attached a special microphone to my iPhone when he agreed. I don’t know why, but I’d set this out like it was an interview, like I was wearing my best shoulderpads and I was trying to find out the scoop. “Hey Jimmy, what’s the skinny with being a dude from the internet, c’mon, give me a ‘sclusie, I love ‘sclusie, what’s the 411, the lowdown.” I realise now that I was not putting him at ease.
When someone is ill-at-ease, the best thing to do is to talk really fast and animatedly, in the manner of a person trying to convince themselves that they are not covered in bees by repeating the line ‘I am not covered in bees’ a thousand times. I asked questions that had fifteen minute setups, and I would then answer them myself. I asked him a lot of facts. I don’t know why I asked him a lot of facts. I didn’t realise that I was being a weird list-freak until the end, but you know, there’s a fucking reason I have this goddamn ulcer, you know?
(I am going to write more about meeting Matt, btw, I just had to get this off my chest)