I Meet Myself
IN better days, with many another swain, I used to telephone some fortunate young lady of an evening and make what is called a ‘date.’ But with the advent of the lean years I was forced to change my habits. The frequency of these nocturnal conversations became less and less until I began to look about me for some other recreation. It was hard at first; there seemed to be no way of climbing from the rut. Only after weeks of melancholy brooding was I able to arrive at the solution that has since occasioned me so much pleasure and satisfaction.
In short, I hit upon the idea of taking myself out. The utter simplicity of the thing stunned me for a moment, but from the first it was a delightful experience. I commenced by inviting myself to dinner one quiet winter night. Wishing to make a good first impression, I dressed with more care than usual. There was no trouble at all in deciding where to go, and I picked one of those intimate little spots where we could be alone and just sit and talk things over and get acquainted. During the course of a delicious meal we expanded and discovered quite a few things about each other we had n’t known before. We had a most gratifying evening. Nothing boisterous, you understand — just a quiet, old-fashioned good time. We agreed to do it again.
I rapidly became absorbed in this unique companionship. Several days after the first experience I asked myself to the theatre, and the invitation was accepted immediately. Our tastes seemed to be the same, for we had no difficulty in selecting a play that suited us both — one that was stimulating and yet would not require too much discussion afterward. I spent a most fortunate evening, my thoughts running smoothly and freely, at times soaring to undreamt-of heights, at others probing the inner depths of consciousness with the most charming results. We stopped for a bite to eat and found that we liked waffles and black coffee, and that tomatoes disagreed with us.
Soon we were seen everywhere together. I could go twice as many places within the allotted expenditure and was pleased with the society of my new-found friend. There was never a subject on which we did not agree, from Wagner to jig-saw puzzles. There was never an argument as to what we should do, or when. A remarkable part of the association was that, no matter how late one of us happened to be for an appointment, the other invariably arrived at the same time. This became a joke between us and never failed to start the evening off in the right manner.
We often did unusual things, and I have taken myself upon many an enjoyable adventure. Coney Island in winter, Eddie Cantor’s birthplace, the Fulton Fish Market — all these we saw and many more. Frequently I dressed as carefully as a bridegroom and read to myself for hours. Sometimes it was a novel, sometimes poetry, and once the telephone book, all of which we enjoyed.
Of course we could n’t go to dances, but this was not really a disappointment, because we agreed that dancing was a rather stupid pastime. In fact, after we had mulled it over, we perceived how ridiculous two persons could be, making aimless little movements and gyrations of the body; old gentlemen attempting to look young, young gentlemen attempting to look old, and the in-betweens trying to look bored. We banished the subject from our thoughts.
There were one or two minor embarrassments attendant upon our relationship, especially at first. I remember a certain hostess asking me to escort one of her guests home — me trying to explain that I should have enough trouble taking myself home, and attempting to show her just what the situation was. Somehow she was not convinced and kept looking at me quizzically out of the corner of her eyes. She has not spoken to me since. There have been other incidents, but on the whole our relations have been entirely successful.
No doubt a more fertile brain than mine could invent other exciting things to do, but I am content with working on an expansion of this same theme. The idea has infinite possibilities. For instance, I am just now trying to think up a way to induce myself to take me out.