Everyone recognizes that my book deal is significant, except for my mom. She said it sounded “neat.” I’m not sure if she knows what a book deal is. That it’s a hard thing to get. For most people.
For me, it just fell into my lap. I knew a guy, that was it. I didn’t knock on a million doors for this. But I still congratulate myself as if I did.
And I have proud thoughts such as: hey man, see, life will work out. God will give you your dream, your hard work will pay dividends, and brilliant joy will be yours. As long as you’re white.
Jesus. I’m getting pretty cocky over what will just be a travel book. Cocky that someone, anyone!, who works in an office has told me that I don’t suck.
They’re lying. It’s all business. They just need a semi-literate ape who’s willing to only use chopsticks for a year and sign a lowball deal in exchange for his name going on something.
And with me, they got it. I’m a millennial; I would rather have attention than income. I spent three days working on the Facebook status. And now I keep re-reading the list of people who liked it. People from high school. Allison and Erin who both married other dudes and had kids. Now everyone knows. They were wrong about me!
Besides that guy from high school who was like 5th employee Uber ever hired or something, I’m now the most successful person from my class. But come drive through Hampton, NH and you’ll see why. Not a lot of sunlight, jobs, or teeth.
I’m single again. Although that hasn’t stopped me and the ex from fucking three times, including once on the glass tabletop in the kitchen. I just noticed we haven’t wiped up the sweat smears yet.
Tomorrow I move into a 5th floor room with a busted AC in a house filled with seven other rootless wanderers. $180 for the month. In September, I go to Saigon. She’ll keep the apartment. Have Couchsurfers keep her company. I’d rather not describe the composition of the emotional cocktail my brain has been marinating in since the breakup, but I do know these things:
- I don’t want this to be ugly.
- I want her to win.
- This is the kind of thing where even though she’s going to fuck other guys, she’ll still always be mine.
She’s afraid I’m going to go fuck everyone I can now. Well. don’t worry love. The women of the world have not been waiting for this day. They’ve all been too busy fucking. And not guys like me. I’m traditionally handsome. But every girl now only wants to fuck guys who look like they live in caves. Topknots and pale inbred visages. No longer do they respect a precisely-tailored suit and a visible bicep vein. The sloths now rule. The world changed while I was away. She’ll find dudes, I will find no one.
Friday night my friends wanted to go to this bar that’s out in the woods by an ancient Confucian graveyard. I had to give this girl a ride on my motorbike and she weighed more than me. The springs under the seat kept giving out and I was paranoid about the tires. She dropped a hint like an anvil: “my boyfriend and I are open.”
Later on as we all ate at the flower market she told me to check my white male privilege because I said something about not being turned on by lesbian porn. That made me angry. And I’m still not even sure what it meant. The world changed while I was away. I’m old and white and I don’t know how to connect. It’s enough to make a man vote Trump.
The next night I went out for an hour. I spent thirty minutes of it in the club bathroom flushing out of my eye after a drunk girl threw glitter in it. The other thirty minutes I drank on the stage by the speakers while a Vietnamese club rat with huge cheeks hit on me. I wanted to leave, but I felt like I had to stay at least an hour, so the night felt like something.
“What do you do?” she asked.
Hey! I thought. You’ve been waiting for this. Now you can say it.
“I’m a writer.”
“Wait, so that’s your job?”
“Wow, that’s awesome.”
And she meant it. I think.
The world changed while I was away. Everything that used to be cool is now shit. Everything except the thing I love the most.