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Friday, January 28, 2011

Some Call Him Beethoven, I Call Him Piano Man

I met Horace in an online chat room. I find it interesting that given the infiltration of the internet into our culture, the demands on our lives which prevent us from actually going out to meet people “the traditional way” coupled with general guardedness and mistrust that there is still an unnecessary stigma to meeting people online – even in January of 2009.
Horace had a greeting in his online profile that said “I’m boring”. I found this rather humorous and sent him a private message asking “what makes you so boring?”
His explanation was simple – that he didn’t like to go anywhere and he didn’t like to do anything. I told him that didn’t make him boring and so I set out to one-up him with how on Friday nights I like to stop off at Rick’s restaurant, pick up a fried shrimp dinner with French fries and a vanilla shake, go home, eat and the emerge from apartment on Monday morning to go to work.  “That’s pretty boring,” he replied.
Our initial e-conversation was quite lengthy. He told me that he was just a few months out of a long-term relationship and wasn’t looking to even chat with anyone in the room let alone meet up with them but for some reason he agreed to a face-to-face with me by the time we logged off for the night. Even more surprising was his offer to take the train from Boston to my apartment.
We met on a Saturday night. Horace, a classically trained pianist who taught at a music school as well as private lessons out of his home, had finished for the day. I picked him up at the train station in the center of town. Though I had an idea as to what Horace looked like from his picture, I had been hoodwinked many times from people whose pictures were vastly different from the reality. Some people go as far as to present George Clooney but show up as Christopher Walken. It’s just about setting the expectation. If I was meeting up with Christopher Walken, then I would expect Christopher Walken. However, if someone is presenting themselves as Clooney, then they sure as hell had better show up as Clooney. I didn’t go around sending pics of Taye Diggs and calling him Terrence Moss.
After a few Clooney/Walken close calls at the train station, Horace rounded the corner and found my dark blue Toyota in the lot with a very relieved driver.
We ate dinner at my apartment that night and chatted for a bit. As a big fan of obscure B-movies, he brought Freeway, a 1996 effort starring Reese Witherspoon and Kiefer Sutherland. Throughout the entire movie I kept thinking about the fact that despite this film, Witherspoon would win an Oscar a decade later for playing June Carter Cash in Walk the Line.
Horace and I got about halfway through the movie before catching eyes. And then he kissed me.
I don’t remember the rest of the movie.
Horace and I finished “dessert” and eventually fell asleep. I knew he had to be home by 9am for his first lesson of the day at 9:30. I set the alarm for 7am so that he wouldn’t have to rush. Though it was a Sunday morning, I hadn’t thought about the fact that the first train wouldn’t leave town for another three hours. I gladly offered to drive him home since that would at least give us another 45 minutes together.
Being January in New England, it was SNOWING when we walked outside. It wasn’t quite a blizzard but it was coming down steadily. And this being his livelihood, I knew I had to get him home. The additional 45 minutes turned into an hour and a half -- that day, and so many more thereafter.