About the fifth or sixth time I went over to her table to promise not to bug her she happened to mention that she was taking Latin in college. Cool, I thought. Her popsiness wanes and her allure waxes. (Allure waxes? I'm pretty sure I need one if anyone does.) I myself studied Latin for several years in college. My prof used to call me "Arnie Archaic" because I always wrote my 'u's as 'v's. As you can see I was a smart ass then too. But you can also see why I perked up at the Latin thing.
"That's really great!" I said heartily to Molly, who of course knew none of this. "Who are you reading?"
"Catullus. He was a Roman poet who wrote a lot of love poetry." The "you won't have heard of him" was only implied, not stated.
Heh heh. Little did she know I did a two-semester intensive independent study on Catullus. I love Catullus. When I recently applied for Ladonian citizenship I used the beginning of a Catullus poem as the Latin word or phrase that you need to contribute for no reason I was ever able to figure out. You get it. Catullus and I are like this (crosses fingers).
So was this an opportunity lovingly hand-crafted in Heaven or what? In that one brief moment I felt that my entire course of Latin study was about to pay off somehow. Entire course of Latin study? Hell, my entire undergraduate liberal arts education was about to be vindicated to a degree I had not thought possible for the last 30 years. Go Hulles! Molly will swoon into your arms and make simpering noises of adoration and Spring will come early and we'll have lots of babies. Or something.
"Oh, Catullus, you mean like 'Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus, rumoresque senum severiorum, omnis unis aestimemus assis!'" I said to Molly proudly, only turning a couple of 'u's into 'v's just to piss Ed Burke off. This is the same thing I used for Ladonian citizenship -- it's the beginning of what is probably Catullus' most famous love poem if an obscure Roman poet can be said to have a famous anything. And of course it was the only one I had memorized at that particular moment. So I stood there beaming, waiting for the swooning and simpering and shit.
She just looked at me. I don't think her expression even changed one iota. She might have made a "hunh" noise; I am uncertain about this after the fact. But not exactly the reaction I had been hoping for.
My next thought was that she probably has millions of guys that come up to her in a bar and quote Catullus in Latin who she happens to be studying at that very moment. My seven years of undergraduate liberal arts study were for naught. I'm not hypereducated at all. Young men today run around all over the place quoting Roman poets in Latin. Great. They're probably all very handsome, speak fluent Portuguese, and are about to move en masse to São Paolo too. Pricks.
Then she smiled a tiny little bit and I felt better.
I'm going to meet her tonight and give her my copy of Catullus' poems, purchased new 34 years ago and kept by me ever since, through marriages, divorces, unfulfilling relationships and countless naftabs. I hope she appreciates it.
I'm not expecting swooning and simpering from Molly though. I guess she's not the swooning and simpering type. Guess I'll have to wait until I meet some other cute blonde who is currently studying Catullus in Latin for that. At least I know I'll be ready when that day comes. Although come to think of it, I thought I was pretty ready yesterday....
I want my money back for those seven years, dammit.