I'm at the thrift shop, revisiting old haunts, hunting for the essentials I'll need to be able to enjoy my apartment. A short list: Kitchen table & chairs, loveseat, 2 armchairs, a couple of coffee tables, I'm looking for quality, but the kind of quality I can sell again when I'm done, Garage Sale quality, the locker won't hold any more belongings...

No furniture, not today, but arriving at the till with my other treasures the clerk advises me: "You're in luck, it's Senior's day today, you'll get 10% off...."

Now I know I don't photograph well, but I always put that down to me being a vampire, it's like my reflection, nothing to look at, nothing to see, but still there's that voice in my head that's telling me "I gotta stop drinking..."

While perusing the vintage photos at the flea market I find this:

Which is good, not least because it bears a striking resemblance to a certain dishwasher (ELMO). I gave it to him, he professed not to see the resemblance, everyone else did, and I held it up as proof of the transmigration of souls, that this was Elmo in another life, probably killed in the Austian/Prussian war, and asked if he remembered anything, anything at all, and like all good conversations at work it's ended before it begins by the need to get back to work...

He's completely asexual, he has a girlfriend but in the three years they've been dating they've had sex twice, "I'm not really a fan" he explains to me.

For someone who isn't a fan he takes an unhealthy interest in my sex life, or lack thereof, and pries me for nonexistent details, eventually, getting nowhere he begins to offer advice...

"Treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen..." he says, he's follows a certain dating guru and explains to me what I'm doing wrong..."A lot of guys think that if they complement a girl they'll get them, but what you gotta do is insult 'em, tell 'em that lipstick is horrible or that dress makes them look fat...get their attention". This guru, think Tom Cruise in Magnolia.

He ruminates a moment, contemplating his own failures, "I think that's what I've been doing wrong" he says, as if somehow he's been the fount of human kindness, and I have to laugh, any girlfriend of his has to endure his 7:00 PM bedtime, his taste in movies (any docu-drama on WW2), his gifts ("I didn't draw her name in the gift exchange...") his cooking (aged leftovers stirred together in a pan), he's got the recipes for neglect and abuse down to a fine art, only he doesn't realize it...

M--- has decided to talk to me. Finally, we've been out socially a few times, I know him through extended acquaintances, he's a larger built guy, mid 30's, dresses in a bad but expensive khaki linen blazer, hankie in the pocket, he's solvent, rumour has it it's from his brother who pays him a million dollars per year not to show any interest in the family business. He honours his word, takes his money, plays the big wheel himself, plays at real estate developer, financier, drives an expensive car and always seems to have a ready supply of party favours. I know this of him without speaking to him, merely listening, and I wonder what he knows of me. At the bar, a good natured ribbing about his resemblance to Don Johnson (give or take 80 pounds) and he decides to honour me with his conversation.

-"Your a journalist, I hear from my brother..."

I'm so-so, was, didn't work out, not at the moment...

"Tell me what you're working on now.."

I hum and haw, I don't like to discuss current projects, it dooms them...

"Tell me and I'll tell you. I write as well. I'm studying neuroscience..."

This is interesting. Tell me more...

"Well, there's lots to say, but I'm going to sum it up in 5 words..."

He doesn't. 200 words later and he's no closer. The conversation changes...

"So I'm guessing you're a liberal...?"

Yep. That's me.

"Define Liberal for me versus Conservative...."

I'm on the spot, an intuitive understanding doesn't seem to lend itself well to the 5 word limit. I think quick and badly..."It seems to me that a liberal is someone that accepts the way things are, where as a conservative wants things to be the way they used to..."

He's quick to pounce, so quick that I have to wonder if he didn't prepare this in advance..."2000 years ago the Romans used to sit at the table and eat on toilets so they could shit at the same time, and every man used to jack off his neighbor and then they had sex with a slave girl...It was conservatives that decided this had to stop!"

In the end I'm not sure if he's telling me he's liberal or conservative, but the conversation is allowed to drop, the bar is closing and the hunt for the party is on...