Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It’s Not a Purse, It’s a Diaper Bag – Part I

What follows is a prose version of an actually conversation I had with an acquaintance when he learned P.Pie and I were going to have twins.

Malibu* called to see if I wanted to catch a beer at a neighborhood dive called the ‘It’ll Do’ Lounge (honestly, that’s the name of the place).

Meeting Malibu for a beer meant you were buying him a beer. Or two. Maybe even three, but no more than four because then he’d want to crash on your couch. For a couple of days.

Malibu, the free spirit.

He shared with the world when he had money (not very often) and expected you to do the same when he was, as he put it, ‘between opportunities’.

I hesitate not to call Malibu a friend. But my closest acquaintance is a better moniker.

It was 3:30, I didn’t have beer in the house, and he hadn’t heard we were pregnant. So what the hell.

I entered the It’ll Do 15 minutes later.

Three older gentlemen, with maybe a full set of teeth between them, sat at the bar. Barflies. Probably there since the place opened at 9, an empty stool between each of them.

Malibu was also at the bar, almost through his first beer. I broke the ‘skip a stool’ unspoken rule and sat next to Malibu.

The barmaid, without leaving her stoop behind the bar, asked if I wanted something. Ah, dive bar service with a sneer.

Malibu’s cheeks were beginning to pink up. Maybe he was on his second.

I ordered a PBR on tap. Happy hour price, $.75.

We exchanged pleasantries and I delivered the baby news.

Malibu collected himself for a moment. His long facial muscles pulled themselves into a full face squint, announcing, “Man, you’re gonna start carrying a purse.”

Malibu was trying to bait me, but it wouldn’t work. I had heard this statement before. “It’s not a purse. It’s a diaper bag.”

“Sure, it starts out as a diaper bag.” Malibu scratched his head between two short clumps of blond hair he swears are the start of dreadlocks. “You’ll put formula, bottles, ointments, wipes, toys, changes of clothes, food, utensils, and I don’t know what else…”

Malibu trails off, the ‘interest’ dimmer switch in his head has been turned down.

“Diapers?” I chided, trying to turn the knob back to ‘high’.

“Yeah, diapers.” Hot embers of humor began to glow behind his denim blue eyes. “But then… lookit… you’re gonna start putting your wallet in there. Not all the time, mind you. Only once in a while. But that ‘once in while’ is going to become more and more until finally, you’re going to reach into your pocket for your wallet and it’s not going to be there. It’ll be in the diaper bag.”

“Okay, I can see that happening,” I answered slowly, carefully mulling it over, checking it against the BS-ometer in my head. It felt like a trap, but I couldn’t see the tripwire. It was completely plausible; if I didn’t put my wallet in the same place when I got home, I’d forget it the next morning. “So?”

“Dude,” the embers of humor in his eyes burst into flames as he laughed. “At that moment it becomes a purse. Bro, you’re gonna carry a purse.”

The barflies laughed.

I had been right; it was a trap.

To put a bow on it, Malibu had called me from the ‘It’ll Do’ after his third beer. He was well on his way to drunk when I left after two. He wanted me to stay, but, as I said, I didn’t want him sleeping on my couch.

But the point of the story is “How do you make a diaper bag cool?” and I think I have a solution…

...the answer next time...

*Not his real name