I sat along Jim Deva Plaza on Bute Street along Davie after checking out of my hostel early in the morning.
Waves upon waves of people walked by and I watched as a local politician held a campaign sign up, urging people to vote. He must’ve been popular as a few people stopped by to take pictures of him. There were even two kids who excitedly yelled, “Spencer!” as they cross the street to greet him. I’m assuming Spencer is the politician’s name.
Except this story is neither about politics nor Spencer. This story is about a short conversation that happened a mere couple of metres away from the politician and his supporters.
A young man, probably in his mid-twenties sat on a curb next to the park bench I was sitting on. He was talking about how the west end wasn’t as welcoming as he expected.
Carrying a small backpack and what looked like a yoga mat, I assumed he was a traveler or some sort of a transient; possibly talking to a friend, relating his experiences at Vancouver’s west end over bluetooth.
The guy moved from the curb to the other end of my bench.
“Hey.” He smiled.
“Hi.” I wanted to be polite.
“Where are you from?” He asked.
I paused wondering if he wanted to know my ethnicity or where I was visiting from. I decided it was the latter, “Alberta.”
He continued to make conversation, “What do you do for fun?”
He offered me a questionable transparent drink from his Starbucks cup and insisted it was Sprite; I politely declined.
“Nothing.” I finally answered with a laugh.
“A lot of people seem to do a lot of that around here.”
A short paused followed before he changed gears. “I’m a infomaniac” I heard him say.
I smiled, looking slightly confused.
“Do you know what that is?” he offered, after my silence.
I shook my head no, but I imagined perhaps he was a nerd with photographic memory or something. I didn’t want to make any assumptions though so I let him explain instead.
“So basically, I need sex all the the time.”
My eyes must’ve grown the size of a plate from behind my sunglasses, as I struggled to keep them in their sockets. It dawned on me: nymphomaniac, not infomaniac. I offered an uncertain laugh as he continued on, “I’m usually good though. Unless I’m not getting any, then I go a bit crazy.”
I politely smiled. Every alarm bell in my brain was sounding off, telling me to get myself out of the situation, but I was determined not to judge or make any assumptions. Afterall, I learned that nymphomania or hypersexuality, like any other addiction is a disease. I wanted to be someone who tries to understand and show compassion, not disgust.
“Maybe you should find me a not-so-beautiful girlfriend.” he laughed.
My smile faded and turned into a smirk, “That’s a terrible thing to say.”
He continued to laugh, “No, no!” I thought he would explain himself and have a half decent excuse for saying what he said, “It will be perfect. She can do the laundry and grab some beers. Then I can have my friends over and it will be a party everyday.”
I paused everything and mustered every will in my body not to argue with a stranger. I imagined my eyes might’ve been twitching not to give him a death glare; struggling to hide my annoyance, “That’s misogynistic.”
By this time, I’ve finally had it. He was still droning on and on about something I decided not to listen to. An addiction, I can understand; but being a dick, I cannot.
“Just a second.” He turned around.
I got up, crossed the rainbow crosswalk and never looked back.