A liberal translation of Catullus XIII
A friend caught me at the bar the other night and introduced me to his new woman. She was underdressed but, though a little desperate, had some good conversation. We ordered drinks, sat down and started chatting.
‘How’s your job going, Ed?’ Not bad, I said. ‘You made any money yet?’ I replied truthfully that the bossman, not the lackeys make the good money; especially if they’re so crooked as to sell their own ass sitting down, or at least that of the next intern.
‘But you must be making quite a bit now; didn’t you say you were going to buy a car?’
Now, to appear bigger than I am in front of this beautiful woman, I said: Fortune hasn’t been so unkind to me in the private world that I am not able to buy a Mercedes.
(Let alone a car, sometimes I can’t afford a metro ticket and have to squeeze strangers’ asses just to get a ride)
‘Wow, that’s fantastic’, this woman said. ‘Can you give me a ride to the Rasputin night bar tomorrow evening? I’m going with some friends.’
‘Wait a second,’ I spat my drink, ‘what I said then – I didn’t mean to say Porsche or Mercedes or whatever it was – but it’s my friend’s – Jason, no Geo, or someone’s. Basically, it’s like my own, and what do I care, I get around just fine. Anyway, woman, who are you to call out my charm? Don’t you see that this is the privilege of being a poet?