Sunday was a beautiful, perfect-weather kinda day in Oakland. And there is no better way to spend a sunny afternoon, the last day of Summer, than . . . . working. Sadly, Job # 3 demanded serious attention Sunday and so I did the next best thing to sunning myself lazily at the Lake ~ I took my laptop and paperwork to the nearby teashop, L'Amyx on Lakeshore Avenue. Oh yes, it was just like enjoying the Lake.
But all was fine with the world because I love L'Amyx and I had a favorite book to re-read, especially all the pages I marked as my favorites (nerd alert) . . . yes, I was still procrastinating, up to the last possible second, from the document review. But I was enjoying the tarragon chicken-salad sandwich on toasted Milton's bread(!), my favorite. Um, I did not want to spill crumbs all over my laptop, OK? And besides, my book has wonderful sections such as this one:
Mr. J. P. Hamilton, confronted on his doorstep by three dark-skinned children clutching a myriad of projectiles, was duly surprised. As old as they had imagined, but far taller and cleaner, he opened the door only slightly, keeping his hand, with its mountain range of blue veins, upon the knob, while his head curled around the frame. To Irie he was reminiscent of some genteel elderly eagle: tufts of featherlike hair protruded from ears, shirt cuffs, and neck, with one white spray falling over his forehead, his fingers lay in a permanent tight spasm like talons, and he was well-dressed, as one might expect of an elderly English bird in Wonderland -- a suede waistcoat and a tweed jacket, and a watch on a gold chain.
And twinkling like a magpie, from the blue scattering in his eyes undimmed by the white and red surround, to the gleam of a signet ring, four argent medals perched just above his heart, and the silver rim of a Senior Service cigarette package peeping over the breast pocket.
"Please," came the voice from the bird-man, a voice that even the children sensed was from a different class, a different era. "I must ask that you remove yourselves from my doorstep. I have no money whatsoever; so be your intention robbing or selling I'm afraid you will be disappointed."
Can't you just see it all? And hear it? I drank in the words like I did my tea ~ slowly, sipping, savoring. And, I flashed a self-satisfied Cheshire grin at that Oxford comma.
Finally, when I was done with my first course, it was time for dessert: a gigantic slice of chocolate cake (with vanilla cream cheese frosting!) and glass of whole milk. It was time to start working and face the music, which, given how long this was going to take, sounded like 'O, Fortuna' from Carmina Buranain my head [yes, it really was the first thing that popped into my wee brain1]:
So, it was time to move from the counter, to a table ~ to spread out the laptop, the paperwork, and, most importantly, my cake and milk. I moved the cake and milk to the table first; there was a woman sitting at the next table, with a date, and when I walked back to the counter, I looked over to see her eyeing my cake with ardent desire. She hates me; I know it. I slinked back to my seat, and the couple was practically sitting in my lap ~ it was that crowded (but still so quiet and calm).
Since I was practically a part of their conversation, I did not eavesdrop so much as let their words wander over to my ears. It was immediately clear that they had met on-line, and this was their first meeting. Of course. Who would really go on a first date at 4 pm on a Sunday, if not two people who need a quick exit strategy . . . just in case; but if they liked each other, they had all day to spend together.
Oh, these poor, poor victims of the cold, cruel delusions floating around in cyber-space. The cute girl had the most nervous giggle, and she had her hands on the table, constantly fiddling with them. So-So boy must have had nervous-leg syndrome, because his left leg was bouncing so hard I thought it would catapult him through the window. This is how parts of their conversation stumbled along:
Cute Girl: [Something about Palin] ~ I mean, I don't think my mother could be Vice President....[something else about Palin].
SS Boy: [pause] I disagree. [chat, chat ~ change subject.] What's your apartment like?
CG: Oh, well, the landlord did some work on the house and there were some problems. Like, if you walk into my bedroom, the bookcase looks crooked or slanted. But it's not the bookcase; it's the door.
SS Boy: [pause ~ something about cabinets] What was your weekend like?
CG: Oh, well, yesterday I worked a booth at a wine festival. But they stopped serving at 6 pm; and the festival wasn't supposed to be over until 7 pm! Why would they stop serving at 6? I had plans to get drunk! [pause...pause...] What else do you have planned today?
SS Boy: Laundry.
I started texting friends, describing the scene to them, and exclaiming that I would either kill them, or kill myself ~ to save us all from this torture. It lasted another 20 excruciating minutes or so, and they finally got up to leave. That is when I noticed the pièce de résistance . . . well, let me preface this by saying that Cute Girl was, in fact, pretty. I think she was quite pretty, in fact. Not as in, "Well, she has a pretty face." I really thought she looked nice. Now, let me point out, she was on, shall we say, the voluptuous side.
OK. We have established I am not a terrible, bitchy person, right? Right? OK. So, when she stood up and turned around, her backside facing me, bless her heart, I realized she was wearing a white dress with huge, black horizontal stripes.(!) Oh, the Humanity. The disservice, the travesty, the crime, committed by those unforgiving stripes. [I will admit to you that I made this observation as I sat there in my green Oakland t-shirt, which now sports bleach spots, a faded denim skirt, a tangle of unwashed curls piled on my head, and my blue eyeglasses. So what do I know, right?]
They finally walked out, thank you Baby Jesus, and almost immediately went to opposite directions as they exited the door. Then, as an afterthought, they remembered, "Oh right ~ the goodbye hug!" So, they turned around and hugged . . . and she gave him the pat-pat on the back(!) The type of quick hug that says, "Well, we're never gonna get that hour of our lives back." Oh that poor man. She did not give him the squeeze ~ that hug that lasts a few seconds too long, that says, "This Booty will, in fact, call you."
Somehow, though, I do think they sort of made plans to see each other again. Unless they were both lying.
And THAT, was my Sunday afternoon. ~ :) ~ Then I was up until 2 am, finishing that document review. :(
1. 'O Fortuna' will forever live in the "creeped-out/scared" part of my brain because I saw it performed years ago in San Francisco. Michael Tilson Thomas conducted the San Francisco Symphony (which was amazing) but the lyrics were sung by the Boys and Girls Chorus. After a while, it creeped me out that hundreds of kids were singing that tune, given that The Omen featured that evil little boy. The set-up was the same as that in the YouTube video ~ chorus in the back, up high, behind the symphony. At first it was powerful and intriguing, but after a while I kinda freaked out(!)