WilderWorks

Mar 29, 2010

Excesses and Shortages

I am back at Grounded Cafe.

It is 10:15 AM, and I just dropped my dog Bacon off at a new groomer, not too far from my apartment. It's called Mr. & Mrs. Dog. The woman there seemed very nice, but her accent was a rare form that I absolutely could not place or penetrate.

I followed her almost entirely by making guesses about the meanings of her gestures and by constructing my replies such that they could have sprung entirely from personal inspiration, not strict response. When she said "vaccinations?" I asked her to repeat it three times, the third time by softly saying, "I don't understand what you're saying," because "vaccinations" started with an "O," and only had three syllables. "Ossendens" is the best transcription I can make.

I'm not making fun; I'm simply describing how hopeless I felt.

In any case, Bacon won't notice, and she seemed optimistic despite my warning: he won't let me clip his nails or trim his hair at all. He gets crazy nasty. To this, she said the one thing I understood, "Dey eye much personality."

I'm going to start using that as a euphemism for human pains-in-the-ass. "He has an abundance of personality." In fact, "She has a dire excess of personality." If nothing else, it makes me feel better about having a mild shortage of personality.

A tall, skinny young man with long blond hair, glasses, and brand-new too-tight black-denim trousers, says into his phone, while waiting in line: "I'm still high after last night. I can't help it. There's nothing to debate."

Meanwhile, a man in a tweed jacket with a fedora hat marches, leaning forward, down the opposite side of Ventura Blvd. He carries a yellow envelope and jabs the air just slighty with it, never really raising his arm. He's saying something to himself, perhaps rehearsing the talking-to he'll give the recipient of that envelope. I wonder without substance whether he's heading to the bank.

And now I'm the only one here, aside from the employees. It's awkwardly quiet.

"It's slow today because it's Spring Break, I think. A lot of kids don't have classes," He says to She. Then they speak too quietly for me to hear. They have Spanish accents.

Perhaps I should've sat outside. There are new, richly coral-colored, almost red, umbrellas. Small in circumference, like the tables, but casting sufficient shade. And it's a beautiful day. 71 F degrees, yellow-touched white sunshine, 15% humidity and a barely present northerly breeze.

It's a Los Angeles day out there, and I'm sitting in a Northampton coffee house, with a dire shortage of personality.