Well, time for another long rambling missive of self-memorialization, because, honestly, the lack of sleep does strange things to long term memory formation and sequencing. Hopefully it will be at least a passingly entertaining read, as I have a couple of Rodneys on the line. (Click on the link to vote.)
Should we begin with the tapas bar in the gas station? I think we shall. Yes, and there you have it – I have been to a wine cellar and tapas bar which is in the back of a completely ordinary citgoesque gas station. This post could probably end right here.
But, for more detail, after a particularly bad motion-day, I went there with TLF, the Sexicans, and ((dear readers please help moniker this guy – I read his poetry MS when I was in grad school and gave him the thumbs up vote; and yet so much time had passed I had forgotten everything about this when I met him, randomly, in Miami and we discovered our shared connection.)) Obviously, way too long to use as a moniker, so for the moment I will call him, “Jose.”
But back to the tapas bar, hidden in the dim recesses of the gas station. It was like being trapped inside one of those bubblegum card holograms. Turn your head slightly to one side and you view a gas station, indistinguishable from any other in So. FL; the lazy-susan rack s of sunglasses, small pillar ATM, cig dispenser over the cash register counter which boasts the usual assortment of nailcippers and plastic roses. Turn your head slightly the other way and you’re in a tapas bar, surrounded by wine racks of well priced and interesting wines. Except the tapas are monstrously huge, although priced the same as they are in most cities. I don’t really know what to say about this; it’s fantastic juxtaposition should be, well, delightfully obvious. And I can tell you in the hour and a half I was there, it didn’t get old. Close one eye – fluorescent lit gas station. Switch eyes – candle lit tapas bar. Repeat for amusement. But then I’m easily amused. And the sangria probably helped.
While debating the future of SCOTUS with one of my tapas companions, I had a moment of inspiration. Our next democratic president should replace whomever comes off the bench (Stevens, sadly, most likely) with the entire 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. They’d only get one vote – but it would be the entire circuit. I think it’s a great idea. Perhaps even better than Scott’s plan to clone Scalia, but force the younger one to wear an enormous sombrero to distinguish the two.
Socializing in a Quasi-American City
One of the mental pitfalls I can’t seem to avoid is to assume my peers have similar experiences. It’s made me increasingly laconic “in public” but even more rambly with old friends. And I’m not even talking about the risqué or the obscure. Case in point – I just had lunch with people who had never eaten oysters. Shocking.
While this might seem a minor point (and it is, come to think of it), I’ve always been more of a fox than a hedgehog, even though I often seem to come off as the latter when you first meet me. (And while we're at it, could this division have only been thought up by a distressed hedgehog?) Regardless, I’m just fascinated by stuff, by people. I can’t help it. So my mixed experiences are nice in that I can slot myself into a lot of oddball communities and activities. It’s also amusing that there’s always that sort of friction there – a roughness caused by two seeming contraries passing each other by. And let me tell you, there’s usually no pattern to which little group takes offense at which other little group, beyond seem to have a gift for finding them.
One of my very old friend’s moms was actually pretty keen on this – whenever I stopped by in suit ‘n tie mode and she had friends over, she’d go out of her way ask me about whatever “fringe” things she could – sketchy living situations, crazy artist/musician friends and companions, whatever anecdotes are generally best not floated in front of the grandparents, poetry, radical politics, and so forth. And of course whenever I showed up in combat boots, my beaten up leather jacket, and colored hair, she’d turn the conversation toward (purely for theatrical reasons, I’m sure) classical literature, “certain kinds” of poetry, and the drier and more technical areas of all the other things I love. See folks, it may look like it doesn’t bathe, but it can still preform moderately complicated tricks.)
I usually don’t like these kinds of little games, but now I
find I’m missing them somewhat. Here I have to resort to wearing a dinner
jacket with my chacos. Unfortunately instead of straddling lines, it just means I look like a German tourist.
At the very least, to avoid being pigeonholed, I'll have to try to avoid the whole “And what do you do?” conversation with the just-mets. While I honestly do think that educating people about the realities of the American legal system is part of my responsibility, I’m starting to loathe that particular 10 minutes of cocktail conversation. Auden, when faced with identifying himself as a poet claimed to be a Medieval historian – he described this as the response that most withered curiosity. Along those same lines I’m seriously thinking about becoming an IRS auditor – “So nice to meet you - how do you spell your name?”
How’s that for a twisty bit of associative typing?