Strange things yesterday. The cat came back for breakfast yesterday morning. She looked fine, acted like it was nothing out of the ordinary, ate and sauntered off back to the neighbor's yard. They must be feeding her. Someone. I guess I needn't worry about her.
Miss Nicaragua won the Miss Universe contest last night. What? Why do I know that? I saw it in the paper this morning and remembered that the Venezuelan barmaid from the Mexican place was looking forward to watching. Miss USA was from Venezuela, she said. I said that Venezuela had won more Miss Universe titles than any other country. That was true when I learned that fact. I was in Venezuela at the time. But the barmaid told me that they were second, that Miss USA had won one more. But last night, she said, she felt that they had two chances.
Neither contestant placed.
I didn't watch that, though. I watched "Barbie." I'd heard such wonderful things about it. It was everything I thought it would be, just as all things that are commercial hits are. It was a fair representation of the times, I think. Have you been paying attention to the times? Yea. That's what I'm saying.
My friend who moved to the midwest sent me pics from Iceland. She is quite the solo traveller. She never stops. She always finds the smallest details to make her happy. Not giant things, but a shop window she finds unique. A strawberry festival in a small town. Fake Basquiats. Etc.
And the girl who will not ask me out, did. A soft ask. She invited me to come out with her and a group of friends to some "Beds and Beers" race in Grit City. They close off the streets in the pretty downtown and four people in stupid costumes push a person in the bed around a course in a race against the clock while the drunken crowd cheers them on. It is a town made up of 90% alcoholics and hillbilly rednecks, so this brings quite a crowd. I had to turn down the invitation as it would overlap with my Sunday dinner with mother. It was an easy decision. I had less interest in that event than I would in a tooth pulling contest.
"But sometime this holiday season though, eh?"
I went to the Cafe Strange for the first time since I was there with Sky. The girl behind the counter looked up at me slowly and smiled.
"It's been a long time."
It had. I hadn't seen her since before Covid. She is a lovely
hippie girl with a soft voice and pretty eyes. A shock went through me. Nobody notices me anymore, especially when I am out with Tennessee.
"Yes," I said cleverly. I even nodded my head. Right.
"What can I get you?"
"Um. . . a mimosa."
When she came back from the bar, she held out the glass to me. It wasn't the little ones that they usually serve but the one I used to get here in a glass of the right size.
With great cleverness once again, I left her a tip. . . and that was that. She was sweet and I was clever. I was guessing that somewhere my stars had aligned.
When I walked into the big room, the tables were full. The stars, however, were still favoring me. My "usual place" was empty. I took "my" seat.
"I should pick six numbers," I thought.
When I sat my things down, I noticed that I had invaded a chess tournament. It was a real dude fest. I wondered at that, but maybe, you know, I wouldn't have if I had seen "Barbie" first.
I texted Sky.
"Is it the same without me?"
"Nothing is the same without you, silly."
As previously reported somewhere in this giant tome (tomb?) of a blog, I took up chess when Bobbie Fisher defeated the great Russians. I bought books and learned openings and mid-games. I knew the names of the gambits. I replayed the moves of famous matches. I bought a chess computer and when I was in bed for so long after a surgery that required much rest, I played incessantly. I didn't remember any of those things now, though. They were playing a kind of speed chess with clocks, games that were only ten minutes long. There were two ways to lose. If you lost your king, of course. You could also lose if you thought too long and your time ran out before the other player's did. I listened to some of the gamers talk. You didn't have time to play a patient game. You had to be aggressive. They knew theory. They knew gambits and which were better for the short game. I guess I hadn't really learned so much about playing chess after all.
The nice thing was that the girl at the counter had put on gentle, easy music, some orchestra jazz thing featuring a Hammond B3 organ. Good God, it was wonderful.
A while later, I was off to my mother's. Of course. Then dinner. But I didn't feel like cooking. I felt like something bad. I knew where to go. I'd be breaking all the rules. A chain restaurant run by teens.
When I got home, I put my food on the patio table and poured myself a glass of wine. Wine and a burger. Not ideal, but not so very bad. It was what I wanted. The neighbor's cat smelled the grease, I guess, and stayed with me as I ate. I didn't see my girl, though, and I wondered what was up with that. About halfway through the meal, however, I was driven inside by mosquitoes. The days of rain have brought them back. They were just too much. I wondered about Zika.
More texts from friends. It was nice, but I felt alone. My college roommate and his wife asked what trouble I was getting into that night. I said I'd been out too many times this week, that I was home alone. They wanted to know details. I mentioned the fellows coming to my house. They like my pad, I said. They were younger than I and they were killing me.
"You like them worshipping at your feet," said the wife.
"Right. They just tell me how old and used up I am. In truth, all I want is an easy, gentle life with my own true love."
"Oh Jesus. . . there you go again."
But it is true. All I wanted was a lap to lie in and a sweet hand upon my head. I've always thought I was good at that, but "they" are all somewhere else now holding hands with their new true loves.
Is it me or is it those fucking stars? It's my head, I think. It is too big. There is too much stuff in it. Movie stars, they say, have big heads, but there is not so much stuff in them. That is mostly true.
That Barbie movie, though, ends with her getting a vagina. Ken didn't get a penis. It didn't seem quite fair.
To be continued, I guess.