I couldn’t decide if the lady in front of me was a professional body builder or if she had once been a “he.” Nor could I find a courteous way to let them know that I don’t care what their gender is or their sexual orientation but was curious anyway.
We were seated inside a coffee shop on Ventura Boulevard. She was wearing a dress, had long black hair, bright red lipstick and was wearing a pair of Ray-Bans. Over to the right I listened to some guy try to impress the girl he walked in with and laughed at the ridiculous things he said.
I probably shouldn’t have laughed because I have been known to tell a tale or two myself.
He reminded me a bit of a peacock and I might have muttered something about how Marlon Perkins should have been there next to me.
Every city and every home has its own rhythm of life but the Valley is the one that I know best. I remember the old Galleria and even if I didn’t all I would have to do is turn on Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Commando or a million other movies and they would transport me back in time.
I was a teenager when Valley Girl became a hit. I remember some of my cousins calling me to ask if I knew that “Encino” was famous. I thought it was kind of cool but it didn’t make much of a difference in my life until I was in college and even then it was relatively minor.
Can’t say that I remember too many of the girls speaking like Moon Unit does in the song, but there are definite elements of “truth” in it.
Now I look back at it and wonder if my children will try to tease me about it in the same way that my sisters and I used to tease our parents about their old yearbook pictures.
Maybe they’ll watch those John Hughes films that we never get tired of and roll their eyes.
I don’t feel old nor do I think of myself as being anything but that guy I was between 19-25. It is true right, that reflection in the mirror isn’t quite right but that is only because I am looking at one of those wacky funhouse mirrors.
And these children of mine can’t really be this big already. Every time I go watch them play soccer or basketball I marvel over how big they have gotten. And when they challenge me to a race or wrestling match I always take them up on it.
Dad has a serious competitive streak and he doesn’t like to lose, but one day they will be faster.
That moment fills me with hope, pride and dread. I want them to be better in every way but I am not nearly old enough to be ready to concede the athletic side of the fence to them. I accept that I can’t do what I did at 20 but I refuse to let go of the rest. Not now, not yet.
I am still drinking my iced mocha. It is 183 degrees in the shade so I am nursing this sucker. The mystery lady in front of me keeps shifting in her seat and I keep looking around the place to see who else is in there with us.
There is a guy behind me that is talking far too loudly on his cellphone. I am not interested in listening to his conversation so I turn around and make eye contact with him.
Initially he glares at me but I don’t stop staring and he looks away first. A small smirk washes across my lips and I think of Marlon Perkins talking about the fight to be the alpha male.
There is an older guy standing at the front door. He dressed in charcoal slacks, dress shoes and a button down shirt. Salt and pepper hair help to camouflage the glasses propped on his head.
I wonder why who he is waiting for and why he is dressed up. It may not be summer but it sure feels like it. A woman walks in and I can tell that she is looking for someone.
She wanders over to the man and I can see her say something to him and I realize they are on a blind date. She is not dressed up like he is but it is clear she spent time perfecting her look.
They wander over to order drinks and he lets her walk in front of him. I watch his eyes roll up and down her body and he smiles. It took just a moment for him to decide that he is happy.
She finishes ordering her drink and steps aside so that he can order his. Now the roles are reversed and she is the one checking him out. I don’t see her react one way or another. She is a better poker player than he is.
While they wait for their order to be filled they stand in front of my table exchanging small talk. I watch and listen, their proximity to my table not providing many choices in the matter.
Their drinks are ready and they walk away. Moments later I finish mine and walk out the back door.
The rhythm of life continues.
This post is part of YeahWrite#54.