I Can't Get No Respect
My elaborate road-trip plans having fallen through today, due to softball tournaments that did not (despite all the frogs in the known universe) get rained out, late-night drinking binges, parental visits, emergency haircuts, and other reasons not particularly worth going into, transpire (read it again, it actually does make grammatical sense), Tony and his friend Josh took me out to lunch today at Magnolia. I'd already eaten.
You can always find something worth having at Magnolia Cafe, though. This is one of the very first echt-Austin establishments I was taken to, at the tender age of 17, by my then-30-year-old boyfriend, when I was a little freshman newbie to Austin and he was the creature of the world, showing me the ropes of the place. At that time, I remember, Magnolia Cafe had a mural depicting (among other things) Superman with a Hitler mustache. I expect that was meant to be a Nietzsche reference. Whatever it was, it's gone now.
So today I had cottage cheese and a flamingo sandwich (tomatoes, avocadoes, swiss cheese, and alfalfa sprouts on grilled whole wheat bread - I removed the sprouts), and the boys had more substantial fare, and polished off my discarded alfalfa sprouts, to boot. They're big muscle men. Of course.
Then we went to Redbud Island. I've lived in Austin - and adored it with my whole heart, which probably goes without saying - for about 23 years now, minus the year I spent back with my parents in northern Virginia, and the two years I had the insane notion of living in Corpus because it has a beach. I'll tell you what: rotting seaweed, dirty sand, the occasional stinging jellyfish, and zero nightlife make for a lousy beach. Go for the weekend, if you will. Several of us will be down there, getting drunk and possibly less-legally impaired, and painting the town some chic and unexpected color, for my 40th birthday in May. But live there? I can't recommend it.
Redbud Island is really nice. I would have liked to be led to know beforehand that we were going, because it's a beautiful leash-free park with decomposed granite trails, plentiful poison ivy, gorgeous rock-studded river vistas, and joyful, exuberant, incredibly wet dogs, and I was in a skirt and high heels. No matter: the views are incredible and the atmosphere is so relaxed. Tony, Josh and I climbed around for a bit, then settled ourselves on a bench in the tree-dappled sunshine, some twenty feet from the water's edge. A guy was resting at the shore about fifteen feet in front tossing sticks to his slightly oblivious dog, which I don't think ever actually retrieved anything. We chatted in desultory fashion about dogs, animals, turtles (Tony's pet of choice), cats, and things that sneak in through the pet door, such as raccoons and possums.
"Oh, you have to watch out for them," chimed in the guy sitting by the water with his dog, "they can be really vicious!"
We got to talking about parallel parking (finding parking at Redbud involved, I might mention, rather a significant amount of obscenity from Tony, despite his Lenten vows); and Josh - about 10-12 years younger than Tony and me - said that he never had trouble, because his Jetta's side mirrors automatically adjusted to point at the curb when he parallel-parked. Tony and I were slightly outraged. When we were his age, we didn't have amenities like that.
"Did they even have cars when you were my age?" Josh teased me; but before I could wind up for a proper smacking, the guy on the shore turned around. "Oh, they did," he said, "but they were the kind where you had to stick your feet out the bottom and run."
Oh! No! You! Di!N'T!!!!!!
We left the park - me, flowing skirt, high heels and all - and got a latte at Mozart's on Lake Austin. Where this thing happened, about which I am about (are you ready?) to blog.
Tony and Josh and I had coffeehouse drinks, and as I was polishing off my iced latte, enjoying the cool early spring weather, a guy at a neighboring table got up to walk inside, but turned and gave me a brief, but fairly dark, significant and serious Look.
"Oh my God," I said to Tony, as the guy walked away and went inside, "that guy is really cute."
Tony turned and looked. "That guy," he said calmly, "looks an awful lot like (you-know-who, dammit)."
"Oh. Shit," I said, putting my head in my hands, because the guy (who didn't really look all that much like him, but had that certain quality of Somethingness by which we tend to group the people we meet in our heads, thereby figuring out in quick order how to deal with them) was unarguably of that type. He looked a bit like a loner, like the type of guy that people tend to misunderstand: intelligent, capable of great insight and humor, defensive, and (as far as my experience goes), perhaps not entirely sane.
Whatever that means. Like I'm claiming I am.
I thought of Agatha Christie, and Miss Marple, and was talking about this still when our neighbor returned to his seat. "Miss Marple's theory," I was explaining, "was that there are really only a fairly limited number of Types of people in the world; and that therefore, as you become older, and get to meet more and more people - however limited the society you live in - you get to recognize and understand them, and to predict the way that the new people you meet will behave, based on the way the people they remind you of have acted in the past.
"And therefore," I went on - probably within earshot of this incredibly fascinating guy, who on second examination did not look that much at all like the person he reminded me of, "we should go ahead and leave, maybe now."
Which we did. As we walked out I turned back briefly and caught his gaze again, and there was that brief electric shock again. Hello, I thought. I had someone to psychologically torture me, and I seem to be fresh out. How about you?
I need a road trip. NOW.