This is all true: George G.—my neighbor up here in Redwood Estates, ex-Marine, former teacher, former tractor-trailer driver, ex-bartender, ex-construction worker, jazz-blues aficionado, lover of literature, lover of women, knight-errant, all-around interesting guy & one of my current gurus, etc.—invites me to go up to Stanford to the Cantor Arts Center Museum.
The women at the gift shop are ready, smiling at us, eyes ablaze, helloing with welcoming arms, “Yo mamma…!” dancing around about closing time to Green Onions by Booker T. & the MGs. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bpS-cOBK6Q ]
Sexy babes. I’m watching one undulating her hind parts. WTF! What are we gonna turn the gift shop into an orgiastic delight…? One can always hope. But George wasn’t into going nuts so early in the gathering eve so my hormones backed off. For the moment.
A lot of Rodin including the Gates of Hell outside. He took a shot of me with his cell phone camera.
I espy a young couple nearby us looking at the “Gates”. Maybe European. Catch the young lady’s eye. Attractive if slightly zaftig. The ponytailed guy looks slightly defensive. As a man, can’t blame him Especially after I said: “Another shot would be nice. All that’s missing is a pretty girl..” She smiles but Ponytail grabs her hand & they hightail it out of our jurisdiction.
(Yes, I’m still dangerous…to female virtue.)
We first go to the Stanford chapel. I’d never been inside. Huge organ. George used to come here to relax during lunch hours when working construction some years ago. The place had been damaged during the 1906 & 1989 quakes. But it still stands. A refuge. A place to find quiet & peace whether you’re a believer or not.
George has one of his fits: “Why don’t you go up in the pulpit & act like you’re haranguing the multitudes or by the altar & stretch out your arms like you’re being hung up to dry & I’ll get a shot of you…”
We leave the campus & go over to Bell’s Books. George buys a book by Diane Ackerman [?] on romantic love & I read him some of Rumi’s love poetry. My favorite being:
The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere,
they're in each other all along.
He likes. Then we’re off to find a nice little bistro or someplace for supper. But its more American style night than dim lights & calamari. Save that for another time. For when I’m with someone special of the opposite persuasion…Viva la difference…
And now a little traveling music, maestro?
Okay, so I fell in love again this Friday night at this diner restaurant in Palo Alto. Excellent food. Excellent waitress. (I’d been there before but this Newest She wasn’t there; that was well before Her time.)
I see Her & Wow!!! Lightning strikes me again…What a dopey dopehead am I…?
“Are you one of those Stanford guys?” she asks straight off. I’m wearing a leather jacket—knowing the effect animal skins have on females—and a red Stanford hoody under that, hood down, black Ravens cap on. I usually like going bareheaded hairheaded, but I’m looking good, I must admit. Washed my hair today. I’m smiling too, so I’m looking congenial rather than like a cutthroat pirate. Looking a little dangerous is okay. Draws them in like moths to a flame. But if I’m a bandit I’m a bandit with a heart of gold who can’t resist a pretty face, a fine figure or a high spirit.
“I neither confirm nor deny that one.” Then: “Well I know you’re waiting tables now but when are you going to Hollywood?”
A winning smile. Of course, ye olde winning smile. Gets you every time. There’s no getting away from it. Or Her. She is All Women. And all I can offer right now is kindness courtesy & pretty things. But pretty things like…myself for one…at my best…pretty things like pretty words. But also words to make Her laugh. Keep Her laughing. That’s my offering. I’ve yet to make my first million. (Or inherit it, which will probably be more likely…) But pretty things suffice if given from the heart… Like a red red rose…
She calls me sir.
“I’m not a sir. I haven’t been knighted yet. My name is J.”
Joanna is her name.
“Another J. A pleasure to meet you. This might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship…”
We touch. Shake hands.
She reverts back to my “going Hollywood” remark.
“I always imagine myself at a cattle call or film test & starting to think about the people I’m trying to impress in their underwear…And that makes me nervous.”
“Shouldn’t make you nervous. It should make you laugh wildly & never stop laughing.”
“Maybe you’re right,” she says with soft fires in her eyes; a lovely mouth, a beautiful nose with a slight bump. Very Euro-chic. In my adoring eyes…What the hell is wrong with me?
I tell her to do the ordering for me. A medium burger with mushrooms, fries, a glass of Cabernet.
“Here I go again. And its not even Crazy July,” I say to George as Joanna goes about her work. I can’t keep my eyes off her. She’s busy but looks over every now & again. Other patrons looking over at me, at us. Not disapprovingly. Wouldn’t’ve mattered to me even if they had. More like: Who the hell is that guy? They can tell I’m thoroughly captivated. Even these strangers know. So I guess Joanna does as well. Hey, she started it…Glad she did.
“O hell. Its always July,” George says.
A very strong female presence. Young. I’d say early-to-mid 20s. Wholesome. (And no, I’m not out to corrupt her, but sometimes people just click, you know?, you feel comfortable; & that was the case here. And then again I’m on my five-year window quest for a mate capable of bearing strong offspring with me; well, who else?)
Everybody loves her. The usual thing for this kind of gal. A real performer. (Or should I just dub her Her now & be done with it? Because She is that.) There’s something about Her. Running around, smiling at everyone. Okay so its Her job but not for long. She’s going to be a nurse, she tells me. Good. My father always advised: Marry a nurse or a school teacher. But nurses are a special lot. They’ve a need to care for people.
“Are you studying at Stanford?”
“At DeA. A two year program.”
“O. That’s by the Coffee Society & Blue Light Cinema.”
“All I do is work work work & go to classes.”
“You’re industrious. You obviously have the energy.”
She hasn’t stopped smiling. I notice her pierced ear & rings. Not at the lobe but toward the top. What would you call that. Stylish according to the post-punkish times. She’s just a baby. But I bet I could make her happy. Keep her smiling. Some place to put my love. The day is coming. I’ll take what the Fates grant me. (Do I have a choice? I’ll not offend. I’ve done that too often to my own detriment.)
I’ve a shot if I keep Her laughing. Comic relief & puppy dog work for me. Not for you, but for me. I know what behaviors work for me & what don’t by this time in my life. Go with the flow. Don’t second guess. Rely on instinct. You know if you’re coming on too strong with the wrong one, & you know when its alright & the person is receptive. Go for it because there’s no time like the present to strike while the iron is hot. (Enough clichés.)
“Next time try the calamari place,” George suggests.
“If she’s here I have to come here.”
“Then take her to the calamari place.”
“We’ll see. Who knows when I’ll even make it back up here. She might be out of nursing school by then.”
Again Joanna orders for me.
George gets keylime pie & some to go for his lady friend. After the apple pie & vanilla ice cream I go to the men’s room. I’m going to line Joanna with: “After that great big meal now I’m gonna need a good nurse..” But she’s nowhere in sight. I leave the place & George is hiding in the shadows going: “Hey, mista? Wanna meet some girls…?” I laugh. But I’m a bit crestfallen. I look back through the window of the restaurant. There she is. Just wanted to catch a last glimpse of her.
Too crowded to just run back in grab her & give her a kiss. Besides, I might get chopped up in a few hundred pieces. I thought of slipping her my phone number, but…There was a time women slipped me theirs.It was a different time, then, with a different vibe. The world was younger, more naïve, less apparently psycho. Not that I was worrying like that at the time. Only now that I’m writing about it—in real time—do I reflect on concerns that I shouldn’t be concerned with anyway. I’m thinking, take her to the museum & the chapel where I visited today. Time to hit the road back for the mountains above Los Gatos. It was a good day.
“I’m sure she’s missing you already…” George says. He believes in love but he just doesn’t like to admit it too much. Actually, he doesn’t believe in marriage. Meanwhile he’s been involved in a long-term relationship which is like a marriage. So…
I’d like to think there’s still hope for everybody. Even me…Although I can live without hope if I need to. I just don’t want to. Not now.
© 2013 GP aka JSW