Thursday, April 27, 2017

But That's Another Story

The first non-rainy day in almost a week began with a discussion of my first make-out sessions.

Technically, my day began by walking over to the garage to pick up my recently-inspected car, except I was completely sidetracked when I spotted the magnificent fins of a 1961 Chrysler Imperial - white with blue interior - in one of the bays.

It was, as the B-52s sang, as big as a whale.

One of the mechanics I know saw me eyeing it and nodded in agreement, smiling. "Now, that's a ride!" he said, encouraging me to get closer and admire its interior. Peering inside at those generous bench seats, I had an immediate flashback.

Tommy Aquilino was the first boy I ever made out with and it happened in his ancient-even-then blue 1962 Chevy Impala on one of those giant bench seats where there was plenty of room for wayward teenage limbs. Mentioning this to the mechanic, he laughed and talked about how much more comfortable they were than the bucket seats that replaced them.

No kidding. It was like being on a couch but without your parents in the next room.

My walk took me down to the the T Pot bridge to see what so much rain had wrought - a churning, brown, debris-filled river - but over near the climbing wall, a calm cove looked like a turtle sanctuary with over a dozen of varying sizes clearly visible from the bridge.

First I pointed them out to a kid, then a couple stopped to look with us, then a group of worker bees on their lunchtime march joined in until we had as many people looking at turtles as turtles. Having attracted a crowd, only then did I walk away.

Knowing full well that the pipeline would be inaccessible, I took the canal walk instead but got off at 10th Street, mainly because I'd never noticed the sign for it before and I'm always up for a new route.

Standing at the corner of 10th and Canal, a parked car began to back up, then I heard my name from inside. There sat the familiar faces of two French chefs clearly up to no good, or at least trying to convince me they were hard at work. Or about to be. After lunch maybe.

Not as familiar but just as satisfying was 10th and Cary, where I passed two guys sitting on a stone wall eating lunch. When they said hello, I complimented one of them on his startlingly green eyes, joking that he'd undoubtedly heard that many times before. "And you've got gorgeous hair!" he responded as I sailed by.

What kind of fool am I for never having taken 10th Street before?

The gold standard for green eyes - fellow cinephile Pru - picked me up for dinner and a film and we immediately came to the realization that it's Restaurant Week so 40 eateries were out of the running entirely tonight. Reverting to our habit of days long gone, we decided on Garnett's where we scored a table next to the half open Dutch door.

Again I heard my name and there was the chef I used to work with back when I put in time at Garnett's for the morning coffee shift. We hadn't seen each other in years and the last place we had was right there.

"Feels pretty natural, doesn't it?" he cracked. It did, indeed.

With a blue sky for a view and warm spring air coming through the screened door, we had what can only be called a typical girls' night out meal: salads (Cobb, Farmer's) followed by enormous pieces of cake (chocolate chip, coconut) neither of us could fully finish despite valiant attempts and trades (her chocolate chips for some of my cake sans icing).

When we finally threw in the towel, Pru spoke for both of us when she observed, "If only I'd stopped eating four or five bites ago, I wouldn't feel so uncomfortably stuffed right now." Amen, sister.

When we got to Carytown, I realized I hadn't brought a wrap, but she came to the rescue with a little something she'd picked up in Paris and brought along just in case.

"I'm always prepared, like a Girl Scout," she tells me, going on to share that she's always prepared, despite having quit Girl Scouts pretty quickly.

 "I said 'Screw this, I'm missing Hogan's Heroes!'" A child like that doesn't belong in the shackles of Girl Scout-hood.

Once at the Byrd Theater, the woman at the concession stand asked if we wanted anything and I begged off, saying we'd just had cake at Garnett's.

"Omygod, their cake is so amazing!" she gushed, her face lighting up. "And it's huge so I know how you feel! I love that place." You and every other cake lover in town, sweetheart.

Tonight's cinematic masterpiece was Billy Wilder's 1962 gem, "Irma la Douce," and when Pru returned from the loo, she had Holmes and Beloved in tow, so we were suddenly a foursome. I was relieved to learn that I wasn't the only one who'd never seen it, although I continue to dismay Pru with the movies I've yet to lay eyes on.

How, she wondered, had I not seen a movie with a character known for her colorful tights?

The Byrd's manager Todd described it as "a good time and a little bit risque for its time,' but I was in love with it from the opening credits in absinthe green, right on through the obvious matte sets of Paris ("Ah, it's just like I remember it," Pru wisecracked) to the bustling depiction of Les Halles with countless shots of bloody sides of beef and pigs' heads.

Besides the Technicolor glory and period detail of the streetwalkers' outfits/make-up/hair, the main attraction was watching Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon effortlessly and hilariously inhabit their characters.

When he learns she sleeps naked except for a sleep mask, the incredulity on his face alone was worth the price of admission - which, I happen to know, is about the same price as a sleep mask.

Who sleeps that way? My guess would be girls whose first make-out sessions were in Renaults. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course.


  1. You'll never guess which member of the B-52's lives half a block down the street from me. Keith Strickland. I don't know him other than to say hi when we're walking the dog or when we see him and his partner riding their bikes. Some of the neighbors are giddy just to know he lives nearby.

  2. Well, that's pretty cool! I guess he stopped touring with the band because he wanted to just hang out in Key West like you do.