Saturday, March 03, 2007

People Watching - Bookstore

I remember hearing an actor once... somewhere... in some context I can't remember now... saying they've met people and thought, if I tried to put that on stage, no one would believe it, it's too extreme. Nice to know it's not just my town!

Book store the other day, doing some quiet work, the chair next to me was taken by a man about sixty-five. He was wearing high-heeled boots, big stacked heels at least three inches high. I admit, he worked them though, not a stagger, not a wobble, complete confidence. And even with the boots he was still a good inch or so shorter than I.

He snuggled himself firmly into the chair and screwed tiny ear bud headphones into his ears, then turned his ipod up to full. Immediately, the music took him. He writhed, he quivered, he shimmied in his chair while the tinny tones of whatever he was listening to drum-thumped audibly.

He had exceptionally long, slim fingers, and as the music rose and fell he tapped out rhythms on his "learn Spanish!" cd-rom box. This sort of performance is usually accompanied by a deliberate lack of awareness: eyes firmly closed, person utterly oblivious to the world around. Not him though. He kept craning his neck around to see who was watching, trying to catch people's eyes.

Since I was right next to him, I was the obvious victim. But I'm one of those, "oh please, don't embarrass me by pointing out your humanity, 'cause then I'll have to admit to mine," people, and I'm practiced in this sort of thing. After all, I've managed to avoid Hari-Krishna man for over a year now. So I quietly worked on my computer as though there wasn't an ear-muffled concert going on a few feet away, as though Carmen Miranda minus the tutti-frutti hat hadn't plonked herself down in male form in the chair next to mine. He escalated, I added a frown of concentration. He began chair-dancing subtly closer and closer to my side. I shifted to present him with 10% more of my back.

Eventually he got fed up and stood to leave. I didn't have a clear victory though. As he got up he stretched extravagantly, and when I looked involuntarily up he winked broadly.

"Don't you just love the Monkees?" He asked.

Oh, I do, I really do.


Anonymous said...

Sounds distinctly like a new and novel variation of a primate mating dance....

Will it be difficult to keep a straight face the next time you see him?

For Kirk said...

Hadn't thought that he might show up again! What a frightening thought...