There we were, minding everyone's business at a marathon three-hour Spadra brunch Sunday—I wanted to hit Memphis' disgustingly delicious crawdad omelet, but Burt kept passive-aggressively suggesting Fullerton, near his home, instead of Santa Ana, which was nearer to mine, even though I'd been the one who'd invited him and therefore I was the one who was supposed to get to choose, and I really don't understand why people are no longer just happily, or unhappily, doing what I say when I say it—when a pert and alert bag lady came onto the Spadra patio with a coffee-to-go.
"Can I have a cigarette?" the bag lady asked Patty, and Patty gave her one.
"Can I have two?" she asked, and Patty answered thoughtfully, "You can have one." I thought Patty handled it quite well: I probably would have given her the two cigarettes and then bitched about it for the rest of the day.
The lady took the smoke and then uttered perhaps the most perfect sentence I've heard spoken: "Gotta go; the police are after me!" quoth she.
That lady was a treasure!
Sure enough, maybe 10 minutes later a squad car rolled into the train-station parking lot to find our bag-lady friend casually chilling on a bench. Everybody else thought the lady was kidding, but I know a woman on the run when I see one! The restaurateur, a friendly old guy, came out to smoke and tell us what had happened.
"She tried to pay with a stolen credit card," he told us. "I told her I didn't want to call the cops on her, but that was someone's card she ripped off, so I gave her a heads-up that I had to call the police." If the owner had asked me out right that second, I would have gone, even though he's so old and stuff. Imagine actually being sorry that you had to call the fuzz on a bag lady, and giving her a chance to cheese it!
Soon the cute young cop came up to the restaurant to talk with the owner about what the lady was perpetrating. "Leave her alone, man!" Dave called out, being kind of shitty. "She doesn't have anywhere to live!"
"Do you want to take her home with you?" the cop asked Dave.
Oddly, Dave didn't. Oddly too, Dave shut right up.
We then made fun of Dave for being shitty to the cop.
"I have to be that way to cops," he explained. "I'm in a band!"
There was more fun to be made, as there so often is: we made fun of the forthcoming Slide Bar next door, which the guy from the Continental is opening with the guys from Lit—you remember Lit, once the hair band Razzle, who had that song about being drunk in the car on the lawn? Again?—as some sort of homegrown, OC-centric Hard Rock Caf. (Will they display the bong from Fu Manchu?) But we didn't make fun of it in front of Jeremy from Lit, who shortly thereafter came onto the patio with a little baby person, and nobody talked to him because he was sort of famous once, and talking to famous people is just asking for trouble. Also, we made fun of the Continental, unless it's, like, 6 p.m. on a Tuesday, a time and place that's singularly snotty-and-sloshy-23-year-old-free.
We just don't like people—except for that bag lady. My treasure! My love!
* * *
It was Sunday, and ever since theLinda's Doll Hut Reunion & Christmas Party (held this year at The District), I don't drink. It's not a story you really want to hear—it had something to do with being taped on a piano, and drunken public crying for the second time that week—but when a bunch of Fullerton punks (a clan among whom stupid behavior is encouraged, as it makes for a better story later) are embarrassed for you, your drink tickets have probably been all drunk up.
I'd already read two books, hit two art openings and watched two movies this weekend. I'd brunched for as long as I possibly could. I'd gone to Taps, observing Brea hedge-fund managers in their native habitat. I'd drunk 1,007 cups of coffee and laughed at a bag lady, and that had only gotten me to midday Sunday. What the hell do people do if they don't go to bars?
Do I have to learn how to crochet?
We decided to go to the Off-Campus Puband then, when that blew, to the Canyon Inn. It wasn't sodden, sloppy drunkenness-by-proxy I was looking for. We just wanted to watch the game!
So, naturally, Big E, a corporate Johnny from Atlanta, soddenly and sloppily explained about fags.
Apparently, he's agin 'em!
And pat that ass, boys! Seahawks score!
It's funny how some men think being really, really manly requires a furious loud loathing of all things gay, that a girl will somehow doubt them if they just go along and get along, easy like Sunday morning. But when men talk in paranoiac style about the gay lifestyle being rammed "down [their] throats," well, who's been ramming what where exactly?
It was like drinking cranberry-and-sodas with the Reverend Lou Sheldon, but with considerably less talk of anal pumps (and with Sheldon pal Jack Abramoff somewhere off in the distance). Is it really that difficult to take Intro to Psych?
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I went home and watched a movie while reading a book.
Gotta go! The police are after me.
Sobriety is so much fun!