Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Tortilla Sharp

Not too step over into SightSpeed Guy territory, but I will say this: Please proceed directly to Go and watch this. Now.

Two nights ago we had one of our rare hot summer nights - not the sweet, flower-scented balmy kind; the other kind. I lay on our newly-tall bed*, tossing under the sheet and cursing the day I decided we must have the cats sleep with us at all times. In short, it was a heavy, sticky, stinky, when-is-morning-coming type of night. When I imagine visiting the Deep South, I think the nights might be something like that but with more bayous, bugs, gators and (the saving grace) delicious Cajun food.

*Up till last week, we just threw our mattress on our box spring - it makes falling out of bed while trying to climb into bed over your sleeping spouse and cats sans contacts a lot less of a concern. The addition of an additional mattress and the subsequent adjustment to the new sized bed has been strange - the felines among us have been observed bouncing on and off the bed.

Sometime after two, I was contemplating exactly how difficult it would be to slip out of bed, locate a bikini and sneak into the pool at the Best Western down the street from us when my thoughts were interupted by a low, rumbling boom and the flick-flick-BLINNNNK! of lightning. I laid there and tried to think about anything but the weather, which meant the only thing I could remember were times when I've been in spectacular(ly bad, at times) weather.

Don't worry, I'm not going to relate the scintillating details of a Costa Rican full-moon eclipse (it gets reeeeallly dark), summer lightning storms in Oregon (where I saw a huge volt hit the ground a few yards from our van, referred to as "the tin can") and Montana. Although being in the middle of a lake in an aluminum canoe when a thunderstorm hit was a rush, I hardly need to elucidate that my sister and I paddled with the speed of an entire Hawaiian outrigger team.

Yesterday, it was another sticky day - I was stuck in my house working on some last things for my Saturday wedding here - which I'm really looking forward to, like always. Sometimes working at home is even more difficult, in a different way, than being stuck in an office sucking on sixty five degree air and listening to bad muzac on hold with someone who has absolutely no intention of helping you. Please note that I'm qualifying this statement with the modifier "sometimes". Yesterday? Not one of those days. By four-thirty, Christy had called me to go for a walk or a swim at the beach. Our agreement went like this: She'd skip the gym if we did something that raised our heartrates and burned calories. To be frank, I was up for anything that would get me out of the house.

Bella, poor kid, was so tired she was asleep in the first five blocks, so we dropped her off at her house for a nap. I tried to smuggle her out of the van and into bed without waking her, but Chad had other ideas, and found it imperative to ask me, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH BELLA?" at top volume until she woke up. Really, what fun can a mother (or her friend) have without a little schmear of guilt over the top?

In an effort to avoid the five pm traffic/drown the guilt of leaving a tearful three year old sobbing, "b-b-b-but Maya was gonna take me paddling!" we decided to drop in at Cafe del Sol (local Montecito hangout/watering hole/cheap eats) and see a man about a dog. By which I mean, see if they had a good happy hour. I'm pleased to report that they do, indeed, have a hell of a happy hour. We walked past the usual BMW/Mercedes/Rolls Royce Silver Shadow II array and wedged ourselves into the only available patio seats and waved over a waitress for some nachos and ice-cold margaritas.

Sitting around anywhere in Montecito is always an amusing melange of people: The older, well-monied men, over-tucked/enhanced women, younger women trolling for anyone with money, younger men looking for younger women, those who are posing, and those who don't care, (or pretend they don't), about anyone else's fiscal standing. Combine these with tourists, artists, and college students and you've got a potentially interesting mixture. I've always thought that half the price of eating al fresco here is the rhapsodizing about the weather and the people watching.

Halfway through our margarita, I looked over to our right and noticed a group of people enjoying themselves. They were an interesting bunch - a tiny woman with a bird-like fragility and artificially lush fushia lips who seemed to be flitting back and forth over the group. Her husband was a large man, built like a one-time college athlete who'd retained his eating habits, if not his training. Thick-necked, ruddy with martinis and a thatch of graying hair, he eschewed conversation, but laughed often. There was another couple, appropriately Botoxed and Tommy Bahama'd, but a bit quieter, and last of all a dark-eyed man with a wild cotton-candy nest of hair. He looked weary, of what I couldn't say, but there were lines of strain settling somewhere around his forehead and eyes.

Since their group had arrived previous to us, they left while we were lingering over a last (shared, less you think I'm a lush...) drink and savoring the late afternoon haze settling over the Bird Refuge. (Side note about the Bird Refuge: I once got attacked by a goose here, while feeding it bread. Geese are eeeviiile!) I kept having this lingering feeling that I should know who the man was, but couldn't... I commented that I thought he might be in a band, but couldn't be sure. As they got up to leave, it hit me: T.C. Boyle. As I commented to Doppleganger over at 50 Books today, I was just bummed I didn't have anyone to call and book-nerd out to on the phone. Which sums up the entire purpose of this entry, rambling and filled with left turns in praise of Cajun food and bouncy mattresses.

Also - for those of you who are tsk-tsking at our complete lack of excercise, willpower and motivation: We up by walking a brisk three or more miles going either uphill or in the sand.


Nick Owens said...

You might not want to visit Illinois if you dislike hot, muggy nights...July and August are prime for humid days and muggy nights where you lay on top of your sheets asking "why did I not turn on the a/c?"...nice blog, I enjoyed your post ;)

Meepers said...

Thank you, Nick, I'll keep that in mind when making my late summer travel plans. Out of curiousity, what brought you here?

Pony said...

What books might I have read that T.C. Boyle has written? Don't call me dumb...

Meepers said...

Tortilla Flats. Thus the title of this post, silly girl! There's been a million of them, though. Cheers. M

the sightspeed guy said...

A hot muggy night in Berkeley? If only. Bring on the mojitos.