So, my husband Mark (see above) is smart enough and lucky enough that he doesn't have to work on Fridays. This allows the two of us to enage in leisurely hedonistic activities like sitting around drinking coffee and smoking, right in the MIDDLE of a weekday! It's absolutely scandalous. This morning, Mark and I decided to visit Garden District, just one of the many great coffee houses within close proximity to our house.
As I amended my iced coffee so I could head out to the patio and join Mark, a well-groomed and friendly fellow that I've seen ambling about the neighborhood quite a bit walked in to get a beverage. The girl behind the counter bubbled "What'll it be today, Gary? Regular order?" Without hesitation, Gary replied with equal enthusiasm, "Noooooo! Chocolate milk today!" The passion in Gary's voice was enough to stop me dead in my tracks and set me to thinking about how delicious chocolate milk tastes when it's at it's very best. Naturally, Gary and I struck up a conversation soon afterward, him having the social ease of someone who is mildly retarded and says pretty much what's on his mind and me being the sort who'll talk to virtually anyone, virtually anywhere. He told me all about the various places he was employed in the neighborhood, every so often venturing down conversational paths for which I had no reference and could only nod in agreement. As we finished our chat and I prepared to go outside, Gary smiled a big wide toothy grin and said slyly, "You have pretty legs!" I was flabberghasted/delighted/amazed all at the same time. "Please don't be mad at me for saying so" he amended "I don't mean any harm!" I assured Gary that I hadn't taken any offense and in fact appreciated the compliment. Even if it did throw me for sort of a loop. I'm not used to attention of that sort, and when it appears I like to take the opportunity to stand back and look at how narrowly I've defined myself for everyday usage. Gary's compliment had landed well because it felt unvarnished and real in a way that isn't the norm in everyday conversation.
I went out the door onto the patio, shaking my head and smirking and joined Mark at a pleasant table that overlooked the garden below. There were only a few other patrons about, a couple chatting earnestly in the corner and a table that barely contained a 20-something hipster, pacing back and forth, texting, sighing, suffering. As I sat down and settled onto my perch, I watched Mark in fascination as he engaged in the elaborate hand movements required of someone lighting a cigar. It made the perfect backdrop for an orative interlude on my part. "I was talking to Gary just now and he gave me the nicest compliment! He told me I had pretty legs!!" I then relied on that ageless device of satiric comedy - self mockery - to allow me to try and step over the issue like a cobra restrained under a blanket. I commented self deprecatingly to Mark, "So as Gary is complimenting me, I'm sitting there thinking to myself 'Dude, that's really sweet of you to say that, but my legs are totally NOT pretty.'" Then, in the silence that followed after my nervous laughter had died out, a somewhat bored voice from behind Mark's shoulder interjected drily "Eh...they're alright." The fellow's unitentional yet hilarious comic timing was absolutely impeccable! I set to laughing and laughed hard, a delight to be alive sort of laugh. I of course felt the need to photograph the moment so you too, dear reader, could enjoy the scene. Observe, for example, Mark's tender look of empathy and the space of listening he creates with his welcoming body posture. Enjoy the colorful caricature of a disaffected youth lounging aimlessly in the left of the photo. How tormented must he be to lay face down on a table? That's some good suffering and I hope he enjoys it.
What a morning! In the space of a half hour, I'd received two awesome compliments, each very different from the other. But happily, this day was to be even more full of wonderous engagements with humanity. I met my friend Sandy for lunch at the delightful Jade Leaves Teahouse and had the enormous pleasure of passing the time with both her and an extraordinary gentleman she had invited to join us, her good friend Ryan. I absolutely loved meeting Ryan. He was a delight to chat with and the three of us spent a happy hour covering all sorts of entertaining topics. I got a nice big concentrated dose of why I love people. What a splendid encounter!
The day continued to please with a relaxing swim on a hot afternoon in a blue blue pool, some delicious Vietnamese food and a sunset that was at least worth stopping to photograph. Ha-HA! Chalk up another great day in my fabulous life!