Your wife’s downstairs…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s existential angst is centred around the idea of spaghetti.

Thursday afternoon:
So, there I was, sitting upstairs in the nice cafe in the town of Dulltown Minor a few miles north of this fair city. I was just finishing off a pot of green tea, flicking a few chocolate muffin crumbs from the table top, and adding the finishing touches to something witty and pithy in my little spiral-bound notebook, when one of the waiters, er, baristas (or should it be bariste?) hovered for a moment at the top of the stairs and then sidled up to me.
She said, ‘Excuse me, are you waiting for your wife?’
I was startled by this, and for a moment considered whether I had been somehow whisked off to a parallel universe; a universe where I had taken a completely different path in life, but I quickly dismissed that idea and said, in an attempt to be ‘interesting’ and deliberately ‘mysterious’, ‘Unfortunately not…’, I slipped a rather theatrical sad-eyed look on my face and tilted my head as I spoke.
The barista ignored my theatrics and replied, ‘It was your black jacket…’
‘Oh?…’ I said.
‘A lady downstairs is meeting her husband here – he’s wearing a black jacket.’
‘Right,’ I said, and added, ‘No, it’s not me.’
She apologised for disturbing me and floated off back down the stairs. A few minutes later I was ready to leave, and wondered if the ‘lady’, my possible other world spouse, was still down there waiting; I was quite curious to have a look at her, if only to slot her into my brief parallel universe theory. As I descended I spotted her talking to the barista near the exit.
I was shocked… Yes, but really… I mean… No… I’m not young any more, but there I was, in my black and white Chuck Taylor ‘baseball’ boots, my trendy check shirt, my lively upright posture, hair still growing on my head, my 1960s-style blue mirror sunglasses… But the ‘lady’… she was small, bent over, and looked to be in her nineties if she was a day…
Well, I suppose I could conceivably be her husband… it’s just that… well… am I being horribly prejudiced, age-ist here? We all must have a reasonable self-image to get us through daily life; one which helps us not get too miserable as we slowly crumble away, even if we do constantly avoid looking mirrors… but… but…
I gave her a friendly smile and nod as I went out into the bright sunshine…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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