Clearly, it’s been a minute since I’ve written anything and rather than try to weave all of the things I’ve wanted to write about for the past two months into a rambling, expansive narrative that would whither and die by the second paragraph, I’m going to opt for a snapshot attack.
If you live in Indianapolis or are ever visiting (it really is a delightful city), please take the time to go to Taste on College Avenue for breakfast/brunch. Yes, it’s trendy. Yes, the wait staff is clad predominantly in skinny jeans. Yes, idle hipsters linger over their meals on weekday mornings and wrestle with the New York Times crossword puzzle. Whatever. All of this and the decided lack of sensible parking options are more than worth negotiating for even just one delicious sip of their Spanish latte. What makes it Spanish? I have no idea. Condensed whole milk, espresso, and whipped cream have never struck me as particularly Iberian, but there you go. Seriously, this is the best coffee drink I’ve ever had. I would shame myself if I wrote honestly about the things I would do for a Spanish latte from Taste, so I’ll pull my punches a little bit. I would slap my grandmother backhanded (the grandmother who’s still with us) for a Spanish latte from Taste. That was me holding back. Use your imagination.
If you don’t appreciate David Bowie, we probably wouldn’t be very good friends. It’s not that I’m a Bowie superfan – I probably only have ten or so Bowie songs on my iPod – but that I struggle to understand anyone who’s not fascinated by Bowie’s complete, all-encompassing strangeness…even if that fascination is only with Labyrinth David Bowie. My sister and I probably watched that movie 500 times as kids. Some of my friends’ parents wouldn’t allow them to watch it on the grounds that it was too “Satanic” (As if there’s an acceptable level of Satanism?). I’ve never understood this. If, on the other hand, they didn’t allow their children to watch Labyrinth on the grounds that David Bowie’s pants are WAY too tight and you can literally see his cock and balls throughout the entire movie, I might be able to get behind their reasoning. I digress.
My most recent infatuation with Bowie is attached to the song “Modern Love.” Firstly, I challenge you not to dance to this song if you hear it and are alone. Secondly, how has this not been covered yet? I’d bet $ 100 that a Killers cover of this song would be a top ten hit on college radio. Stone cold lock. Thirdly, over the opening chords of the song, there’s a spoken word bit in the background in which Bowie says, “I know when to go out and when to stay in, get things done.” I can’t hear this and not crack up. His intonation suggests that he’s trying to be cool and mysterious, but all I can imagine is Bowie on the phone with his buddies telling them he can’t go out this evening. It wouldn’t be responsible. He’s got to balance the checkbook and do laundry. Maybe Friday.
Last October I moved back to my favorite neighborhood in Indianapolis after two years in a vinyl village located in a kid infested suburb of the city. I love kids, really. But any doubts I had with respect to whether or not I was mature enough to father any of my own at the present moment in my life were forcefully and undeniably quashed over the course of those two years. Some day, yes. Tomorrow the 8th of May, 2012? No fucking way.
Anyhow, my “favorite neighborhood,” that of the Spanish latte, is a partially gentrified, liberal buffer between the north side of downtown Indianapolis and the gilded ghettos of Carmel, Indiana (infuriatingly pronounced ‘Car-MEL’ by some of the nouveau riche a little too taken with their zip code). There’s a convenience store located within easy walking distance of my apartment that I sometimes go to when I only need a couple of things and don’t want to drive to the supermarket. My first trip to this convenience store was a few weeks after I had moved into my new place and, although I was delighted to be back in my element, I wasn’t totally in love quite yet. That all changed as soon as I walked into this store.
The place was packed and there weren’t two people of the same race. One hitters were for sale right behind the bulletproof bubble in which the clerk was encased. The Indian proprietor was outside haggling with a guy in a white box truck over body piercing jewelry he was buying in bulk to sell in the store. A hand scrawled sign advertising adult movies on VHS (VHS?!) was taped to the bulletproof glass just above the one hitters. On the customer’s side of the counter, there was a wicker basket full of bananas with a sign that said “Fresh Froot. .50″.
It’s not that any of these things comprise essential characteristics of That Which Makes Me Happy, but that taken as a whole, in their specific location (geographically and socially) they remind me of the neighborhood in which I grew up in Austin, Texas and how my mother often had to delicately explain to my sister and I what the movie titles posted on the marquee of the adult movie theater located near our home meant. “Well kids, when a man and woman love one another…”. Basically, in a decidedly non white picket fence sort of way, I feel at home and I love it.
I had blood work done the other day and when I arrived to check in to the lab I was gruffly confronted by a large, black female nurse. She was short without being rude and had the air about her of someone who had to stick needles in peoples’ arms all day long which is, of course, exactly what she had to do. After I’d checked in, the nurse started asking for information from a couple in the waiting room who had arrived before me. The nurse needed to know the couple’s doctor’s address, but they didn’t know it (Who does?!) and this agitated the nurse. As the couple fumbled for their cell phones to try to find the address of the doctor online, the nurse huffed and said, “I’m jus gonna put mistle anus.” Mistle anus. She said it like six times after that as she shushed the couple who were promising they could find it if she’d just give them a quick second. Mistle anus. Every time she said it I got closer and closer to losing my shit and I’d almost locked it up, but then I looked over at the only other person in the waiting room and her face was bright red and she was clearly biting the insides of her cheeks trying to keep from laughing every time the nurse said mistle anus. I had to put my head in my hands and stare at the floor and say over and over to myself in my head “Holocaust: millions died” to keep from falling over in peals of laughter. Mistle anus. Love it.
I was on a long run the other day and about midway through I passed a grandmother and her granddaughter feeding the ducks and geese along a canal. The granddaughter was at that age, probably four or five, where everything in life is fascinating and wonderful and not at all scary. She was dressed as a butterfly with wings and sequined shoes and slinky antennae and every time a duck ate the bread she’d tossed it she clapped and laughed and went back to her grandmother for more bread. The grandmother had an expression on her face as if she’d just taken a deeply satisfying breath and had nowhere to be except right there. She also was wearing butterfly wings and slinky antennae and seemed completely content to look ridiculous in the service of her granddaughter. Made my day and the rest of the run was cake.
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