Friday, September 14, 2007

Probably, It Was Rocky Road

#294 Probably, It was Rocky Road

Birnbaum said this: when women give men the once-over, they start at the feet and work up. When men give women the once over they start at the top and work down. He didn’t mention that both stopped briefly at points of interest whither the direction of the journey. He said this as he was eyeing this woman carrying her tray toward the big northern wall at Dubrow’s on Seventh, finishing his knish and his tea and stopping at points of interest as she walked and he spoke.

What Birnbaum probably didn’t know at the time is that this doesn’t apply to every woman who gives a man a once over, or to every man. After awhile, these trips can have construction delays, some of which are permanent.

And when you realize you’re in a traffic jam that simply won’t dissolve, you worry.

Here we are the other day, behind the wheel and stopped at a red light. This is a college town, filled with interesting human anatomies. And swinging along the sidewalk was a woman worthy of watching, as is often the case in these parts.

She’s dressed for a hot summer day, which it is. She’s carrying one of those environmentally hostile plastic supermarket bags – which they have started making less opaque these days.

The eyes start at the top and work down…. Normal so far. They stop at the bag in which there is a half-pint box of ice cream. The bag is not so diminished in opaqueness that you can make out the brand, let alone the flavor. But there’s obviously ice cream in that grocery bag.

Instead of continuing the visual journey, the driver is fixated on the miracle of modern ice cream and absurdly curious about which flavor she is carrying.

This is a sign of dementia. The outline of the ice cream container is more alluring than the certifiably alluring woman carrying it.

She’s dressed, as noted, for summer. Shorts, t-shirt, flip-flops. This does not give any hint of the kind of flavor the ice cream might be. If it were fall and she were dressed a little more formally, you might figure vanilla or chocolate or maybe coffee.

If it were winter, chances are you could guess butter pecan or rum raisin.

There’s an intense desire to stop her and ask. But that’s somewhere on the scale that runs from rudeness to perversion. And who wants to be smacked on the head by an ice cream box-wielding, frightened college woman?

No, asking is just too risky.

How could you put it, anyway? “Excuse me, Ms. would you mind telling me what flavor ice cream you bought?”

Slam! “Pervert!”

“Excuse me, Ms. I’m lost can you tell me how to get to… oh… I see you have ice cream in your grocery bag. Mmmm. What flavor you buy?”

Slam! “Get lost.”

“But I am lost.”

“No you aren’t. You just want to peek at my ice cream.”

Birnbaum was right about where the journey starts. But not where it ends. Not these days.

So, another question unasked and unanswered.

Probably, it was rocky road.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

No comments: