82 and Fluorescent


    Some men write the songs but only one gentleman writes the trivia for the bakery every morning.  He does it on a plain or tinted index card, like this:

  • Question number one
  • Question number two
  • Question number three

     Meg, who is the mainstay of the daily weekday business, made a cardboard mount with two clear plastic pockets, the top pocket holds questions for today, the bottom for the correct responses to yesterday’s set.

     Any and all customers are free to guess at or supply answers and write on the back of the card. Sometimes I participate, and when inspired by certain questions, I draw on the back of the card.

   Over the winter significant changes to my schedule created a corresponding lapse in attendance to doodling.

  I learned  that another customer had made a request I show up not too early and not too late for him. He wanted to see me draw. So one day I went in at 6:30 and was cheered into making a drawing as a kind of performing seal and felt pleased to please the audience. 

   Well, this did not earn the seal of approval in all sectors.

   When I had time to reflect on reasons for disapproval, I considered that my behavior, spontaneous and innocent as it might be, could be construed as a bit of upstaging and the greater part of wisdom might tell me to curb my enthusiasm or at least dispense it in small and infrequent doses. Now you have been brought up to speed.

   The gentleman author sits alone at 6:15 a.m. among the ice cream parlor style table and chair sets before going to the hospital. I get coffee. I claim another table. We exchange rainy Monday morning pleasantries with a modicum of tired grumpiness.

   “No fly zone,” he says, referring to my answer to ‘Where do flies go in the winter?’ ‘with a speck of a fly drawing. “That was good.”

   “Thanks.” I say, wondering though, if flies go to the no fly zone how can it be a no fly zone?

  We have in common a seriousness about our play and a play about our work, in which there is no trivial pursuit.

 “You walk in this crap?” he asks as he departs.

   “Yes,” I say as I open my notebook. “You work in this crap?” 

   “Eighty-two degrees and fluorescent, ” he says. “It’s wonderful.”

   He is a medical doctor. I am no one.

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