Saturday, February 24, 2018

Saturday 25 April 1998 – Hollywood Burger Bar

It's a beautiful Saturday morning in spring, and I'm at my favorite breakfast spot, Hollywood Burger Bar, which is at the crossroads to the world. I'm looking north up the street from where I sit, and it gives me the sensation of Anytown, USA—that 6th Grade social studies book, idealistic nostalgia that I carry around with me like a well-worn Bible. I don't actually have the social studies book—you know the kind, called “People and Places” or something like that—no crime, no weirdness, and certainly no methamphetamine. The cover of the book is yellow, that's all I know. I'm obsessed with the color yellow lately—probably because I've been reading this “Feng Shui – The Chinese Art of Placement” book from the library, in order to best arrange my things and life in my meager digs. Finally, I've been forced to accept that it's hopeless, but I did learn that yellow is he most important color in China—the color of royalty. Which is really quite the opposite of the perception of yellow here, where it's caution, school bus, cross-walk, “Copies 5¢” (just looking around)—taxi, mustard, and the plastic top to the lemon-scented dish soap. Never a house, seldom a room, and rarely a car (that's not a taxi). In fashion, like never, except for the local anti-establishment raincoats, called sou'westers. (The fishermen, and lobstermen, however, only wear black ones.) Anyway, I can't get the color yellow out of my mind, but I'll try.

Looking north up the street, I can imagine more small towns and rural areas in between, fields of yellow wheat and corn—but this isn't the Midwest, which I idealize. It's colder and more heartless. To the north is Canada, eventually, and then the Arctic. To the south—Boston, small town extraordinaire'—and to the east, over the pond, London, “The City.” To the west, after a three day non-stop killing spree, is our sister city, Portland, Oregon. Occasionally we attempt a cultural exchange with Portland, Oregon, the “City of Roses”—we trade lobsters for roses—but this usually leads to conflict as we are never in agreement as to how many lobsters are worth how many roses.

Speaking of yellow—a beaming young father just pulled up on his Beamer, carrying his three year old daughter who is dressed in a bright yellow shirt! She has no choice, and is obviously dressed in reference to her golden blond hair, full and curly, looking like an old-time actress, maybe _____. (Carole Lombard?) Actually, she looks just like that writer, Carole Maso, who spends her summers here occasionally, creating gossip, scandal, and fragmented prose. The mature look of this munchkin human being has me transfixed, but I take my eyes off her before her father notices. He would never notice, however, because he can't take his eyes off her. He is watching her react to the stimulus of the diner, thus experiencing the diner in an intense and fresh way himself. He should pay her at least as much as his favorite musician, author, or filmmaker makes, but he doesn't have to because he owns her—at least until she starts to drive. He should really lessen his slobbering intensity a little bit, though, at least in the presence of us impotent, unemployed lobstermen. Really, fathers shouldn't stare at their daughters like they want to fuck them—not even in, or especially not in private. It's not like the kid doesn't notice.

I'm overhearing the conversation of two guys down the counter—it's one of these seemingly fake conversations that make one suspect that they are space aliens, or perhaps actors rehearsing a script. I hear the one guy say he'd have been executed many times over if he had been living somewhere at some particular time. I can't help but wonder how he thinks he'd be able to be excluded more than once. A little later on I hear the other guy say: “You can't take it with you...” I think about this common sentiment for awhile and I decide it should be rephrased: “You can't take it with you, but you should hide it before you go in case you can come back and get it!”

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