Saturday, May 13, 2006

Good morning, fretmarketeers!

It’s been a tricky old week. But, ah, it's Saturday morning now, huzzah. So I gave The Birdoole a huge bowl of chickweed, a strawberry and a cuddle this morning and set off early into humid May: warm grey skies, heavy lime-tree avenues, and the promise of thunder. I love mornings like these. What was that line from O'Hara? "I walk through the luminous humidity". Yup.

I am sitting downstairs in a windowless basement of walnut veneer and halogen. It's dark. And there are palm trees in pots (note: how do they live?) And I'm surrounded by pictures of coffee beans, coffee sacks, & coffee machines printed in sepia on hessian. Correct: I'm in a coffee bar. Not *$$; Costa.

Ah, this dark, spotlit forest of tables. There's a Bible group, currently discussing Luke, to my right. It's not a very big Bible group, as coffee-shop Bible groups go. Just a young chap in shirt and tie, with tousled hair, glasses and a little burst of acne (bless him). He's the one holding the Bible. His suit-jacket is laid carefully on the sofa arm. And on the chairs around him are three girls of about the same age, with awesome ponytails—long, straight Asian ponytails—envy! —and they're nodding and frowning while at the same time clearly asking what must be some challenging questions, because suit-boy is biting his lip and then leafing through the onion-skin pages.

On my left, a couple are both drinking iced coffee from glasses. There's something odd about drinking iced coffee in the dark. She's got long hair and he has male pattern baldness countered by a shaved head, and they're both wearing grey sports tops.

Why am I telling you this? Well, just then, a rather thumpy catchy tune starts playing. And iced coffee man starts whistling along. He does so in a way that suggests he doesn't even know he's doing it. And it's very loud in this small space, and the voice of the Bible study group leader, who looks about 12 and is wonderfully, delightfully awkward and geeky, but beautifully composed, is getting LOUDER in response, and the volume on both sides rises, and it really does seem that neither of them are consciously aware of this little battle. And then suddenly both of them do, and both of them stop, as if they've just been caught by a teacher or parent, and it's just funny, period.

I am going to see the orioles tomorrow. Mysterious, eh? More later.

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