Secret Pop

May 22, 2003

Are you kidding? I LOVE a wild goose chase!

I got a lot out of today, but I paid for it. Too much driving. Too much coffee. Too much vodka. Too much "vitamin water." Too much blabbermouthing. Too much everything. Not so much in the eating department, but that's for the best. I'm spent like a roll of quarters at a laundromat where the machines are all really large magnets that suck the change out of your pockets.

I saw Dennis Woodruff at Starbuck's on Melrose today. He had this air of vague celebrity. As if people were looking at him because they know who he is rather than because of the spectacle of seeing him emerge from that duct-tape-and-shag-carpet-covered car he drives around in. His woolly dog came out and absorbed some of the heat from the pavement for a while. Then he peed all over his leash and sauntered back to the shade. He was a sweet dog, but in a pitiable, retarded way. I had no desire to pet him.

However, I did see an unusual number of small, pettable dogs all over town today. Spry little miniatures in cute harnesses with surprised expressions on their moist-nosed mugs. Fidgety puppies with thick paws that foretold their gargantuan futures. Pairs of pugs on matching red leashes. They were everywhere. And I wanted to steal them all. But not in a wicked way. Just out of a wanton desire to heap affection on them. Maybe that's creepy.

I got a series of very determined and urgent catcalls from a workman on a scaffolding across the street from where I was walking. It was almost comically scripted. Like that scene in The Muppets Take Manhattan when Miss Piggy gets all the streetwise attention of those behardhatted fellows while she's spying on Kermit and Jenny. "Hey, pretty mama. Where you goin', mama? You lookin' hot today. Where you goin'?" I wanted to say, "To Whole Foods," but I thought it might exacerbate things. Perhaps even be seen as an invitation to join me. Which it wouldn't have been. Especially as I was only dropping off a box of crackers for my mother. I'm not the sort that gets her hackles up over this form of urban courtship, but I think I'm not terriby fond of being called "mama" by anyone. It has a certain '70s cachet that isn't entirely uncool, but it still implies a rudimentary age difference that I'm inclined to find insulting. On the up side of that, I got carded at Albertson's when I was buying two bottles of vanilla vodka. I'm sure the cashier didn't think I was that construction guy's mama. I like her very much.

As an unnecessary aside, I have been becoming obsessed with Whole Foods Market. It's like my new Nordstrom. I go there just to browse and find new things to try. And when the cashiers are nice to me and ask me if I like the weirdo foods I'm buying, I feel like I'm in a special little club -- albeit a club of healthful people with social consciences that govern their food preparation habits, something I would ordinarily scoff at and possibly ball up a flyer for, carelessly tossing it in to the non-recyclables bin, even when I know better. I love buying food there. Even though it's much more expensive and the selection is poorer in many categories and the packaging and marketing of their non-mainstream brands of breakfast cereals make me laugh like a fool in the aisle. I made my mom try this tofu I like to buy there, and she said, unimpressed, "I wouldn't kill anyone for it." I replied, "Well, I wouldn't either." I don't think that was the point. There are really very few meals I can list as appropriate catalysts for murder. Even the ones that border on it are nearly sure to be free of one thing, and that's tofu. It was a funny, idiomatically American thing for my mom to say, I noted. Sometimes I lose track of how thoroughly assimilated she has become. She even claims to enjoy watching Change of Heart and American Idol. What do you want to bet she was in an outrage tonight. The future of American entertainment being left in the clumsy hands of a call-in vote. Where's good old-fashioned tyranny when you need it?

Early in the morning, before I headed out to meet my friend for coffee, I was watching Follow That Bird on the television set, and I laughed and laughed. Even Chevy Chase was funny. Although, I think his performance only further proves that he can only be funny as a bumbling newscaster character. I know some of you will refer me to his Fletch years, but I actually think they've been canceled out by his more recent efforts. All the same, I laughed out loud when he mispronounced Sesame Street.

Oh, and further on the puppet tip, I also watched some of The Witches yesterday -- another credit to the Henson legacy. The only part that makes me cock a brow is the moment when the grandson turns back into a naked boy, bursting from a mouse-sized house in his grandmother's bedroom, and runs -- nude -- to the window to thank the witch who fixed him, completely oblivious to his shame. Am I the only person who thinks this is both wrong and implausible? That aside, my little sister used to love this movie. I think she's on the right track.

I don't know much about this organic dairy business, but Horizon chocolate milk is as yummy as love in my tummy. What a delicious way to close up shop for the night.

I got some additional birthday merriment tonight. I love it when celebrations stretch on and on and on.

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