The art of being Californian, it seems, is to cultivate a loose-limbed insouciance while secretly working away like a frantic ant.

--Richard Fortey The Earth: An Intimate History

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gangster of Love

So, a few weeks ago, I felt the urge to read in the sun. It was one of those perfect days where the bay shimmers sliver and gold, and the sailboats look like bright leaves moving in an intricate dance dictated by wind and current.

I chose one of my favorite reading spots and settled in for an hour or so with a book I have fallen completely and irrevocably in love with. During this time, I lounged on my raised vantage point, oblivious to the cars that passed me on their way to the 5. That is until one car came to a stop parallel to my position.

It's funny how you can ignore crowds of people or things until one encrouches on your space. By stopping just a few feet away from me, engine still idling, this car claimed my attention. However as it became apparent, I did not have its driver's attention.

Puzzled (and not a little unnerved) as to why this four-door, dark sedan would fail to actually pull over to the side of a fairly busy street when it was obvious its driver had no intention of leaving soon, I watched the woman in the car, trying to determine what exactly she was doing.

The driver appeared to be fumbling with something shaped like a small bowl. A few twists of her hands and the very signature tapping motion soon revealed that she was emptying a dainty glass pipe. Pleasantly stunned, I kept telling myself, "No way is she going to smoke a bowl right here." Until she proceeded to fill her pipe and indeed smoke a pretty fat bowl right there.

Remember, she's idling in the middle of a street that gets a fair amount of to-the-freeway traffic.

Perhaps she loves the bay view as much as I do.

As I watched her smoke, I debated whether it was worth getting my camera to record this occasion.

Me: It would be so perfect to have a picture of this for the blog I'm going to write about this.

me: Really, you're already planning the blog you are going to write? What happened to living in the moment and not viewing things solely as something to relate to others? What happened to just making memories rather than recordings of memories?

Me: You're right. But still! This is amazing! How do I not want to tell others? . . . I have an idea! How about I go down there and ask her for a hit? That would make an even better story.

me: There you go again. Doing it just for the story. If you honestly wanted a smoke with her that would be one thing, but to do something purely for the story you'll tell later . . . Come on. Live life.

Me: Okay, fine. No camera. No interaction with smoking girl. I'll just sit here. And watch. Jeez.

me: You could just enjoy the unusal moment instead of pouting about it.

Me: Whatever, memory maker lady. Who are you even kidding. You know we have a terrible memory. We'll forget this within a week. But go ahead, enjoy your "moment."

It was about this time when the driver proceeded to remove the contents of her first bowl and packed a second.

Me: Holy Shit!

me: Fine, get the camera.

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