Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Mingling with the Locals, Episode One



1: Don’t Blame the Baby

I have a dilemma: my espresso place in Smalltown closes at noon on Sunday
(stupid idiots) and the other place is the cafe where famous actors in Canada Go
to Die. Meaning Sir Dick might be there with the Guppins and I do not want to run
into them. I picture my family without me: the Guppins occupied (from trashing
the place) by young girl baristas who worship Sir Dick’s fame as the Perfect
Canadian Television Patriarch; Sir Dick holding court with the older ladies who
worship his fame as a ’70s folksinger (there is a mural of him in the alley off the
main square — oh horror); our daughter covered in coffee (he feeds her coffee).

Did I mention this town is the actor retirement capital of the universe? The other
night I had Guppins outside, on my shoulders, and a jaunty gent proclaimed,
“Good eve” as he strode past — it was Graham Greene.

(Dances with Wolves…anyone? anyone?).

I drive. Vague memory of hole-in-the-wall “expresso bar” on the tourist strip. It’s
open. I enter the place. Once in, I surreptitiously glance at my shoes, finally pick
them up and inspect the bottoms, for the place smells… poopy.

I order. Barista understands the meaning of “dry.” Oh Heart.

I sit.

No child, no Sir Dick...

A couple and a baby in a large stroller block the aisle. He’s cute (the baby) and
chewing on a rubber giraffe. I smile. This makes me think about Tightrope Mama
who is attending a baby shower today (which has presented some emotional
complications for her and a hilarious post about stupid shower gifts), and so I
say, “Hey! A Sophie!” like, “I have a kid too! Even though she’s not here…” I feel
compelled to do this when I am without the Guppins and encounter people with
babies.

“Good score!”

The Man slash Mother —

women here tend to look like their male counterparts

— says,

“Yeah, we got a deal.”

“How much?” (Would I ask this in Toronto? I can’t resist. I remember being
thrilled to find a Sophie on sale after the Guppins had tossed her original — a
shower gift — off the Dundas West Bridge. I still picture it sailing down down
down like a confused yet free nun from a Michael Ondaatje novel.)

“$15 Bucks. Kids are Us.”

“That’s great!” I enthuse. “Did you get two?”

Uncomprehending stare.

“My daughter went through, like, six.”

She looks like she’s going to beat me up.

“But I can see he LOVES his — my daughter wasn’t really into it... I can SEE
CLEARLY he’ll never let his go.”

She’s going to punch me.

They leave.

Subject closed.

(It still smells poopy. Guess I can’t blame the baby.)

-Drama Mama

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