Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Thursday Walk - An Exciting New Chapter In My Life"

Despite a pathetically uncomplicated schedule, I developed a conflict.  
(Missionary Albert Schweitzer told a story of there being only two cars in all of the Congo and one day, they crashed into each other.  It is something like that.) 

My conflict required me to relocate my Wednesday walks to Thursdays.  Today was my first “Thursday Walk.”  And I’ll tell you, it did not at all feel like Wednesday Walk.  It was an entirely foreign experience.

(Note:  The conflict was created because, after twenty-four years of working out with musclier people in a gym, I gave up my membership and I signed up for pilates classes instead, which I will describe in detail when I figure out what they are, why I’m there, and why the classes are so expensive.  

And now, back to my…

Wait!  One story.  My morning pilates class begins at eight-fifteen and runs for approximately an hour.  There is a parking meter in front of the building.  The thing is, you are not required to put money into it until nine A.M. 

What am I supposed to do?  I can’t run out my class to put money in the parking meter.  My only alternative, other than risking a ticket, is to put in an hour’s worth of money at eight-fifteen, forty-five minutes before it is legally necessary.  The parking meter was laughing at me.  And I don’t blame it. 

Okay, now back to my Thursday Walk.

The first thing I notice is that, although I am walking at my regular time, it seems that an entirely different group of dogs are being walked on Thursdays than the ones I had seen being walked on Wednesdays.  I do not recognize a single dog.

It was like I was walking in entirely different city.  Either that, or Santa Monica dogs are walked every second day, which, having walked a dog – Rachel’s adorable dog “Bean” – I know not to be the case; anymore than it’s the case that that I’m walking in an entirely different city.  Which leaves me with a mystery:

Where the heck are the Wednesday dogs?  And where did these dogs come from?

It occurs to me I am simply looking for things to complain about.  All right, so it’s different.  So fine.  So get over it.

Things almost immediately start to pick up.  An attractive young woman is headed my way.  A couple of steps from our passing, there is a smile, and an inviting “Hello there.”

Well aw-right, Thursday! 

Then, as she goes by, I catch sight of the tiny wire, and I realize the “Hello there” was directed to a person she was talking to on the phone.

It’s funny.  I do not recall being shot down like that on a Wednesday.

I arrive at my destination, a superior coffee emporium called Groundwork (without the “s”), a walking distance from my house of…well, I have never measured it, for fear that the walking distance might be shorter than I wanted to believe – “How far is it?”  “Oh, like a mile each way.”  What if it turns out it’s a half a mile each way?  Which adds up to a mile, but it’s hardly the same thing.

After paying for my small “Venice Blend”, I am about to drop my traditional dollar into the “Tip Jar”, when I am reminded of a Seinfeld episode in which George Costanza laments that he put money in a “Tip Jar” but the “tip-ee” didn’t see him do it.  As far as the tip-ee was concerned, George had not left them anything, earning George, not a “Thank you”, but a murderous glare.  This ultimately leads to George getting caught trying to retrieve his tip, so he could be seen dropping it back in, though from the “tip-ee’s” perspective, he appeared to be trying to take some “tip money” out.

A lot of George’s “pet peeves” seemed excessive to me, like his complaining about how tightly hotel chambermaids tucked in the sheets, or his need for a specific location when sitting on a couch.  But the “tipping issue” hit home.  Only the evening before, when picking up “take-out” from the surprisingly delicious Shaka-
Shack Burger
, the “Counter Woman” turned her back just as I was slipping two singles into the “Tip Jar.”  When she handed me my bagged order, as I turned to go, I detected the signature glimmer of anger and disgust, typical of a “tip-ee” who believes that they’ve been stiffed.

It occurred to me that, to avoid such misunderstandings, an invention was in order along the lines of a “Tip Jar Bell”, certifying that someone had indeed dropped some money into the “Tip Jar.”  Maybe with an accompanying recorded jingle:

Thanks for the tip
That is always good news
It will help me to buy
Several more nice tattoos.

Or something appropriate for the locale.

Heading back, I had to admit that, aside from the strange dogs and the mistaken “Hello there”, my first Thursday Walk had been not that different from my Wednesday ones.  My exaggerating the contrast stemmed from a combination of temperamental inflexibility and a continual need to have something to write about.  I mean, really.  Wednesday Walk, Thursday Walk.  What difference does it make?

Five minutes from home, it began to rain.

Rain.  In Los Angeles.  In August.  You can look it up.  That simply doesn’t happen.  Dodger rainouts?  There’ve been maybe six of them in fifty-five years.   

And I’ll tell you another thing.

It never rained on a single Wednesday.

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