Apr
05

Overheard: gone and also forgotten

By

I wasn’t there, but an entirely trustworthy source has reported the following to me:

There is a cafe in our neighborhood which is one of those little social nerve centers.   The men have them, and women have them, but this particular one is good for just about everybody.   It has coffee and wine, pastries and potato chips, and two rumpsprung one-armed bandits operated feverishly by heavyset women smoking one cigarette right after another.   It’s got a few tables outside for your tired tourists.   And two tables inside where some of the regulars sit and sort of lounge around.

You can buy the newspaper if you want, but you only get the really important neighborhood stuff by word of mouth.

You can buy the paper if you want, but you get the really important news by word of mouth.

This oasis of refreshment is run by a woman and her late-20ish daughter who — like good bar/cafe/nerve-center proprietors everywhere —  know every person who has ever come in there twice.   She got the basics of our life story the first time we stopped for a coffee.  

They’re not nosy, you understand.   It’s just that one wants to  put one’s patrons in perspective.  

So a few mornings ago, my source stopped by for an espresso.   It was clear that he had entered a multi-person conversation that was already in high gear, and had already passed the recounting-the-event-in-detail and moved on to the hilarity-in-reaction-to-the-event.

What had happened was this:   At some point in the morning, the proprietor had gone into the bathroom.   (I don’t know for what purpose but it’s irrelevant.)   Among the plumbing, porcelain, and cleaning supplies was:   A pineapple.  

An attractive, compact, not cheap but always appreciated tropical fruit which somebody had obviously bought and obviously not wanted to risk losing  by  leaving it unattended  outside  when answering the proverbial call.  

Then they left.   Did they ever come back?   I haven’t been able to find out.   But I wouldn’t leave my kid with whoever it was, that’s for sure.

The neighborhood (perhaps the entire town) is bestrewn with small human mysteries. As in: Why would anyone think this was the way to dispose of their empty juice box?

The neighborhood (perhaps the entire town) is bestrewn with small human mysteries. As in: Why would anyone think this was the way to dispose of their empty juice box?

But that’s not all.   Same cafe — perhaps even the same day, I didn’t think to ask — the daughter was doing a quick buzz around the modest premises, and noticed  something sitting on  one of the two small tables.

It was  a pair of dentures.    

Somebody had taken out their teeth and just left them behind.

I know.   The questions crash into each other in my brain too.   We can all understand that someone might have had to take them out, but how can you forget to put them back in?  

Obviously you can, so what about this question: How can you walk away, down the street, perhaps even reaching home, without ever sensing that something about the world (or  if maybe it’s just me) was strangely different and, perhaps, even disturbing?

This neatly folded paper bag was obviously of no further use to someone, so it was just neatly left here.  Where it has become utterly invisible to everyone, even the garbageman.

This neatly folded paper bag was obviously of no further use to someone, so it was just neatly left here. Where it has become utterly invisible to everyone, even the garbageman. If you don't want something anymore, just put it down somewhere and everyone agrees that it has ceased to exist.

How far did he or she get in this toothless, crumpled-lips condition?   Did any of their friends notice?  What about when the person needed to say something to a shopkeeper or a dog or a small rambunctious child?   Did not their mouth (or ears, whichever is in better condition) send some kind of signal alerting them to their total lack of dentition?  

And why am I even bothering with these questions, since the answer to all of them is obviously no?

I love this town.   I really do.

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Categories : Venetian-ness

Comments

  1. Christa says:

    True story….a little old lady regular came into the library to let the person at the desk know that “som’n ain’t righhhht”. This was not the exact accent that she normally used and she was sorely perplexed. Extensive information interview followed. The upshot was that she had in her husband’s teeth and they just weren’t “righhhht”

  2. erla says:

    Amazing. I wonder if she accidentally picked up the ones that were left in the cafe? ….

  3. Robin Hilliard says:

    George (me ‘ubby) says the obvious answer is that somebody found them elsewhere, brought them in and left them to “gas-light” the lot of you…was anybody buried recently with out their teeth?

  4. erla says:

    Possibly many people have been buried without their teeth — especially (unfortunately) the gold ones. Interesting theory about “gas-lighting,” though. I’ll be more alert…..

    • Robin Hilliard says:

      Well, it’s probably a universal practice, taking the gold, I mean…I know that my dad’s ashes showed no signs of the coupl’o’grands’ worth of work on his teeth that he had done in Malta, shortly before he died…
      As far as gas-lighting goes…twood be an amusing way to pass the winter months, doncha tink?

  5. Hmm, the elderly are prone to losing and forgetting things because their memory has become impaired. Well, you have to feel sorry for the one who left it there. He or she will surely have a hard time eating. How is this case now? Did the one who left it came back to get it?

    • Erla Zwingle says:

      I didn’t hear any more about it, so I suppose not. As for the person’s having a hard time eating, I wonder. Evidently being without their denture, at least for a while, didn’t seem to bother them. Maybe it was some kind of ritual.

  6. Debby
    Twitter: Misswang
    says:

    These ancient towns have spirits. In the same way that Rome has taken something from me, both times I’ve visited there, I’m sure Venice beckons one to simply move on to the next thought, or leave a temporary marker for themselves to return to. On my first grand tour to Italy, Milan-Venice-Florence-Rome, I felt sad to leave Venice, and lost something in Rome. My head was screwed on right, and didn’t leave a single thing in the other cities. On my recent return to Rome, I lost 2 major items. Rome feels like an exchange for its services, whereas Venice steals your mind and soul. Well, the blender of loveliness and magic, so…. onto the next magical corner. I love your town, thanks for reporting so I too can love it vicariously.

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