Archive for mysteries

Apr
05

Overheard: gone and also forgotten

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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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