Sitting in the sun

Catching the rays has forever been an unrepentant passion of mine.  I am as well shamefully inert to the perils of doing so. Yet another advantage of old age; viz., I’ve made it this far so something’s gonna get me! Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego I may as well feel the furnace glow to the end! In truth my current obsessiveness is no greater than that of the average golfer. Gone are the days of skimpy shorts and lathering the whole with olive oil.  Instead I now cultivate what I consider a proper and enviable social limitation of wearing clothes – granted a small deprivation for someone of my age and girth.  In fact I prefer not to see myself in the mirror after my shower in the morning. The only toxic feature of any current persuasion is strictly internal; that is, generally feeling good about life and relishing the analgesic influence of what’s on the bathroom counter.

Curiously the chosen venue for sitting in the sun also changes with age.  Appropriately I sat for over an hour this afternoon in a rocking chair at Coligny Beach Park, facing directly into the burnishing yellow orb, mindless of the passage of families and their dogs, listening to the chatter of two middle-aged black women sitting next to me. I could only see the feet of the one closest to me but I could tell from the shoes she had money.  Their conversation was animated, reflective of what I subsequently learned from them was the product of their university friendship.  Turns out the most garrulous woman was a director of a social work agency in Detroit. My first guess had been that she were a lawyer though interestingly she advised her two daughters were lawyers. The other woman was from Atlanta and I failed to learn her professional status but she sounded more like a confessed socialite, frequently chatting about dining with someone or another.  The language of both was mostly spirited in the vernacular but on occasion suddenly shifted to more precise grammar and vocabulary which belied their cultural fidelity. I was mostly taken by the sounds of their voices not the content of their gossip which included discussion of family, relationships, divorce, travel and dining.

By entire serendipity when I was subsequently shopping at Publix for stuff for dinner this evening I encountered a tall, beefy young black man at the fish counter where I had just ordered Premium crab cakes, fresh cooked shrimp, Lobster bisque and some special sauces. When I was leaving the counter he said to me, “I like your glasses” Well!  I couldn’t just let that one go!  I began to explain to him – while we both unwittingly blocked the aisle for others – that the glasses were prompted by Shelley Berman whom I had seen in a production by the guy (whom neither of us could recall) who wrote Seinfeld.  He avidly attempted to follow the succinct “over the counter” intelligence but he was having trouble understanding my rendition of Shelley Berman’s name much less who the hell Shelley Berman is or was! But comically not long afterwards when I was checking out at the self-service counter he suddenly materialized before me with this iPhone and a picture of similar spectacles, asking me, “Is this the ones?”  To which I immediately replied, “They’re Tom Ford” which as instantly rang a bell with him and he seemed gratified to have settled the outstanding matter.

To complete this unusual day of unintended conversation I telephoned Chris Bascara, Store Manager of Publix and told him how satisfied I had been with the service of the fish monger in light of the pressure on him from a collection of anxious customers preparing for Christmas celebrations. Bascara was distinctly pleased to receive the advice which no doubt when the telephonist told him of my call he likely thought would be a complaint.