the lost man chronicles
the daily chronicle
Roused by a shimmering shhh of leaves and the rustling breeze careening off the top of the window, I woke up feeling fresh as ever in the cooling wake of summer.
Yesterday was spent at the outer reaches of the City. The afternoon veered from cavorting with coeds and clowns to sitting down at the table of a purple-haired and gold-hearted proprietress.
It began at a party where I had lots of token conversations with lots of relatives unrelated to me. A few times during these drawn-out hours I left the house to walk about the sleepy hollow of this small town and wandered freely up and down the streets under the rain of falling foliage.
When my conscience reigned me in I did my wandering by stepping out onto the front porch and folding into the rocking whicker chair where I pressed to and fro with my soles, gently undulating with the creaking planks in a meter that mimicked the rhythm of the rhyme I was whispering. I had pilfered (with permission of course) a browning volume of Spanish poetry off the shelves of yesteryear and read aloud, or rather asoft, in a soothing loft of sibilance and solitude, while all the others inside continued to prattle like cattle corralled by circumstance.
It was not as if the palaver was not pleasant, for apart from the moments I nodded and smiled in rote submission to the monotone and the monologue which became a drone of babbling lips I soon stopped listening to, I fully enjoyed the little pralines of conversation I had with the elegant hostess, Jazmín, who spoke with a charming lilt befitting of her warm grey coif.
As she spoke of the weathering days of comparative literature in Chicago, I admired how she had aged quite gracefully. Her tenor brimmed with vim, and she told me about yesterday as if it were tomorrow. She recalled her studies abroad and how she had returned full of the confidence that the linguistic legerity of a foreign tongue gives one, especially juxtaposed against a culture as monolithically monolingual as ours. She concluded with an anecdote confessing her humbling experience as a tour guide at the UN, where her pride as a polyglot soon deflated once matched against the agility of those far more worldly than her.
Apart from such redolent causerie, I kept myself happy and unconscious of my boredom by eating with an appetite that would make my mom proud. I repeatedly and shamelessly filled my shirt pocket with pecan pralines and candied roasted almonds rolled in sesame seeds whenever I was sure no one was looking. The tangy guacamole was particularly tasty too, especially when you complemented it with two glasses of sangria.
However, the third ladleful suddenly tasted too sweet and so I stopped drinking it, for fear that I might tarnish the porcelain image I had of my hostess, who had bewitched me further with her recollection of how she had whimsically mixed-in a little bit everything that was left in the liquor cabinet.
Her home was adorned with touches akin to the beguiling tone of her lithe speech, a light assortment of knick-knacks to document the tracks of her years, including a montage of art exhibit posters from hippy days; a vast arrangement of original artwork by far-away friends and intimate strangers, collected as she trekked across the globe; a trove of shiny new replicas of ancient indigenous pottery; and far too many overblown stills of flowers taken by her two sons who were parading about with archaic 35mms, made to look serious with flashes and reflecting plates that were bigger than their heads. Yet, as earnest as their endeavors were to capture moments might have been, it was obvious to me that their talent truly lied dormant and patiently awaiting elsewhere.
Either way, meriting wall space or not, the show and tell was an endearing story of unconditional parental love.
The graceful lay of décor was sprawled in meditated disorder about the house. And had there been more time and an amicable reason to linger, I would have loved to run along the course of each polished piece to hear of the tales that weaved together this lush quilt of her life.
Alas, no whimsical invitation was extended and the festivities concluded en pointe at two, as all things planned tend to do and end these days. Hence, we parted ways and I went north to where I would wrap myself in another fragrant tapestry of life later that afternoon, but one, perhaps, just a little less swooning and a tad more eccentric.
My much-anticipated destination was Rosemary’s Texas Taco stand, which is located off rural route 22 in Patterson. In sum, it exemplifies “a cheap thrill.”
The hostess meets you in her signature overalls, spray painted gold sneakers, and purple hair that was is so stiff that it looks as if it was colored with spray paint. And why not? For practically everything else on the premises is decorated similarly. Everything from the entire parking lot to every wall, inside and out, of this humble dining establishment has something spray painted on it—a magic swirl, a name, or some crazy reference that makes you wonder.
Rosemary also wore a used plastic smile that said—although as she has been quoted to say “everyday is like being on stage” for her—she has also starred in this same old play for the last thirty years. For she actually started out selling her tacos from a street cart on Fifth Avenue, eventually moving her operation to this remote hole in the wall, where one might easily be eternally fascinated with the garden of junkyard décor, a blur of everything from an Elvis bust outside the commode with the talking fish and all his friends including a life-size shark’s head that looms above the toilet; psychedelic vehicles and matching swirls in the parking lot; a caravan of tricycles dotted across the lawn; a large plate of thick bubbles in the courtyard to entertain anyone willing to watch you loop the stylus in the air like a rhythmic gymnast and her ribbon; and the lone star lava lamp in the window that makes you feel as if you were looking into someone’s home.
Generally, this was an amusement park full of baubles that would amuse any of the little boys and girls in us all. Everything was quaint and backwoods homey about this place. Especially, since there was little upkeep and the ornamentation seemingly sprawled on an evolutionary scale, growing according to the whims of the woman-in-charge.
Rosemary had two people to help her—one a pimply, drug-eyed youth and the other a long-legged vixen. I imagined that either one of them could write an everyday screenplay about their experiences here, flavored with much of the ado about nothing served as the soup du jour by recent indie hits like garden state, lost in translation, clerks and dazed and confused.
All-in-all the detour here was worth while. The food was forgettable and service only redeemed itself because the young lady would make any wolf hungry. Nonetheless, as an out-of the ordinary blessing upon the blight of suburban sprawl, after a quick ride lakeside through the forest, this eccentric aside is certainly a something-to-see—should you happen to be in the neighborhood.
However, I’d just get the guacamole and then jet on over to the Mexican restaurant at the mall down the road for the real meal. Otherwise, you might be disappointed.
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