The Words of the Moffitt Family
I Woke Up This Morning In Need Of A Latte
September 6, 2004
I woke up this morning in need of a latte. Maybe a macchiato frapp? Nah, just a latte. And some food. Well, either that and/or long walks on the beach. Oh yeah, and sunsets.
Wait, wait, okay, this. a long walk on the beach at sunset, with a latte and my dog. I'm wearing Birkenstock loafers and biodegradable hemp fiber shorts that run half on electricity, half on gas. The dog isn't actually my pet, per se, but a time share companion animal. A golden retriever named Dakota or maybe Aragorn. Yeah, Aragorn.
That Indian on television who cried looking at litter along the road, he's there too on the beach, looking at more litter. At his feet lies a half-full can of Sherwin-Williams Peach Blossom Whisper interior oil-based latex paint. "We cover the earth," the label says.
A newspaper called The Answer is blowing in the wind. A few loose pages catch around my leg and I look down at the classifieds. A light drizzle begins to fall as the personals section gets my attention. Tangled in my legs are four broadsheet newspaper pages of ISOs in six-point type. The drizzle intensifies into a full-fledged summer shower. Postcard-quality raindrops fall straight down from a calm, windless sky. Just before the pages are turned into papier-mâché, I manage to read one. "ADJPNSCSCND (asian divorced jewish professional non-smoking christian street car named desire) ISO like-minded man for LTR. Must enjoy quiet walks in the rain. E. Rigby"
I look up and there she is. The author of that very ad is just fifty yards up the beach, walking quietly in the rain. I look around and see others. A lot of others, in fact. Why hadn't I noticed them before? All the lonely people, where do they all come from? There are now hundreds, maybe thousands of solitary individuals, all walking quietly. Nobody is speaking to anyone. There isn't a hint of raingear or an umbrella in the bunch. Most are deep in thought, gazing down at the sand. A few are facing the sea while, metaphorically, also facing the latency of their unrequited hopes as a harbinger of humanity's ultimate desolation amid love's inability to deliver the goods forthwith.
The only sound on the beach is unison sighing.
A nice-looking youngish guy, yet somehow old in acquired wisdom - thin, blue-eyes, black hair, killer abs, in low jeans and an open shirt - walks through the intermittently spaced lost souls, feeling his way as much with intuitive radar as with his eyes, searching, sifting. He approaches a young woman carrying a mocha java grande made from aged Sumatra beans. Full-bodied, smooth, spicy, complex. So is her coffee.
"Hi." She nods back and a moment of silence settles over them.
"You know," he finally says, "I climbed cathedral mountains. I saw silver clouds below, saw everything as far as you can see. And they say that I got crazy once and that I tried to touch the sun. I lost a friend, but kept the memory."
Though alarm bells of warning were going off in her head, they were like a ringing in the far distance, as removed as an Amish farmhouse fire bell two counties over. She looked at him with her head slightly tilted. Her soft mouth, shorn of all defenses, could utter only, "Gosh."
He gazes sagely into the middle distance. "Now I walk in quiet solitude, the forest and the stream, seeking grace in every step I take. My sight is turned inside myself to try and understand the serenity of a clear blue mountain lake."
She intones a long "wowwww," way too softly for her own good. Her eyes are wide, undemanding of anything.
Flashing a Jack Nicholson shit-eating grin, he takes the mocha java from her hand, downs the rest of it. "Name's Lucifer. I like long walks on the beach."
"Jennifer. Virgo. I like quiet walks in the rain."
I watch them stroll away together. The summer shower abates, and as it does, the walkers in the rain fade one by one. Nobody actually goes to their car and drives away. They just fade. Literally. With the cessation of x-amount of raindrops, each one grows increasingly transparent until right near the end when they suddenly poof into nonexistence. The air makes a tiny plink sound as each one disappears. Plink... plink... plinkplinkplink. Like reverse popcorn.
It seems each one could exist only in the rain. At the beach. Their loneliness was compounded by the fact that none of the ads said, "love loud boozy socializing on the beach in the rain." Just quiet walks. Personal ads from people trying to end their solitude by proclaiming a love of solitude. Once again there is a need for there to exist a typeface for irony.
Also typed in ironics, is my sworn statement to the EPA on the unfortunate demise of a large school of dolphins accidentally killed in the preparation of this report. The printer, plugged in, fell off the table, bounced off the pier into the Club Med cove. The little Flippers never knew what hit them and I'm sure they didn't suffer.
Go ahead and judge me if you want. I have learned I can't be everything to all people. I am learning to be happy with myself, to love me as I am. I often surprise myself with gifts. I need a latte.
My biodegradable hemp fiber shorts are half-filled with gas as I go placidly amid the noise and haste, remembering what peace there may be in silence.
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