Monday, March 26, 2007

"There are some women who should barely be spoken to; they should only be caressed. "
- Edgar Degas

It's only been a few months since I've become a Café Person, hanging out and writing and generally geeking it up (and every once in a while doing some real work) at the redundantly-named Nina's Coffee Cafe. I began going there because it had wireless internet, power outlets and napkins, and I had need of all three of those things. But prior to that I used to think cafés were just for losers. Who would hang out at a coffee shop when the bars were open? Well, it turns out I was right, cafés are just for losers. But you do get the occasional exception that proves the rule.

One exception that I met a while ago was Squirrel Picture Woman. SPW was a lovely young lady that once occupied a table next to mine. She was obviously an artist of some sort and taking a drawing class, because as she sat next to me she was busily sketching small woodland creatures in pencil in a notebook. It was sort of cool though because she was using a laptop and internet searches to find photographs of her subjects which she would then render in a drawing, yet another example of a creative use for today's technology. Every once in a while I would surreptitiously glance over at her notebook and check out her sketches. For some reason, that day she was drawing squirrels.

Eventually, because she was a lovely young woman and I'm who I am, I had to speak to her:

Hulles: "You're drawing those squirrels wrong."

SPW: "Excuse me?"

Hulles: "I don't mean to interrupt, but you're drawing those squirrels wrong."

SPW: "What do you mean?"

Hulles: "Well, your sketches can't really be squirrels because they don't have nuts."

Hey, it's a gift, what can I say? To her credit, at least in my eyes, Squirrel Picture Woman did actually snerk when I said that. I don't think think I've spoken to her since, but every once in a while we'll run into each other and we'll both smile guiltily at the horrible joke that we both recall.

But the real exception to the café losers theory is Emily. Emily is a beautiful woman, and I don't use the "B" word lightly. She is tall and slender, lithe and lissome, and she has light brown hair that naturally curls and she has piercing blue eyes and she is gorgeous to die for. She is what is sometimes called a "natural beauty," in that it does not appear that she goes to a lot of trouble to look good and yet she is always radiantly lovely. Other women must hate her; I'm pretty sure I would. Her best feature, however, is her smile. It is effulgent. Every time Emily smiles, the sun comes out, the birds start chirping, whatever dark clouds are circling 'round my head immediately dissipate and I want to chastely kiss her. And I don't use the "C" word lightly (or often) either.

I first saw her shortly after I started frequenting Nina's and have this note from the occasion: "Pretty girl with Thai tattoo." This is because it was warm weather and Emily had on a [top with string shoulder strap thingies that if I was a girl I'd know what it was properly called] and I could see that she had an excellent tattoo on her right shoulder blade. Since I have ink myself and long ago learned that anyone with a tattoo loves to talk about it and because I was instantly smitten with her I went up and asked her about it. She smiled and.... What? Oh yeah, she smiled and said she had gotten it trekking in Thailand and that she was really proud of it because tattoos were illegal in Thailand but she had talked a guy into it anyway. I can just imagine:

Severely underemployed Thai tattoo artist is lounging around outside his shop chucking baht at a milk jar. Up walks Emily.

Emily: "Pardon me, but I'd like to get a tattoo please."

Tattoo Guy (without looking up from his game): "Whuh? Stupid farang lady, sorry, tattoos are illegal in Thailand." (Curses to himself, resumes baht chucking.)

Emily: "Please?"

Tattoo Guy: "Look, lady...." (Guy looks up; Emily smiles at him.)

Five hours later, Tattoo Guy comes to his senses in a Bangkok jail cell with a blissful smile upon his face, having given Emily a tattoo, his life savings and his milk jar.

It took me a long time after that to work up the courage to engage her in conversation however. This is because I mentioned her to my friend Melissa and M. told me that Emily was a good friend of hers and that she (Emily) was a little shy about compliments. I heard this and made a mental note to never speak to Emily, since to say that I come on strongly is to make such an understatement that it approaches inaudibility. Sharon Stone would blush and stammer like a schoolgirl while talking to me. So I put a sock in it.

But of course I am buoyantly irrepressible. A couple of months ago I just marched right up to Emily and said "Hi, I think you're incredibly beautiful." She smiled and.... Urgk. She smiled and said thanks and we chatted for a few minutes and I don't remember the next two days at all. Since then, however, we have spoken often and recently I was even able to sit next to her and help her write an application for a foreign study program. It was difficult to concentrate while I was doing this, both because her innate radiance made it hard to see the laptop screen and because of the loud crackling sounds made by the other men in the café grinding their teeth. But we got through it.

I've thought a lot about this, and I have concluded that what is so beautiful about Emily is her presence, her aura if you will. It's like her soul shines through, and seeing her makes me happy in the same way that seeing the dark reds and purples and flashes of gold of a strikingly beautiful sunset makes me happy. This is so much the case that a while ago I added an item to my to-do list: "Smile about Emily," just to cheer myself up when I get a little down. And if that isn't a nice compliment I don't know what is.

Part of my original intent in writing this post about Emily was to contrast how I feel about her with how I normally write about women, indefatigable sex dog that I am. I was going to claim that there was no concupiscence involved concerning her, just something else that I suppose I was going to call "warm fondness" or some such drivel. But I soon realized as I was writing this post that that is so much bullshit -- I want her and I to spend the rest of our lives touring the Great Hotels of the World, living on superlative hotel sex and mediocre room service until we both die smiling. Sigh. But I meant well when I started....

I'll end this paean to Emily, which word incidentally I still don't know how to pronounce, with a small anecdote. As a dear friend might say, "Sure, she's beautiful, but somewhere out there there's a man who's sick of her shit." Well, I may have met that man. Emily recently introduced me to her boyfriend, and I was very happy to meet him and he seemed like a nice guy. But I hope that now he is a little more relaxed about the fact that I adore his girlfriend. Earlier E. had explained that he was worried I would take her away from him with my money. Once I brushed the dirt off my sweatshirt from rolling on the floor laughing, I told her he need not worry too much: on the day we were speaking I was smoking recycled tobacco in a pipe because I didn't have enough money to buy cigarettes.

But Emily dear, just so you know, I've started saving my money to take you away. So far I have $1.38, but I'm confident that in time I'll be able to buy you Ferraris and monogrammed Shih Tzus and condos in Montreux, not to mention take you on a tour of the Great Hotels of the World. You'll just need to be a little patient, is all.

-- Hulles


Alicia said...

My neighbor gave CPR to a squirrel.
I think SHE'S nuts.

Hulles said...

Alicia, I'm with you on that one. I once built a machine that gave squirrels electric shocks when they tried to eat the bird food I put out. Come to think of it, I also used to chase them around my balcony with a radio-controlled model SUV. So I'm not really one to give 'em CPR either.

Thanks for stopping by, and I really like your Eminem. It winks, for the less observant among you.

LaCosta (Lollie) said...

Hi Hulles! A few things:
1) Who knew the man who painted shorty bunheads had such delicate language? Thanks for that.
2) The shirt? A camisole.
3) Missed your writing this weekend. It's official, I'm a Hulles addict.
4) I love that your B word and C word are beautiful and chastely, not words that rhyme with itch and hunt.
5) I have a friend, Estelle, who has a soul that shines through when she smiles. She's a redhead who beams and lights up a room. You can't learn that or buy it either, you're born with it.
6) Paean is pronounced the same way you would say, "I'm peein' off the end of the boat!"

SuperBee said...

Hulles - you committed a pronounciational explication error in your Thai conversation:

Everyone - but everyone knows that the word "Sorry" would be pronounced "solly."

An example thereof would be in a PickleParty.Com greeting that I relish sending to my friends of Asian ancestry. My friend Marcia particularly loves it:

The Pickle is my Mascot. I think he's adorable.

Merlin said...


I have $3.38 in small change left over from my last trip to the States.

I am so touched by your plight that I would like to contribute this to your "Emily Fund".

Please let me know wher to send it to.


Kristen Painter said...

I think "buoyantly irrepressible" pretty much sums it up. Lovely post. You should show us this side of yourself more often.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

"But I soon realized as I was writing this post that that is so much bullshit -- I want her and I to spend the rest of our lives touring the Great Hotels of the World, living on superlative hotel sex and mediocre room service until we both die smiling."

Thank god. I was getting worried there for a minute.

Going on about lithesome beauty, using words like paean and concupiscence (like you've ever NOT done something with concupiscence), and the next thing you'll be bringing up Neruda poems and talking about rich, loamy dirt and thick, weaving roots of love or some shit and that just leads to ee cummings and wondering what the man had against capital letters and you try to tell this beautiful bird with the radiant smile what you really (in public) think and she falls for it and then finds out the truth and calls the cops on your ass and it really sucks because you're already in Mexico and spend the next three weeks making conversation with a cockroach named George, only everybody calls him Hor-hay because they're like that down there, and that one pre-op tranny who speaks something like passable English and you learn phrases in Spanish like, "Back off motherfucker, or I'll STICK ya," and you learn how to make a prison shank out of toilet paper, twine and a hunk of wood, but before you can use it on that BITCH, Julio who grabbed your ass in the exercise yard, they let you go because the check cleared.

That's what beauty and poetry get ya. Every goddamn time.

Hulles said...

1) I didn't even know he could talk, but he painted the bunheads with the kind of appreciation his comment displays, I think.
2) Thanks. I didn't know camis (see, I sort of am familiar with them) could have patterns and be worn as a top. I thought they were just dainty underthings that I like to shred with my teeth.
3) Great news!
4) Not sure what you mean here, "witch" and "punt" start with "W" and "P" respectively. Please clarify.
5) I agree, mostly.
6) I'll take your word for it. This time.
7) Wait, there was no (7).

superbee, nice. The pickle does have sort of a cute ass, though, I have to admit.

Merlin, good work and thanks! I'll send you the address shortly. I should have put up a PayPal button on the blog: "Please help Hulles run off with Emily! Click here to donate..."

Kristen, thanks lots. As Stephen implies, I do occasionally show that side of me. In fact, you can think of this blog as a rotisserie: last week you got my back (colonoscopy), this week you get my tender side (Emily), next week you get my front (???)... But more seriously, thank you. It's always a little emotionally risky to to that sort of thing, at least for me.

Stephen, every time I read a comment like that, A) I love reading it, and B) I have the uncanny feeling that you and I are twin sons of different mothers. Thanks lots. And the pre-op tranny's name was Roxanne, if you're curious (I actually had to scratch my head over "pre-op tranny" before I figured it out). But you're right, that is what beauty and poetry get you every goddamn time. And I wouldn't trade 'em for anything. Especially now that I know how to make a shank out of damn near anything. And how to successfully conceal it from the screws.

Heather Harper said...

I'll take the $1.38. ;)