Friday, January 23, 2015

Typing at Starbucks, and Other Tales, or At Least One Other

I get these ideas — these wonderful, wacky ideas — and they take over my life. I guffaw without apparent provocation while at the supermarket or pharmacy. I am pulled over by a policeman intent on making me feel shamed for an illegal U-turn, and begin snickering in spite of myself. I wake up giggling in the middle of the night. I am no less prone to self-amusement than to self-loathing.

In the 1970s, there flourished in southern California an annual event called the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, at which people would, uh, don the attire of Elizabethan England and tromp around in the dust addressing each other as wench and good sir and gnawing on overpriced, undercooked turkey legs. I found the whole thing painfully cutesy, but got through it by coming up with the wonderful idea of presenting myself at the following year’s version of the event dressed either as an astronaut or a cowboy. The latter turned out to be the more affordable alternative, even with the chaps The event’s gatekeeper, if you will, the Falstaffian bozo charged with preventing anyone from ruining the lives of the great many who took the whole thing very seriously, at first tried to stay in character, asking, “Good sir, thy bizarre attire doth vex me quite grievously,” to which I drawled, “Ain’t got the foggiest what you’re trying to tell me, Tubby, but I do know this town ain’t big enough for both of us.” Whereupon he ensured that no one was within earshot, cut the crap, and snarled, “Can’t let you in like that, guy. People are going to think you’re mocking them.”

“Bingo,” I affirmed delightedly. “Milord hath struck the nail right squarely upon the head.” 

Whereupon Milord offered me the choice of leaving quietly, or with the help of Security.

It took me decades to come up with another idea of comparable zaniness, but last week I finally managed it. Passing a — get this! — typewriter repair shop on Fairfax Avenue on my daily Long March, it occurred to me that it might be great fun to buy a little portable Smith-Corona to take into a succession of Starbucks or Coffee Beans, and bang away on intently. If anyone asks what I was doing, I will of course explain that I am working on my screenplay. It occurs to me that it might be a nice touch to position my little typewriter in such a way that I will knock over somebody’s skinny latte the first time I hit the carriage return, but doing so would probably be expensive at best, and might at worst get me punched in the nose, should someone be scalded. I have thus decided instead to keep ripping sheets of paper out of the machine after having typed only a few words on them, ball them up, and toss them at the nearest trash receptacle.

I have in the past few days come up with a couple of refinements. A very large percentage of those who purport to be writing screenplays on their MacBooks at Starbucks wear those little stingy-brim fedoras that are meant to proclaim, “Hipster!” but which in my view actually declare, “2006!” Instead of one of those, I will get myself a gigantic sombrero of the sort worn by mariachi musicians. Where those all around me are invariably connected by stereo headphones to their MacBooks, I will be tethered to a big bulbous transistor radio by a mono earphone, what I pretend to hear through which will inspire me to sing along, tunelessly: “You’re having my baby. What a lovely way of saying how much you love me.”

Performance art, you see! Must I do a whole Kickstarter campaign, or will you just send me money in care of this blog?

4 comments:

  1. Allow me to Frisbee the very same black and silver sombrero gathering dust in my garage (inherited from my father). He would have loved that it was put to such good use.

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  2. This is perilously bordering the realm of steampunk.
    Proceed with caution or soon all L.A. "screenwriters" will be plonking out scripts in Sombreros.

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