At my most recent meal in the neighborhood Italian restaurant the owner went aural wall-to-wall playing Frank Sinatra. That night maybe he had an urge to remember his hairline and when his wife still had a waist.
The proprietor didn’t play one song on a loop. Instead, he tailored his listening preference after those Buenos Aires parrillas which nail their tuners on the endless Carlos Gardel, all the time radio station. Diners who appreciate Sinatra were even luckier.
Rather than limit our listening pleasure to the crooner’s exhausted anthems (no “New York, New York,” thankfully) or the straight/no chaser/whole fifth downers (the entire In the Wee Small Hours album comes to mind) we ate while sampling the maestro’s oeuvre. Mostly mid-tempo selections personifying happy to be alive with my baby zest.
The post-Ava canon.
Two weekends earlier, I had another occasion to consider Sinatra. Rather than hear his interpretations, an afternoon at the beach embodied the atmosphere, no, the feeling, certain Sinatra songs promote.
Of course there was a woman involved. A blonde. My former colleague Perdu. Otherwise why miss college football to attend the beach two weeks into autumn?
Perdu lives a Gold Coast Connecticut town. Unlike California or New Jersey, Connecticut limits general public access upon its strands. Without verifiable addresses, only a meager few Nutmeg State beaches provide all citizens unfettered sun, fun and frolic. No residency, no permit, no sand getting into everything.
This prohibition exists only during the summer. After Labor Day restrictions are lifted. Meaning daytrippers who spent July and August outside with their noses pressed against the figurative window can now mob seasonally exclusive shoreline. And mob they do.
The beach isn’t much. Rocks and shells form a cuticle between sand and water. The flatter stones make for decent skipping projectiles. Or so I’ve heard. The sand, its texture and appearance, reminds me of cinders. A few ricky-rack shacks house facilities and canteens. Crammed along the shore road small simple waterfront homes carrying extravagant price tags.
Thanks to Perdu’s permit and accompanying offers, I’ve lolled on that particular Long Island Sound bight on afternoons when bathers could’ve deployed parachute-sized towels and still had long walks before infringing upon any others who lazed. Jones Beach or Coney Island or the Jersey Shore nor Rehoboth, Delaware, it ain’t.
Once the velvet rope gets coiled and stored, the NOKDs invade. Like most hot attractions which winnow entry, they flock from having been denied. The inviting elements there are no different than those elsewhere and open in Connecticut. Or New York. For my money Rhode Island beaches are far superior to either. Hello Misquamicut!
Before my fellow riffraff piled in, only the right kind or acceptably shady sort of people could revel in such artificial prestige. Or isolation. The first condition I can understand. Nothing says you’ve arrived more than being exclusionary. About the second, I’ve yet done anything that dastardly or be in such a bind demanding aloof circumstances to deceive myself into having escaped.
As if one can run from him- or herself.
In the summer visit, our conversation was unguarded. Why not? Who could overhear? No solutions but new questions added to prior burdens.
Shouldn’t epic silence lend itself to speaking one’s mind freely?
Two weekends into fall, among milling people, sheer numbers turning low conversational tones into cacophony, parents’ unsupervised children and their unleashed dogs becoming unnerving underfoot nuisances, we momentarily got above it all by flying a kite.
Yes, a real dragon tail. One high against a pure blue ceiling.
Our pastime could’ve been easier pursued during the summer visit, sure. We used that aloneness to engage in then vital though difficult discussion.
Perdu resisted succumbing to reason. And I embodied reason. Unnecessarily lovelorn, she abnegates herself around feckless financiers and other dispassionate second-raters instead of finding comfort in responsive men. Maybe in the summer I might’ve ruffled decorum by asking why she chose juveniles over adults?
Did our afternoon represent an end or beginning? Both as it developed.
The autumn atmosphere favored Perdu. She looked illegal out of season.
Despite being a fashion fiend, on that October afternoon Perdu wore a faded bikini. Time had sapped the two-toned garment’s elasticity. Already buxom and curvy, a further spurt of ripeness made its wearing, um, precarious. A muzzy shawl obscured the less subtle rearrangements of her top piece. Only vigilance prevented her bottoms from creating an inadvertent Coppertone incident.
She was adorable and funny and innocent and unintentionally sexy. Is that a perfect combination, or what? There was no way I could tell her. Doubtless she already knew her affect.
Low sun colored her marvelously. Perdu hadn’t tanned much over the summer. Meaning she hadn’t burned and peeled at all this year. Angled low as it was, the sun lent her an ideal tone. Sun burnished Perdu, making her eyes greener, smile brighter. Persistent breezes off the Sound played with her hair and my good senses.
Before, hadn’t we discussed the “urgency of now”? Yeah. I know. Reading that it appears I lobbied for the urgency of me getting over then. We were more than that. And she knew, unable or refusing to go farther.
Three weeks along, fresh urgencies have surpassed the old. Whatever we were, wherever we were, the couple we could’ve been, are gone. Funny how insistence and its moment recede.
NAKED SELF PROMOTION. In mid-November 2011 I intend to issue through Amazon Kindle a successor compilation to Reveries titled Cool Brass. I hope you find the new stories even more provocative, satisfying, humorous, outrageous or incendiary than the first ones. Is it too much to wish they’re all that and more?
I thought about titling Cool Brass Hot Tarts. However, that would have been too broad. Also, aren’t Hot Tarts sugar-laden breakfast treats?
If there’s going to be any product placement, it better advance the story. Which explains my name-checking two fashion houses, an accessories maker and a lingerie line. I don’t wear those brands. I help remove them.
Besides, if I called Cool Brass Hot Tarts the conglomerate’s snack foods division might get bent out of shape. No way they’d want their starchy, sickly sweet, viscous product associated with anything mature. Like Cool Brass.
So their corporate masters would no doubt threaten to sue. Forcing me to change the title anyway. Doing it now makes me prudent and proactive.
Should you have read and enjoyed Reveries, I hope you will read and enjoy Cool Brass.