A SPY IN THE DiNER OF DYING DREAMS

Not that there was anything earth-shattering going down as I sat with my Diet Coke in this dirty old diner in the heart of the Polk Street area. But, it was a bit unusual. It was filled with old men who were hopelessly in love with the sole waitress. A cute young woman who patiently waited on all of them and seemed to think it strange that I was there. I was killing time. I was waiting to leave. As were all the old men in this establishment. I guess the only difference was that I was planning on meeting friends to see a movie. I fear these men were killing time till they caught the next train to the next plane of existence.

I pretended to listen to my iPod, but I was really listening to and transcribing all the conversations going on around me.
This was my favorite:

“Now, Doll, put that ice cream on the pie after you heat it up!”

“Ok. You bet.”

“You know they conviscated my Kodak at rock concert once.”

“When did you go to a rock concert?”

“Oh, I guess it’s been years now. My wife was with me. She passed on about 20 years ago. I guess it must have been the early or mid-70’s.”

“I was born in 1980.”

“Yeah, well, I wanted to take a picture of Anne Murray for our daughter. You see, it was an Anne Murray show.”

“Yeah? Who is Anne Murray?”

“Well, you see, that’s my point. Now, my little girl — she loved Anne Murray! But her mother didn’t let her go on account of her grades.”

“Your daughter a bad student?”

“‘was’ a bad student! And, no! She was a doll! But, she was boy crazy for a while and her grades were slipping!”

“Yeah, well I been there. Did she like the picture?”

“What? What picture?”

“The one you took of Anne Murray!”

“Anne Murray? Oh! Yes! Anne Murray! Yes, well, you see we were in the nose bleed seats anyway. But, I took out our Kodak and some goon comes over and takes it out of my hand before I could even get the god damned picture took!”

“That too bad.”

“Yes, well I was talking to my daughter the other night and I reminded her about it all and she tells me that she never even liked Anne Murray and that her mother helped her get out of going to the show with us! Imagine that!”

“When did she call you? Here’s your pie. It hot. Be careful!”

“Who?”

“You daughter!”

“‘Your daughter! Why are you asking me about my daughter, Doll?”

“You say your daughter call you! When did she call you?”

“Who? Her? Oh, it’s been years, Doll.”

“I thought you say she just call you on the other night?”

“No! I never said that! I haven’t talked to my ungrateful daughter in years! Since my wife died! She passed on over 20 years ago now, you know.”

“Well, I sorry.”

“You know her?”

“No. What? Your daughter?”

“No, Doll Face! You know my wife?”

“No. I don’t know your wife. She die before I born!”

“Hmmmm… You’re just a baby, Doll. Hey! Did I tell you about the wedding I went to in Taiwan?”

“Yeah. You did.”

“Oh.”

“But, you tell me again. Maybe I forget.”

…so, at some dirty old diner on Polk Street a young immigrant woman is serving pie, bringing hope and company to sad old men waiting to die. I closed my notebook which Ing taught me to keep and run to meet she, Alan and a few other cool people to see a movie.

And, I wonder: Will I live to be that old? Will there be a diner for me to sit in and will there be someone who wants to take the time to talk to me — and, even to listen? Most importantly, will this person remember to put the ice cream on my pie after it is heated?

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March 26, 2007. Uncategorized.

15 Comments

  1. brooke replied:

    You don’t need a diner. I’ll come over with home-baked pie and Ben&Jerry’s. Then we can talk about our glory days and not listen to a word either one of us says. We can even make stuff up. It will be bliss.

  2. joe replied:

    oh matty, I will listen to you til the cows come home. we can have cherry pies a la mode and I’ll quiz you on fassbinder and fellini films. That’s probably something you WILL remember.

    secretly, though, I suspect you’ll be surrounded by many people who love you in your old age.

  3. matty03 replied:

    Brooke! Awwwwww! Promise? That sounds great!!!

    Joe! Same to you — is that a deal, then??!?! …I hope you’re right. I really do! I know that you and Brooke will be surrounded by many people who love you both very much!

  4. ing replied:

    I was having coffee in a McDonald’s because I was a half hour early for a job interview. While I sat there and drank, I noticed a group of four people, all of them in their seventies, I’m guessing — three men and a woman. From their conversation, I gathered that they meet there every morning, that they’ve been friends for a long time, and that they’re all quite happy.

    I thought that was neat. My grandmother met regularly with her old friends to play cards. Sometimes I get the impression that as we get older, we’re more likely to wind up lonely. But maybe that’s not true at all.

  5. matty03 replied:

    Ing – I have the very same impression. I don’t know that our generation is a “social” —- I mean I know we need and have interactions but we hold back more. Or, at least that is the feeling I get. I guess it was the “Me” generation of the 70’s who called for more “alone” time and finding one’s self — but it seems like our generation is a bit more fixed on “time” and more greedy and worried that there is never enough of it. I hope we’re wrong. I don’t want to be all lonely when I’m old. …but, if I am — I hope that there might be some hot boy waiter at Little Orphan Andy’s who will take the time to look, talk and listen to me. Then, I will be able to, in my old age, at least pretend he is my pal. But, hey, aren’t I supposed to be feeding you soup when we’re old?!?!? I’m feeding you soup tomorrow night!

  6. Minge replied:

    Personally, I like nothing better than something creamy on my hot pie.

  7. matty03 replied:

    Minge — Funny you should mention that — I just read that about you in a chat room. I wasn’t in that room. It just showed up on my computer all of the sudden.

  8. Kevin replied:

    What? I never read a blog post about pie. I haven’t had pie in 20 years.

  9. matty03 replied:

    Kevin! Pie is really good! I especially like chocolate pie!

  10. Tim replied:

    Yeah, I often wonder what will happen if/when I get old …. like, if I don’t have kids, and as you get older your friends and family all ‘pass away’, and who’s left? There are so many lonely old people out there ….. it’s kinda scary really. It’s good that there’s people out there like that waitress, who don’t mind listening, even if they’re not really interested.

  11. matty03 replied:

    Tim – Yeah, lately I find myself thinking a lot about the fact that my path seems not to lead to children or family in any traditional sense. Still not sure how I feel about it. On so many levels.

    I find the idea of old age scary. I think we all do — if we’re honest. But, if we’re lucky, it comes to all of us.

    And, I’m confident that there will be people there to listen and lean on. Well, pretty confident.

  12. ing replied:

    I imagine that the soup tomorrow night will be a precursor. But remember, you have to feed it to me! I will arrive wrapped in a blanket, so that I can’t move my arms or legs. Because that’s how I imagine it for our old age.

    When we are old, I will lie there, immobile, shooting off my mouth. You will occasionally slip me a spoonful of soup. When you leave to have a diet coke at Orphan Andy’s, I will continue talking, as if you are still there. When you come home again, I will still be talking, and you will feed me more soup.

    Then, one day, I will drown in a spoonful of soup. You will shed a lone tear, and I’ll be carried out on a pine board, wrapped in my blanket, my mouth wide open as if waiting for a little soup, or maybe as if I was on the verge of shooting off my mouth. After I’m taken away, your house will seem very quiet.

    Good-bye, old soupfriend! That’s what you’ll say.

  13. matty03 replied:

    Ing – Oh my God — you just totally bummed me out! Stop that! And, I feel all the worse because I just had to cancel our plans for tomorrow night on account of work! But, No! That is not how it will be.

    We both know that I will be the one in need of soup. I will be unable to move from neck down due to my stroke suffered during the Goldfrapp reunion show 2050. …well, we’re all going to be living longer! Anyway, after the stroke inflicted by my dancing with my walker you will have to take care of me because you will be in well-fit shape. I won’t be shooting off my mouth, tho. I will be in a state of dementia. In my head you will be Barbra and I will be stunned that Babs is feeding me soup. …when I go, you will set me a-fire on a barge for you a Woman of Sparta. I shall out on the Pacific. You shall not cry. Women of Sparta do not do that. No. You will stand on the shore with B and the two of you shall sing “Ride A White Horse” …don’t forget your pole.

  14. ing replied:

    I will never forget my pole, Matty, and I will disinfect it in your honor.

  15. hot lunch replied:

    i love diners.

    and really, who doesn’t love Anne Murray?

    “you and me, we got a destiny, starting tonight (night, night)…now and forever…”

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