Open-air cafe musings. Nothing makes sense.

May 22, 2009

Sitting in an open-air cafe this week I saw three things that captivated my attention. A hideous baby, ridiculous fashion decisions, and a penny on the sidewalk.

Let’s start with the baby…oh, I also saw 7 kids leashed together and pulled along the causeway by a rather large woman who was presumably a teacher or aide. But I digress and ugly children are fun to ridicule.

So, this baby entered the cafe in the backpack of a tall man. I could see that the child was of average size and had to wait until it was extricated from the pack before I nearly lost my breakfast.

As the woman pulled the baby out and turned it around, I was assaulted by whispy black hair, an extreme – Stephen King-esque forehead, and a face that looked like the hind quarters of a badger.

BTW, I only know the badger-parts image from too much time spent on Animal Planet.

Quickly averting my eyes to save my vision and my sanity – yes, still having night and daymares – I evaluated the parents. They were pretty normal looking. To confess, the child had the father’s eyes and the mother’s hair color, so I assumed it was their biological child. But I  couldn’t help wondering why they had accepted it upon checking out of the hospital.

Seriously, we’re accustomed to returning everything from a pair of underwear to chewing gum. Why would leaving a child at the incubator room be any different?

Speaking of underwear, let’s move on to fashion faux pas. But these aren’t simply faux pas, they’re FAUX PAS!

Starting with the 28-year-old woman at the table in front of me, I can see more crack down the back of her jeans than I’d ever find at a pipe-fitter’s union meeting. It’s not simply a matter of letting jeans ride low, these were practically open in the back. Not that it would make it better, but there was no hint of underwear (thong or otherwise) in her ill-advised trousers.

Next up, let’s talk muffintops. No, not the tasty treats you might pay extra for at Panera or other bakery. I’m talking about the overflow flesh/fat/bulges that sprout between a woman’s pants and top. It’s bad enough that the crop-top shirts some women wear allow you to almost see under their breasts, but do we really need to see these rounded flesh patties surrounding a woman’s waist?

I concede that some men also sport muffintops, but guys are so fashion backward that they just untuck their shirt and effectively hide the offending flesh.

Lastly, let’s talk about footwear. Really. When did it become acceptable for anyone to wear flip-flops to formal functions, job interviews, on scooters and anywhere but the locker room or the beach? They’re pervasive.

The other day I attended a reception for Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo. I saw no fewer than 10 pairs of flip-flops in the room. And the event had an audience of about 100 people.

What’s next? Will people just decide they want to go barefoot when and where it suits them? That’s certainly not putting your best foot forward.

Speaking of moving your feet, sidewalk strollers are often oblivious to the world around them. Which brings me to the tale of the penny.

On the brick sidewalk outside the cafe, I spied a shiny penny sitting tails-up. Instead of grabbing it to ensure good luck for the rest of my day, I watched the coin as nearly 43 people walked over, on and around it.

After 15 minutes of watching, I heard the coin clink. An older woman has started to pick up the coin and then realized it was only a penny and dropped it back to the sidewalk.

Another 10 minutes went by before someone finally grabbed it and pocketed the penny.

What’s going on. The value of a penny is still the same in relation to other coins in our arsenal. None of our coins might be worth much, but why not collect coins where you can and see what they add up to?

Where’s the line? If you drop a nickel do you keep on walking? What about a dime? What about two nickels? What about a nickel, a dime and a penny?

You’re walking the same path, you’re living the same life. Why not pause for a moment and grab the coin?

So here I sit in an open-air cafe thinking about people. Musing about ugly babies, fashion retards and individuals who are indifferent to microwealth.

I sit here trying to make sense – or cents – of it all.

More to come…