Monday, 26 February 2018

Magic mushroom

In Victoria, weather forecasts are a wee bit less useful than in Hades, due to what I call "mushroom-cap clouds".

Not mushroom clouds. Now, that would be a real problem.

Yesterday, for example, I had walked into Cook Street Village to retrieve a parcel from the Post Office on a fresh and sunny morning. Having done so, I was standing on the sidewalk, juggling my parcel and bag, when I realized my phone was ringing. (One of my great Christmas blessings is a new FitBit which, because it's linked to my phone, vibrates when calls and texts come in. This is a great boon, because my winter coat is an effective phone muffler.)

Elder daughter was calling from Hades, having been blindsided by a work-related lapse in diplomacy on the part of her boss. I put my burdens on a bus stop bench, and when I realized she needed a lengthier vent, started trudging toward the coffee shop, only half-aware of how dark the skies had suddenly become.

It was one of those mushroom-cap clouds: broad, vaguely circular, brownish-grey. The rain drove me quickly into the patio of the Moka House - where a tall, elderly gentlemen, in his cohorts' uniform of leather jacket and jeans, dropped the door in my face.

With a bit of further juggling, I managed to re-open the door, held it open so two further men of a similar vintage could exit, then watched as oblivious elderly gentleman (perhaps "gentleman" is a misnomer) took one of the two remaining tables. I grabbed the other one, and sat to hear elder daughter out, discussing strategems and chatting about the impossibly girly baby shower she was to attend that afternoon.

Feelings soothed, I got my coffee and set out my work. Two tables away, two fellows sat down, got out their guitars and started playing. It was rather like a conversation between their instruments while the rest of us listened in. They leaned toward each other intently, improvising. I thought of St├ęphane Grapelli, then stopped myself. No, he played violin.

Got out my phone, that amazing pocket-computer, and found Django Reinhardt.

Eventually, the staff got the hint and turned off the piped-in rock music. Outside, the sun shone once again on the shiny street.

A tall bassist arrived, unwrapping his instrument, which matched him in height, but it was time for me to go. I stopped by their table, and told them how much I enjoyed their music. One of the guitarists, his face suddenly youthful when not concentrating, grinned up at me: "Right on!"

I don't think I've heard "Right on!" in some time. Ah, Victoria....

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