Islands on Lombard Street.

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I’m writing too much, I seem to live to write.  (Is this a symptom of mania?  Very likely.  Shoot me.)  But the difficulty is that the more I write, the LESS I am on the streets of St. John’s.  The less I’m on the streets means less inspiration.  A big trouble is that Storybook Theatre is closed for the season.  You know, Lombard Street’s tavern fed, sun-drenched table fests of last summer.  Now there was inspiration.  I must go back to the streets for inspiration.

I wander down Lombard: Men grumble close together in front of the ten step meeting hall. Farther on, I see someone cleaning leaves from the alcove entrance of an empty store.   He throws a blanket into the gutter.  To make it dirty, wet and unusable.  Practical or punitive?

Like the storm tossed Oregon coast: your gear is at peril.  Never turn your back on the ocean.  Never turn your back on the street.

A few minutes later, I hear The Everly Brothers singing a ‘50s hit.  It’s Patty’s Home Plate Cafe and Time Warp, Inc.  Imagine a 50’s era Woolworth with a Diner section.  Retro style.  But Patty’s isn’t really retro. The fixtures are old, the soiled ceiling tile looks like underwear.  Aged, and not as graceful at aging as The Grand Canyon, but just as the Grand Canyon is ancient, it is never retro.  Patty’s is like that.  Eternally in the fantasy world of Pleasantville.  In a good way.

–I notice The Three Wise men from Gunas Loop: Tommy, Roger, and Southwick at a booth.  I join them. It seems that Tommy got a strange e-mail threat mentioning demons coming out of the fourth portal of GaGa that will shrivel his pinocchio.

There is a Diner section: The food is good, and straight out of the fifties.  The waitress is the fifties image of our collective older sister: recently married, starting a family and, when not on shift, likely chews bubble gum.  The chicken fried steak is my favorite.

–Roger agrees that a shrivelled pinocchio is pretty bad, but with Tommy’s exaggerations, his pinocchio must be enormous.  Maybe even in the Guinness book of exaggerations.  

Behind the dining section, the store is less definite:  Cosmetics, yard goods, unassembled manikins, shelves of rental DVD’s.  If you look, you might find a 1950’s set of aluminum cups in their original container.   Patty’s shifts like Hogwarts, and you swear that this is just part of a giant store stuck in theEisenhowerera:  60 years ago.

–Southwick holds the gypsy’s curse to his head: "Wooo, wooo, wooojy, Take this ticket back to boojy" He continues:  "I have successfully sent this curse back to the 11th dimension of Bogus.  If any demons come, I will personally tear them new assholes. Spiritually."   Tommy shouts "Hot damn! Holy Demons!"

Over in the corner of Patty’s the guys who rocked to"Maybellene"and"Shake, Rattle and Roll" are now rocking in their mobility devices.  The gals are gathered around another table chirping away just as they did back then, but of course these seventy year olds are too young to have been hot chicks back.

Clearly Patty’s is doing things all wrong!  This business must be failing!  Call in the City Council!!

Just like us aging rockers the Home Plate must be on it’s last mobility device.  Can they really be making any money in St. John’s with this non-alcoholic formula?

–Tommy is now strategizing with his long experience as the Ethics Chair at Waterfront U which can be summed up with: “Eh?”  Roger is definite in his response: “Buh!”

And then I notice the Pizza Guydeliveringa Calzone.  The cook chops it up.  Puts it on a plate, and gives it to all the customers at the counter.  Free food? From another restaurant?   An odd random act of kindness for a business, yes?  The owner gives a pastry to a homeless man.   Without turning it into a photo-op.

You get the feeling that Patty’s has been doing things this way since Buddy Holly’s airplane was still in the sky.  If there is enough prosperity for stability, excess can be used for better purposes than mere business cosmetics.

–Southwick had more of a “Bring it on” attitude.  Roger and Tommy reminded Southwick that he had never been shot in a street brawl, so he should stick with “Buh!”

Patty’s Home Plate is being run as a love affair with the people of St. John’s.  And just like them, me, us, (but of course not you,Friend,) it may be run down, but very much still running.

Is this an island of business stability on Lombard?  Like an outcropping on a stormy shore, solitary, doing it’s own thing, with shifting sands of failed businesses all around.  Shine on, Patty’s!

–Tommy, in a rare move of compromise, switched to “Buh!” and they had consensus. 

Consensus is wonderful

that's all--