I made dinner tonight consisting of: seared New England jumbo scallops; tricolor rotini pasta with fresh garlic and olive oil; and fresh green beans with butter and fines herbes. I do like to cook a good meal.
Went to D’s and Ruba in turn. I’m trying to get used to Movie Guy Dan’s way of telling a story which is in fits and starts with lots of digressions that go nowhere, and fragmented narrative that’s always getting derailed. Plus twitches. He’s just enough older than me that his “back in the day” stories are all about the big kids who were cool that I couldn’t hang out with, so I’m always hungry for the tale. But damn, it’s a frustrating conversational style.
Ruba was the usual trance-inducing mess. Fifteen-year-old rebel teenagers, twentyish blown-sideways-through-life people playing pool and smoking with “what the fuck happened” looks on their faces, and a rotating cast of alarming old men. The guy I call “Super-Catholic” was there. He’s a sixtyish guy with close-trimmed grey hair who wears Mr. Rogers cardigans and sensible shoes. The one time I overheard his conversation at D’s he was trying to get some college guys excited about the Catholic Church in a very Reach Out To The Generations With Youth Group Training way. He alarms me.
The pool playing and the weird lighting and the excess caffeine and the general Ruba atmosphere put me into a trance state in which I watched a rogues gallery play pool to an increasingly peculiar soundtrack: Billy Squier’s “In the Dark”, Van Hagar, Lionel Richie’s “Stuck On You” (worst song ever), and a long painful set of Easy Rockin’ Hits concluding with “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. All for the benefit of the manager, a perky Middle Eastern lady in her late fifties. The kids weren’t impressed. I was pretty shocked when that awful Hungry Eyes song from “Dirty Dancing” came on. It’s like she was trying to clear the joint with music that I found painfully unhip twenty years ago.
I like watching people play pool. The rhythm of it, and trying to predict the shots, and watching them try to predict the shots, all of it. I like Ruba generally, because I’m such a complete outsider there that I don’t feel left out. I can just watch the circus go by in awe. Rich suburban boys with tough-guy neck tattoos, part-time porn stars, defrocked college athletes, half-reformed skinheads, dorkwad normals huffing on hookahs, teenaged girls trying to look older and more sophisticated, and every kind of almost-loser Orange County has to offer. There’s nothing like it.