The new boy brought me to a café nestled strangely in Chinatown. It's the only place in a 4 block radius that doesn't sell pho. What it does sell is lifestlye. It's aiming for the sweet spot of chic-and-trendy-but-not-trying-too-hard-but-hard-enough-to-justify-charging-$8-for-a-cup-of-coffee-that's-not-even-fair-trade. It’s the kind of coffee house that is proudly, fiercely independent, decorated with dream catchers, a collection of porcelain owls, and mismatched tables and chairs that I wouldn’t be surprised to learn were leftovers from the set of The Wonder Years.
A leopard print chair distinguished our wobbly table from all the others, and once seated we were visited by a gypsy woman with a basket full of pygmy instruments – I got a tiny bell, and Boy got finger cymbals. “It’s not much, but it’s participatory,” the gypsy woman said by way of explanation.
Participatory? Before we could properly digest this thought (or contemplate bolting), the gypsy lady and all the glorious layers of her gauzy skirt climbed up on the stage, slung her antlered guitar around her neck, and hence commenced an intense affair most commonly known as “café rock.”
Yes, her guitar had antlers.
Yes, her sidekick played such various instruments as the organ, the pan flute, and the wind chimes (these in particular meant that we should all join in with our own “participatory” contributions, eye-rolling optional.)
Yes, the gypsy woman closed her translucent eyelids, sighed an ethereal breath, and said “Now I’m going to play some Dolly Parton.”
“I hope it’s Jolene,” whispered Boy, as sarcastically as a whisper can be.
“It’s Jolene” said the gypsy woman, and so it was. And about halfway through the flakiest excuse for Dolly that I’ve ever heard, the coffee grinder behind the bar, beside the bucket marked POTATO that was literally only big enough for the one and thus aptly labelled, made a noise oddly akin to my Katy Perry ringtone. Normally I’d be relieved that it wasn’t my cell phone interrupting Great Art, but at this point I’d been plotting my getaway for nearly an hour, rueing my perch of high visibility, and was more or less numb with Great Art and was intensely craving a Great Escape. Or a brownie, which looked delicious behind its glass dome, but probably tasted of commitment (for at least as long as it takes to eat a brownie, which to you may be a modest ten minutes or so, but when the music devolved from lyrics to odd throat noises and the clanging of cutlery against green glass bottles, every painful second counts.)
Mercifully, we capitalized on gypsy woman turning her back on the audience because “lyrics are hard to remember when you’re emotional” and we fled the scene, preferring to roam the frigid February night air than to rock out over herbal tea for one more minute than we’d already had.
My mother used to tell us If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
But my mother never said nothin about blog posts.