Autumn is upon us, I think sitting at the bar sipping overpriced brandy. I’m already cold when September has yet to leave the station. If only summer could be extended till around March I’d be happy…is that too much to ask?
One finally understands why those over sixty move to Florida.
It’s not for the grapefruit.
The moment I walk in, Eddie the bartender tells me I look pale and tired. What he really means is, I look like shit. Okay, so I could use a brighter blush, but it’s autumn after all, and I’ve yet to switch my make-up over. Yes, it’s seasonal…your warpaint increases when the leaves begin to fall.
A beautiful black girl is seated at the other end of the bar reading Proust. Now she’s not fooling me, it’s merely a prop so some erudite European thinks she’s educated. We know that trick. Camille never left the house without Tolstoy under her arm at that age, so not only would she appear bright, but suicidal too. It was a class she took…how to meet a better class of men to come to your rescue. Of course they never said hotel bars were the best venue, but we girls take what we like and leave the rest, as they suggest in 12 Step.
Men love sexy women who read, providing they don’t read in their presence which is why the prop business works so well. You can’t read and have sex at the same time, unless of course you’re terribly clever.
Monsieur Proust worked like a charm because in less than an hour our mock ebony academic had a live one with deep pockets. He looked so rich and affluent you could have sold him at auction. He was shiny, as if he were just buffed with a clean shammy.
I sigh remembering the English professor I met schlepping around Jane Austen everywhere I went. I don’t think I fell so fast in love then the day I met J.
He taught me all there was to know about Jane so I never, ever had to read her. This was way before I actually became her loyal fan. I was all of 30, thinking pretending to be smart and well read would land me someone like him. It did, but only for a few afternoons since, yes…J was married. Of course, professors are always taken with wives from Westchester and kids who will all get into good schools.
I think about his wavy, black hair falling Kennedyesque across his forehead as I watch Proust do his magic across the bar.
“Now you look sad,” Eddie says.
“I’m not sad, just wistful,” I reply, knowing he’ll have to Google the word on his smartphone.
After another brandy which has left me thoroughly looped, I signal for my check.
Not feeling particularly larcenous this afternoon, I call Eddie over to tell him he only charged me for one Hennessy.
“I know,” he said, “the others on me, because you’re so mournful and reflective.”
Hmm, did he indeed look up wistful, or does he carry Websters around as his literary prop of choice?