Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Tender Vittles

Many interesting things on the go tonight at my local coffee brewing establishment...Oh, I know what you're thinking, "cats don't drink coffee do they?" Most cats don't actually, but occasionally I like to pop in here and press my ear to the ground...

At the moment, on my immediate left, a man and woman are having a hushed voice discussion regarding someone's ex-wife. The woman just started a sentence and the man stopped her, firmly stipulating "I don't want to know. I've heard it all already", Well frick, I want to hear it. Spill the goods.

The man has some sort of strange compulsion. He just can't stop touching his face. He has now dragged the woman into his freakshow, and is pointing out the inadequacy of her bone structure. His fire engine red buzz cut would seem to indicate that he has some inadequacies of his own.

Now they are talking about durian, a very smelly Asian fruit. It’s a delicacy in Malaysia, but so stinky that you are not allowed to eat it in public places. I’m not joking, and five years ago I might've found this interesting, but at this point in my life durian is passé. They’ve lost me.

On my right, three people. Two francophones and one anglo, with some rudimentary french skills that he just briefly tried to show off. The francos quickly shut him down and the whole convo switched to English. Why does that always happen? I can't help but wish they had forced him to muddle through his entire organic food store business plan in French. Perhaps it's for the best. It might've been too distracting. As it stands, they've just lost me...

Oh boy, things have just heated up considerably. In from the blustery winter wonderland outside has walked Troy (I don't even have to invent an alias for this cat). This is a tom that I met about 15 months ago, right here in this very coffee bar. I was sitting one seat over studying with my then roommate. Troy walked in, and we made eye contact. I watched him give his muffin away to a homeless man who had asked him for money. It was really very sweet.

Then he ordered his coffee to go and left, only to return about 5 minutes later. I swear on my life, he came right over, told me I had great energy and asked me out on a date. Flip sakes. Stunned into stupidity, I sat motionless, staring at him with my jaw firmly planted on my thyroid gland. Eventually (like probably 15 seconds later), the silence was too much. He blurted out that I should stop by his place of work if I was interested (also an organic food store incidentally) and left.

He was pretty hot, so I did check him out the next time I was in his hood. I gave him my number and we made plans to meet for coffee.

Within about 4 minutes of meeting, it became purrfectly apparent that we were from different worlds. Actually, I don't think it's a stretch to say that he was from a different planet! He'd been a bit of a drifter and his current life was an unstructured mix of very early morning yoga and part time jobs at several organic food establishments (I should introduce him to the people sitting next to me). His most redeeming quality was that he was an adoptive father to several wayward cats.

The conversation eventually rolled around to the fact that I was studying medicine, at which time an unmistakable look of shock and pain grew on his face (in a split second, my perfect energy had become to him a repulsive poisonous force field) and he started to verbally free flow about his disdain for, and concerns about, the western approach to medicine. I can handle differences of opinion. In fact, I think they are the spice of life, and I was happy to discuss and extol the virtues of Chinese medicine. I tried to explain that I wasn’t like that, that I hoped to be an open-minded physician with a more holistic view of the body and health. I also explained that he’d probably be pretty happy to land on a Western doctor, when he fell off his bike and busted his arm one day…

Unfortunately, Troy could not reconcile my association with the big bad world of the “body as a sum of its parts”. From that point on, I got the feeling that every time he looked up from his decaffeinated tea, all he could see was me in scrubs, brandishing a huge scalpel, callously performing some type of unnecessary, invasive surgery, whilst disrespecting the sanctity of the body, and verbally abusing patients and their families.

Our coffee date ended, and I hoped I would never hear from him again. He did call me a couple of weeks later to invite me to a potluck dinner at his house. The details seemed a little sketch and fearing a lynching, I lied that I couldn’t make it. From that point on, I never heard from him again.

I’ve dodged him twice over the past year; once at a vegetarian restaurant here in the city, and once at yoga. He probably has dodged me a few times too. Today when he walked in, I noticed he has acquired very long dreadlocks. I don’t think he’s seen me, as he is glued to his laptop and talking on his cell phone: Kind of ironic for someone who was swimming in a giant bowl of puritanical granola just about 1 year ago. But I guess that’s the pace of change these days…

In other news, fire engine hair guy had gone out for a smoke. He has returned and smells like complete shit. Maybe I should ask Troy to talk to him about not poisoning our environment?


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