Sunday, November 4, 2012
There's this place I like to visit not far from where I live, about three miles by crow, six miles by Ford Fiesta, and much further away than that both financially and socially.
Al is my calling card to this extremely wealthy little hilltop. Because he's handsome in that generic black lab sort of way, when we walk the hood, people think we're neighbors. They beep-beep the horn, stop us along the way and say, "So good to see you again; it's been toooo long."
You're telling me.
"I know," I say. "And you look great!" And they generally do, too. Look great, I mean.
I drove up there yesterday, with Albert riding shotgun. On the way, it grew painfully obvious my shotgun had been rolling around in some dead organic material or another. I'm guessing squirrel, but then, I'm an optimist.
Oh Albert, I sigh, zooming down the windows, what will the neighbors think?
Albert doesn't mind the smell, dogs never do. They wear stink like merit badges, and favor a complex palette of odors -- odors that tell a dramatic story preferably one that ends in death and decay. We humans try to keep life's rich pageant out of our nasal passages.
We're better at the visual stuff. Dogs are not amused by complex images; Albert, for example, hates representational art, particularly animal statues. They look right, but smell wrong, especially the private parts. Should he eat, chase, fight, or hump them? Only after multiple visits to a particular statue can he finally relax his standards and enjoy a "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" moment.
A walk of a couple miles from the Rose Bowl brings us here. It looks like the aftermath of a violent head-on collision between the Titanic and a mountain cabin.
My favorite houses share a sloppy sentimentality, they're places where Jo, Amy, Beth, and whatshername could light the fire and wait for Marmee.
Mid-century moderns would die of shame if they ever had so much as a lace curtain or comfortable chair.
I can't smell this mid-century's private parts, but after multiple visits, have grown to appreciate what's going on conceptually. In a ceci n'est pas une maison kind of way.