Friday, March 19, 2010

Portraits - Part 3 - Springtime in Moose Tooth

-  Oh, he was good.  Spectacular, even.  Professionally groomed, I'd say.  He had short curly brown hair, sparkling dark eyes, and artist's hands that floated through the air when he spoke.  His age, rounded down, was twenty.  His smile glistened, and when he deemed the timing right, he flicked it on like a light switch.  The tie knot was tight and straight, the white shirt new or starched, his sweater brushed wool in formal gray.  Not many folks in Alaska wear dress wool, but he was pulling it off.  The person he was selling to had a dour expression, but was being won over.  Every face in the Jim Carey portfolio was being dealt with deft plasticity.  First coy, then boisterous laughter.  He was SO confident; and he was winning.  He was... polished. 
-  Across the room, a bicyclist ate vegetarian.  Middle aged,  round Lennon glasses, a graying beard, pink knit hat with tasseled ear flaps, a loud coarse Scandinavian sweater, and tight lycra pants that delineated not only his package, but his flat, almost non-existant butt.  But people noticing were seeing his shoes; faded red plastic crocs with no heels and big holes like pale flesh colored polka-dots. 
-  Near the door, a heavy couple ate a heavy meal.  The man had dark red hair and a perfectly manicured matching beard.  His head shape and size were that of a buffalo, and his demeanor the same.  He was bullying the timid waitress, glaring as he complained loudly about the soggy crust on his pizza. 
-  Near the big picture window in the back of the room was a boisterous family from the Alaskan bush.  They were ten strong, and celebrating something, perhaps a birthday, or the return of the sun.  At the head of the table, Dad was putting on a show, dinging his beer glass and toasting loudly.  He was a large man, large voice, large forearms, large belly, large scraggly beard.  He'd taken off his stained hooded work jacket, but not his crumpled ball cap, or his frayed flannel lined shirt.  His joy spread across the table, the adults giggling at him, the children excitedly taking in the strangeness of their surroundings, guarding their slices of pizza. 
-  Two tie-dyed watresses worked the room.  The smaller girl with dark hair had a round face, honest walk and smile, and a confident, serious manner.  She flowed, minding her tables without being obtrusive, conversing with the customers that prompted, but silently caring for others conducting business or wishing to be left alone.  She was reserved, but her eyes danced, and her posture and clear sharp speech suggested strength, like a "takes no crap" note was pasted to her forehead. 
-  The other waitress was more geisha-like in her approach.  Like many girls who deem themselves too tall, she slouched, and ducked her head when she listened or spoke.  She crossed her hands and backed away from the tables when she'd taken an order.  Her eyes turned dreamy when Salesman flirted, but welled with tears when she shuffled away from Buffaloman, nervously stroking her pigtail as she returned his food. 
-  A glance in the four directions of the brewhouse showed four men raising their glasses simultaneously.  Salesman alternated pizza bits on a fork with measured swallows of red ale, careful to dab both sides of his mouth each time with a napkin.  Vegan swirled the lime in his light ale and sipped, sampling each taste as if it were his first.  Buffalo bit at his dark stout, slarping audibly and wiping his mustache with his sleeve.  BushDad took long draughts, examined the foam lines on the glass, then poured from the pitcher and took another.  A ten year old at the table proudly downed half of his root beer in one pass, leaving the foam on his lip just like his father. 
-  As if a silent alarm had sounded, four sets of eyes searched for the restroom sign, four glasses were lowered, and four men stood. 
-  Salesman said something apologetic to his client and winked, actually winked, before he danced Astaire-like down the aisle, sparkling at every woman who caught his eye along the way. 
-  Vegan shifted the crocs he'd removed back onto his bony feet, slid out of his booth, stretched his arms high, and rolled his head in circles both ways before he strode strode away like a nordic skier. 
-  Buffalohead rose slowly and painfully, adjusted himself, then waddled exageratedly bowlegged between the rows of tables.  The tall waitress dove out of his way, but the little server, carrying his pizza, saw him and froze in the middle of the aisle, challenging with her stare.  The standoff lasted several seconds.  He finally heaved a huge disgusted sigh, and worked his way out of the passage.  "Excuse ME!", he snarled at her.  "Okay," she said pleasantly, and took the platter to his table while he struggled his way to the john. 
-  Bushdad burst urgently and comically from his chair and hurriedly walk-ran to the bathroom smirking, mumbling and apologizing to everyone and noone in particular while his family smiled lovingly after him. 
-  I believe that a great deal can be known about an establishment by observing their greeting and leave-taking, and how well they design and maintain their facilities, including restrooms.  This restaurant does a wonderful job, and I was caught once studying the abalone tile mosaic on the Moose Tooth bathroom wall.  The facility is beautiful if not spectacular, and clean, but small; too small for the crew of four full grown that gathered there with business at hand.  I can only imagine the exchange that took place, as I'm rather glad not to have attended, but I can report that each of the four was smiling when they left, looking toward their tables and rolling their eyes, and I have never seen an entire restaurant of patrons more interested in a return parade from the loo.
-Aside: My co-fly-on-the-wall believes the man with the large head may have had a medical condition in his nether regions causing discomfort he couldn't help but share.  Thinking back, she's probably right. That's the thing about her.  She believes man is intrinsically good, and there is always a reason for lousy behavior.  I say we are a diverse group with choices in how we act and portray ourselves.  We are not always good, or bad, or genuine.  But we certainly are interesting!

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