Oct 4, 2010

Café Society

The following post was written on Wednesday Sept, 29 around 5:00 - 5:30 in the evening. It has been edited for spelling and clarity, spit polished just a touch, but appears largely as first drafted. It is a little departure from my typical writing routine. This is a quick, on-the-scene reportorial effort, rather than the multi-draft editorial mini-essays typically found on the menu here. ..............................................................................................................................................

The setting is quite nice. It is genuinely Autumn. Temperatures are in the low 70’s (which, for my Metric friends, converts to super-comfy). There is a lovely breeze, perhaps just a bit too fresh as my hair is blowing quite randomly across my face, and lodging all too often on my glossed lips. My MacBook, a cool glass of Pinot Grigio and I are loitering around late Wednesday afternoon at Café 19 for a little exercise in real-time blogging.

The effect that I am out to achieve here, deep in the heart of Atlantic Station in Atlanta that of a professional woman catching up on firestorms at the office that happened in my absence. My ensemble is office appropriate, at best, a look that a successful media exec, or perhaps a lawyer might adopt for a day in front of the clients.

I am surrounded by women who are dressed like me, and men who are dressed fairly much as I typically am. People who are loafing, and engaged in business, shoppers and tourists, wait staff and wastrels. The idea today is enjoy my wine, look around, write what I see and feel, and share with you my observations. From an authorial perspective, it is my hope to limit editing as much as possible. I am an embedded reporter today, and will try to deliver just the dry facts of the event.

And I must confess that the facts are as dry as the wine. This I could put down to one of three possibilities.

- People here are just entirely o.k. with a Cross Dresser,
- I am occupying my role well enough to “pass”, or
- We are all too busy to pay mind to the people around us.

Of course it could be a combination of all of these things, and some other unconsidered elements thrown in for good measure. Who’s to know when it comes to Earthlings after all?

My waitress today is the heartbreakingly cute young thing who has taken care of me before. I love her privately. I find it so charming that so often it is the people with the most menacing piercings who are the most gentle and happy people you are likely to meet in a day. But she is doing a little extra, deeper look at me today.

I think, that she has put Petra together with a chap she has served in the past. I think she knows the face under the make up, but wonders whether it is quite the right thing to say, “ ... howdy, you look different today”. Out of politeness, she just takes care of me. Out of politeness, I am happy to be just another customer even though we both know something extra.

The woman at the table next to me, has wonderful fashion sense and very nice legs. She is a little younger then I, and is sporting a smart black pencil skirt, and a very fancy dark faux-lace cardi over a simple camisole. She is in commercial real estate, going by the table chat. Her two male colleagues have just left her table to take a foot tour of this nicely designed, upmarket, but far from fully occupied commercial / retail / residential development. We exchange smiles.

The poor dear, she looks lovely, but there is a mountain of paperwork and a Coke in front of her. As soon as her colleagues go walkies, she is on the phone to her husband to figure out exactly what to do with their child who came down with something yesterday and has had five shots today.

And if this isn’t enough, she is seated at a corner table where the wind blows wild, and every lost rube from Mobile to Monticello is leaning across the patio rail asking her where such and such a restaurant is or how far Ikea is from here. She does look competent, yes, but she is not wearing a name badge, or a tiara and sash. She seems to know her way around here though, and so as soon as she sets somebody off in the right direction, a new couple leans in for help. I have just pulled up the Atlantic Station merchant and services web site on my totally cute Mac. I am going to sign off and go help her out.

To be continued.


There was a lot of good stuff that happened after I stopped taking “live” notes. I will be gathering all of that from memory, putting it back together and serving it up as time allows later this week.


Halle said...

Petra, you do come up with great ideas, and this is wonderful. We get to travel along with you on an adventure. I can hardly wait to hear how your little intervention pans out!

The observation "the people with the most menacing piercings ... are the most gentle and happy people you are likely to meet" is one I have also made over the years.

Couture Carrie said...

Beautifully written, darling!
Love the Warhol-esque pics, too!


Lisa Lisa Lisa said...

I love this "live notes" post!
I think one thing that struck me was that you were so convinced that the waitress recognized you to your former self. She may have felt that you were familiar, but it is highly doubtful that she connected you with the face of your past. I think that rings true with any of us: when we feel that we have run into a ghost from our past.

Petra Bellejambes said...

Halle - thanks! I have been meaning to do this excursion for some time. Hiding in plain view you know? Won't be the last time.

Carrie - you strike me as a Mac kind of gal, so perhaps you have seen this treatment in Photo Booth. Nice to have the built in camera to document the happy moment.

Lisa - you are correct, I should not assume too much. I have had some experience with people instantly putting the two "fronts" together though, so I am giving the waitress credit for the same skills. I have a lot of respect for feminine intuitions...

Tights Lover said...

Loved reading your story (in reverse)!

Typically I'd agree with Lisa (and not just because I like her name). But if I recall correctly you had a similar such instance at a museum a while back where you were recognized.

At any rate, I am very much enjoying living vicariously through you. I'm sure you're loving letting this side of yourself out so much!

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