Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I wish I had some gloves. Mittens, even. Or thick gloves with the fingers cut off--I'd feel very Blade Runner, then.

Now, I know that compared to where most of you lot are now, this temperature around me is practically the surface of the sun. But I think it's rather cold, and I seem to be one of the only ones around here who seriously thinks so.

I've got layers of clothes piled on me, but my bare hands have become floppy frozen hamburger paddies.

I ate breakfast at Einstein bagels again this morning. No one knows how to act in there anymore--the counter spreads pretty symmetrically across a corner of the shop, and they've removed the "Order Here" sign. So I might be blissfully daydreaming in the queue, free to ignore the corporeal world, when I notice a fierce redheaded businesswoman giving me bristly indignant glances as she shuffles from the opposite direction.

But I have the old knowledge. I know where the order sign used to be. And I see that ordering and paying still goes generally in the same order. But do the employees correct anyone? No, they just take 'em as they come, from whatever direction they come, and my somnolent routine is disrupted.

The queue is strange as a social venue. There's an unspoken protocol, and a narrow avenue for unspoken confrontation.

At the bank, I usually read a book while waiting, and to-day I had Caitlin R. Kiernan's The Five of Cups. Next to me, an athletic girl in a short, bright blue nylon skirt and an oversized white t-shirt seemed unsatisfied that I could monitor the progress of the queue and read at the same time. Subtle body language conveyed this--from the rhythm with which she edged closer to me, to her rigid trajectory.

But do not get me started on they who can't actually stay in queue, but think they are when they're standing well off to your right, left, two people ahead of where they're supposed to be, and leaning on the counter. An old woman dressed in black behind me, upon noticing such antics displayed by someone in front of me, remarked that such a thing never happened in New York.

I think the secret to San Diego's social malaise is its artificial easy attitude. People like to think they're laid back, but they're really just trying to cut in line. That's what I says, and I'm an anti-social recluse. So there, yeah.

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