by Andy Weddington
Thursday, 29 August 2013
"Reason is the natural order of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning." C. S. Lewis
Here we are end of the month and heading into a holiday weekend so some lighter fare.
True story - happened a couple of days ago. There's no way to make this stuff up - impossible.
As the sun was setting on a beautiful Tuesday a hostess at Village Pizza, by the water on Coronado, seated us at an outside table.
A partition - lower third plywood painted a nondescript color and the rest clear glass reaching the seven feet or so mark - provided a windbreak and separated diners from pedestrians milling about the sidewalks and sundry shops. A sign advised: Do Not Feed The Birds. Fishing line strung like an erratic spider web overhead kept birds from flying in but not necessarily from dropping in.
Our table, like all others, was draped with a red and white checked washable cloth. An umbrella pole was centered through the table and a chromed wire condiments basket, adorned with a diamond-shaped McIlhenny Tabasco Sauce badge, abutted the pole. Momentarily I thought about Avery Island, that a McIlhenny was a Marine, and made mental note we needed to add a bottle of Tabasco to the shopping list.
A couple of minutes later an attractive young waitress introduced herself. She was trim, appeared fit, and wore "chic eyeglasses" - the eye-wear comment appreciated as she confessed they were new and it was the look she was going for. Looking good at that age is important.
"Rayna" took our drink order and left while we bantered dinner fare.
Back with a glass of red for my wife and an ice cold draught beer, Rayna, busy, gave us more time to relax and decide.
The sidewalks bustled - walkers; joggers; stroller and walker pushers; dog walkers; skateboarders; and bicyclists. Both genders. All ages. All colors. Fishermen were on the pier. A small group paddled kayaks - they were coming ashore. The aircraft carrier Midway, now a museum, docked to our distant front.
Amidst a big swallow of cold beer, I nearly spewed it all over my wife. Laughing, I nearly choked. A passerby - a woman in a black T-Shirt - had caught my eye.
I pointed her out to my wife who laughed when I told her what crossed my mind.
Still laughing, Rayna approached. "Rayna, time for some humor?" She said, "Of course, but it better be funny!"
"I believe so."
"See the woman outside directly in front of us in the black T-Shirt?"
Rayna, "The one facing us holding a young girl's hand and talking to a guy?"
"Yes. I say 165 to 170. What do you think?"
Rayna smiling big and giggling cocked her hips, put her left extended index finger to the left corner of her mouth as if deep in thought, and said, "Hmm, I don't know, maybe 180!"
And we discussed that a moment. Then, still smiling, she was off to tend to another table.
The woman in the black T-Shirt, of generous size, was wearing blue jeans - at least a couple sizes too small. I do not believe it possible she donned them alone. Nor do I think one helper would have been enough. She was spilling from them.
But it was the black T-Shirt, also on the small side, that caught my attention.
Across her ample chest in big upper case bold white letters was - GUESS?
I was not thinking her date of birth, age, bra size, astrological sign, nor her daughter's date of birth. And it did not occur to me she was promoting a fashion nor making a fashion statement.
Considering her choice of undersized clothing revealing, well, her ample figure, what could GUESS? possibly imply other than inviting public participation to GUESS? her weight?!
So, 165 or 170 hit me. Had the partition had easy egress I would have strolled over and guessed. And surely found out whether she, the guy, and anyone else within earshot had a sense of humor.
I think Rayna was closer with her 180 - women know these things.
I have a picture but decided not to include it.
The woman in the black T-Shirt made a lasting impression - mostly because of punctuation; that question mark. Had it been an exclamation point, period, or nothing at all she'd likely not have caught my attention.
And my GUESS? is Rayna will remember her (and maybe us), too - at least for a while.
Oh, dinner? A Mediterranean salad and five ingredients thin crust pizza it was.
And afterwards to world famous MooTime on Orange Avenue for ice cream.
Chocolate? No. GUESS? again!
At the bookstore beside MooTime a young man saw my black USMC T-Shirt, said he liked it, introduced himself, and told me he has orders to report to OCS in January. He said his father was Army and his uncle's a Marine - helo pilot. But the young man wants to be an infantryman. I told him I knew a little something about that. He asked if I had any advice for succeeding at OCS. "Yes. Being physically fit is critical. Take one training event at a time, one day at a time - do not look ahead. Keep a positive attitude no matter what. Remember, the Marines screening and evaluating you are experts - they will find your weaknesses. Prove you are worthy of the opportunity to lead Marines."
Ian was about 5'10" and 170 lbs - he looked fit and his clothes fit. He told me he scored 285 (out of 300) on the physical fitness test recently administered by the officer recruiter - the OSO.
OCS is not for everyone. Constant stress - physical and mental - sorts out who should be Marine officers, and who should not. He promised to let me know if he makes it.
We shook hands and I wished him well.
My GUESS? - Ian makes it.