Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors

Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors

It has the appearance of Any Street in any simulation of a disheveled Van Nuys even though it’s crouched in the bowels of the tastefully extravagant ocean village of Santa Barbara, a real “surf’s up” with someone reading the Wall Street Journal whose most likely currently or otherwise been profiled in Forbes, yet, as I say, it’s in the bowels of. Anyway, when I say that it flavors of Van Nuys, what I mean is that this particular area projects the same sort of embarrassment, economically so, reflected of course in its architecture, or rather econo-tecture, where the buildings stand as if in embarrassment to their creators who no doubt live off in the hills that surround and strangle this arena—the well-to-do-whatever-they-so-desire in the fairy-tail cum real gentrification of Santa Barbara known as Montecito-land.

            It’s early morning and already the fog, typical of this time of the year, is slithering down the hillside ready to strangle this already depressed area in those shades of gray that I’m finding particularly musing at present. The muse entails the title of a famed work of Anti-art by, Marcel Duchamp (Dadaist), entitled, Bride Stripped Bare by its Bachelors. Go figure. Apparently someone else does as well, forego the title. I watch as he very carefully sets his cup of coffee down on one of those tipsy turvy types of outdoor café style tables outside a coffee house, one of those tables we smokers are relegated to—those of us who are banished from the kingdom of comfy accommodations. This particular house of java, as is the one I’m seated at, is one of those sixties, commune-style rendezvous, whose interior is unilaterally punctuated by overstuffed chairs and couches of the kind that seem to have been manufactured used for just such a purpose and place. However, as is the case with smokers such as we, of whom are banned from the kingdoms of convenience and accommodation, we universally must suffer tipsy-tables and hard-seated chairs whose legs just cannot seem to jointly agree on a common plane of reference, whereupon his juggling around, moving the table this way and that, and this again, until finally having acquiesced to the authoritarian principles of gravity and uncompromising circumstances, he then very carefully sets down his cup upon the table—ever so gently. Apparently, at least somewhat satisfied that it will not fall over, he then begins to forage around inside his backpack for what I intuitively know will produce a cigarette. I know instinctively that it will be what it certainly turns out to be as well: that of a filtered cigarette, a cheap filtered cigarette at that, and I also know what his next move will be, and is. He very deftly tears off the filter. It’s important to note, as I’ve pegged him for a Camel smoker who, like myself, can’t afford the real thing, so he does what I do, which is to tear off the filter of a cheap brand, whatever is on sale for the day in hand, displaying a certain of deftness for doing so that is equal in fact to my own. Just one quick twist of the wrist while firmly grasping the filter between thumb and forefinger, and snap! 

            It’s a gray day, as I’ve already alluded to, and to top it off, it’s Thanksgiving Day—oh yeah! A day that seems to miss some of us—a family stay at home for some with relatives you normally can’t stand any other day of the year. His next move, which is to me just as predictable as the last, is to reach back into his pack to retrieve a lap top, setting this upon the same rickety table, yet in absolute reverence, and certainly not without undo weariness of the close proximity of electronics to a potential liquidy demise, he activates it while taking a long thoughtful pull off his fake Camel while in waiting for Word to do its thing. He begins to look around, a bachelor looking for a bride, searching without even knowing he’s doing so. He focuses his attention across the street where I am, at another coffee house, and probably notices my filtered cigarette stripped bare of its filter, and my activated lap-top . . . I’m sure that he’s wondering just what I’m wondering, another bachelor seeking unbridled prose—gazing off into the distant hills reflected off the grimy windows of a coffee house at the gray fog flowing like a bridal train—for provocation.

 C. Angelo Caci.

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