Friday, October 12, 2007

A Bicentennial Baby

At Ralphs on my way home from a late day at work (maybe later I'll get to a review of either "Michael Clayton" [I can't seem to review George Clooney movies, since "Ocean's Thirteen" went unremarked upon this summer since my reaction of "Meh" couldn't really be expanded to 500 words] or "Margot at the Wedding," which I saw this morning to interview Noah Baumbach [smart guy, maybe too smart] for Filter). I'm grabbing a sandwich from their deli. Turkey. Cheese. Mustard. Mayo. Tomato, just for luck.

Going through the check-out line. In front of me is an absurd looking woman -- short, well-along in pregnancy, wearing a low-cut top exposing her fake breast, skin leathery from a fake tan, could have been any age. Well, maybe not any age. She looks used up. Formerly cute. She gets carded. Strikes me as odd, both that she's purchasing alcohol in her delicate condition, but also that the register guy could have guessed her under 21. I'd have put her age closer to 35. We're both wrong.

The guy at the register looks over her ID. Perhaps a picture of a dewier, cuter, less baked woman. He comments, "Oh, a bicentennial baby!"

I don't know why he thinks it's was worth mentioning. He might just as well share memories of the Tall Ships. Actually, in this case, he might just as well be speaking Swedish.

Blank stare.


"A bicentennial baby."

I don't know why he repeats it. No light goes on in her eyes. He'd have better luck reaching over, taking her head in his hands and shaking. But she giggles supportively.


"You were born in 1976."

The cashier doesn't look like he has vivid memories of 1976 either. Maybe when I get to the register, I'll card him. Equally pointless.

Still no lights.

"That was the bicentennial."

"What now? Oh. Umm... Yeah."

He doesn't know what to say to that. Would it be insulting if he adds "...of The United States" or "That means its 200th birthday." What is he hoping for? "Hells yeah! Us '76ers gonna roll!" Or "Ah yes. Breast feeding. Good times."

She walks out, still mostly oblivious I'm guessing.

These are the people reproducing in the City of Angels.

Time to eat my sandwich. Turkey. Cheese. Mustard. Mayo. Tomato, just for luck.


  1. Anonymous12:05 AM

    there must be an inside joke here about tomatoes being lucky on turkey sandwiches that i'm not privy to.

    as for the nit-wits spawning in this town, i have been in the mirror version of that conversation with one or two bouncers.

    'what year were you born?'

    'in the bicentennial.'

    blank stare.

    'that was 1976.'

    here's hoping some dude at the ben templesmith art show i went to tonight isn't bloggin about the "used up" chick he saw chatting up the artist when she clearly knew nothing of him or his work. yikes. (it's funny -- before coming over here, i'd just blogged about seeing "the wild bunch" and also employed the phrase "used up" to describe the women cast in that movie.)

    and since when is 35 old-looking? or possibly it was a rough 35 years, in which case she might've looked closer to 45, what with the leathery skin and all. guys suck at guessing women's ages. that's why they card them. (or don't, when that suits them.)

    in what way is noah baumbach too smart? you said a similar thing in your prelim remarks to your interview with james gray, didn't you? what to make of this?

  2. Anonymous6:50 AM

    ur a conversation critic also i see. waste of megabytes.