Friday, November 18, 2011

WEAK End - Addition
One of the great traditions of Los Angeles social life is chatting with people who are waiting for the valet to deliver the cars.  This was the case last night as Sandi and I exited the Coronet Theatre. But, the valet set up was odd from the beginning.
As is the procedure, we pulled up in front of the theatre where a valet stood near an umbrella with a free standing box for car keys.  We got out ready to trade a 40k dollar car for a paper ticket to the guy in the red vest.  We LA types are very willing to make such a trade with a person who barely speaks english because parking a block away and walking that distance is unheard of.  That is so New York.  
The red vested valet told me to pull around the corner and another valet would take my car.  I did so but there was no one there.  I drove around the block and repeated my previous drill.  I said there was no one around the corner, he said...."No, no. The valet is in the alley behind the theatre." 
We drove to the back of the theatre to a darkened alley.  There was a homeless man making a bed near a parked car, there seemed to be no one else around... and this was definitely the alley where we were instructed to proceed. Had the transient made a move toward the car we would have assumed he was the guy.  He didn't but we saw a person making the paper ticket exchange with another man half way up the alley. Although he had no red vest, he did have a bluetooth cell phone head set and paper tickets.  I made sure he was the guy as best I could, ask were we would get the car back, and completed the trade. 
After the show it was back to the umbrella in the front to retrieve our ride. I was glad to see the same guy standing there and he said, "White car... right?" I gave him the ticket and he ran to get the car. 
Several people were cued up waiting as well. There was a man with a long walking staff and hair pulled back in a disheveled pony tail who seemed to be in a heavy conversation with a couple of women also waiting.  I really couldn't tell what he was saying, he was animated but not to extreme, and it was casual conversation not yelling.
The pony tailed man continued to talk, listen, and respond with perfect social grace as the ladies left him and got into their car and drove away.  Without even realizing they were gone he continued to listen and respond to the space where they were standing. When everyone realized the space he was engaged in was empty we made sure it stayed that way.  
He continued this mono conversation then turned and walked away a step or two.  Evidently the empty space made some remark that called him back.  He returned to say, "Yes, but if you can say that you must have known. How could you not know? Why, we all knew. How come you didn't know?" 
He was not talking to the air, nor looking around at anyone.  Even if you wanted to you could not block his gaze as he looked right through anything or anybody that stood between him and his unseen conversant. 
I'm not sure but he could have been the same man who was making a bed in the alley before the show.  However, I am certain that in HIS mind he was talking to some real, although unseen by the rest of us, person.
We got into our car leaving the pony tail and his invisible partner casually walking down the street still in conversation.  He was making sure that his walking stick did not trip his companion. They seemed to be as happy together as Elwood P and Harvey. 
It is great to know that even when a ventriloquist loses his puppet and is living on the street... he still has his friends to keep him company.  There is great hope for my retirement happiness.
As you were,

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