It's hard to call yourself “The Observer” when you rarely get out and do anything. So, after a couple of weekends hunkered down in the hermitage, we decided to step out into the crisp weather and go catch some music downtown. The Dempseys were playing at Sticky Fingerz. They're a three-piece rockabilly band from Memphis. Their live show is jumpin', best described as musical acrobatics. The guys know how to play each other's instruments (stand-up bass, guitar and drums) and they often do so, even at the same time. Naturally, we wanted to get a closer look at the spectacle, so we ventured beyond the tables and up to the front.
After a couple of songs, we felt something cold sprinkle across the backs of our necks. We didn't think much about it until it happened again. We turned to see a middle-aged man sitting at a table behind us and chuckling to a friend.
Now, out of any group of people, the Observer is probably the least likely to be dubbed mature. But compared to this codger, we were etiquette experts. We asked him if he'd spit/thrown/slung the water/beer/cocktail our way. He denied it. We dropped it. But hey, I guess spitting geezers are what you get for going out.
Either dressing utility poles is the latest thing in public art or someone was having a moment over the weekend, hanging a green jacket on a pole across from Mount St. Mary's campus. Pole person also carried an umbrella, stuck at a jaunty angle from the pole. The finishing touch: Gauzy angel wings. A tribute to Mary Poppins, perhaps? A kind of upbeat memorial at the scene of a car-pole confab? Whatever, the adornments were well affixed; everything was in place both in early morning, the first time The Observer passed by, and later in the afternoon.
The Observer wouldn't mind knowing what the dresser had in mind. Wouldn't mind not knowing, as far as that goes. But if it's a trend, we want to be on top of it, figuratively speaking.
A descendant of the Plantagenets helped The Observer mail a package the other day. He provided this fascinating bit of information about his family history after offering The Observer a chocolate with a verbal flourish, calling us “madame.” The Observer complimented him on his accent, and that got the conversation started. Seems the gentleman, who was at the UPS counter in an office supply store in midtown, learned of his regal forebears — the Plantagenets were the first kings of England you see — when his daughter did a little family research. He was clearly enjoying it, remarking it's not every day when a kings helped mail packages. It's not often they offer chocolates, either, to their customers. We enjoyed the royal treatment.
His name was Joe. Joe the Plantagenet.
File this away until next December: A man we know, an avid reader, and also somewhat stingy, went to the main library downtown on Sunday, Dec. 28, hoping to check out a few volumes. He was dismayed to find the library closed. Another would-be patron, a young man with a small child, made the discovery about the same time. Our friend fumed. How long do these librarians take off for Christmas, he wondered. His disposition degenerated when he checked the library web site and found that the library was listed as open every day between Christmas and New Year's. He called the next day to find out why the library had been closed on Sunday. “It was just a holiday weekend,” an employee chirped. Unsatisfied, the complainant appealed upward. Linda Bly, the library's deputy director, explained matters. The library has traditionally closed on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year's, always a slow period, she said. But Sunday was the only day it was closed, and the closing should have been announced on the web site, she said. She didn't know why it wasn't, and she'd try to assure that the omission wasn't repeated.