Reclining on a lounge chair in Santa Barbara, California, giggles come easy with a tennis ball and two dogs. They couldn’t be more different if they tried. The long graceful Whippet, accelerating quickly down the narrow lawn, pursued by the stubby legged terrier. The Whippet, silky in it’s movements, like an NFL wide receiver, always seems to find the ball first. But growls and snarls come second as the terrier closes like a half rate defensive back. The Whippet fakes, accelerates and gallops. The terrier, continually bested by the larger dogs athleticism, nips at her heels, the bites getting harder and harder with each frustrating toss. On the lounge chair, he chuckles as the terrier bites and knocks the ball away. Finally triumphant, the panting little beast lies down just out of reach and guards the ball from the eager Whippet. With frustration as its only weapon, the weak can force the strong to capitulate.
He rises from his lounge chair as the sun cowers behind the foliage. A chill melts into the air prognosticating moisture and fog. He is restless, so he turns on his laptop and looks for contact. Aha, an invitation from an upscale friend. Tonight she has rounded up half of her sorority for political action. Some accursed soul bought the lot at the end of mummy’s street and tore down the house there. He wants to build condos. Condos! Incensed at the low income element that would bring into the neighborhood, she has rallied all decent, upstanding and privileged people she knows to fight the scourge of high density housing. Next! An invitation to a party; junk mail; the Mirram Webster word of the day: toothsome; spam from a desperate dental association and a plea from Sallie Mae to pay his student loans. Noting the address and the vocabulary, he dismisses the rest.
At the party, he remarks to a young lady that she is quite toothsome. The vacuous brunette with the cute dimples looks at him sideways and drinks the rest of her wine. She excuses herself to refill the glass from a well labeled, expensive but poor quality bottle of Pinot and makes her escape to the balcony, undoubtedly to ask Buffy if her teeth look too big for her face. Chuckling at the performance, he advances to the parlor to admire the trophies of a grand sportsman. Elephant foot stools, barking baboons and zebra-skin wall hangings adorn the trophy room. A menacing lion head sprouts from the woodwork, ready to consume the plumper below, fattening himself on chocolate cake and malt liquor. A tasty feast for such a beast.
Later, a lounge gathering with some of the more interesting personalities of the evening. Her unattractive yet educated friend having explained his complement, mixed well with several more glasses of Pinot blah, the dimpled brunette now supports his arm with her shoulders. He tries to keep her drinking rather than talking. Though she is well on her way to expelling a large amount of alcohol and masticated raw vegetables from her mouth, he prefers this to endless debates on the merits of Mercedes and Gucci. He sees teeth and hears guffaws from around the table, so he adds his own, flashes that winning smile and pats the suspected perpetrator of the anecdote on the back. He sniffs his rum and coke, suspecting a generic liquor and feels a hand underneath the tablecloth sliding up the inside of his thigh. Looking around the lounge for something, anything more interesting, he punishes himself for his failure by sucking the wine stains from the brunette’s teeth.
Walking across his chest is a creature with no redeeming value, except to the makers of tissues and antihistamines. He drops the brunette’s cat off the edge of the bed and rises to look out the bay windows at the eleven o’ clock sky. A menagerie of stuffed animals dominate a chair under the window, some old, too many new. He wonders how fake her ID really is. Unabashed by her sleepy eyes watching him dress, he escapes easily, only having to offer the mantra of remembering her name, her phone number a charming souvenir in his pocket. Poor girl, still an amateur for letting him off so easily. Standing on her apartment lawn, yawning and stretching, he finds her unjaded nature refreshing and thinks about calling her next weekend.
Back on the lounge chair, tossing the disintegrating tennis ball for whippet and terrier he chuckles. Many are fond of inactivity for they are so busy. Idle moments are cherished by the eternally harried. But when the norm is whiling away time with comfy chair, frolicking dogs and a cool refreshing drink, every sunny day is just a glaring reminder that nothing much is going to happen today. Cursing his fate, blaming his parents, feeling guilt for wasted B-minus college years, he resolves to go into sales, join a political cause, write the great American novel. He tosses the ball, the whippet fetches and jukes, the terrier at her heels, and he decides to take a nap. With frustration as its only weapon, the weak can force the strong to capitulate.