Thursday, August 18, 2005

ducky and soup

The wallpaper on Stephanie’s camera phone was the Yo! MTV Raps logo. Her connection to Y!MR is a long story, but how the logo got on her phone is the more interesting story.

“A six-foot-tall albino named Ducky took the picture,” she informed us as she, Heather and I left Fabiolus.

Heather and I both did a double take (would that make it a quadruple take, collectively?). “Wait. We know a six-foot albino named Ducky.”

Our Ducky, we explained, was the crazy-sweet, sometime movie extra and frequent freeloader friend of our friend Jenessa’s ex-boyfriend Bill. The crazy thing is that it’s not like we all travel in the same circles. Heather and Steph had met once before. I see both of them way less than I would like, maybe once every few months. Heather and I go back to high school, Steph and I are college buds, and Jenessa is in Massachusetts these days.

But there can’t be that many six-foot albinos named Ducky.

Stephanie met him in a bar in Burbank. I don’t remember where they found the Y!MR logo, but Ducky appointed himself photographer. The three of us tripped out on this coincidence for a little while. Then Steph got philosophical. “That’s sort of how he introduces himself. Like, ‘Hey, I’m Ducky. You’ll remember me because I’m a six-foot albino.’ But I think he’s really only like 5’10”.”

“Maybe he’s trying to brand himself,” I said. “But he’s definitely an albino.”

Not long ago I had a party where Steph ran into Ray, a guy she knew from high school in Northern California. My girlfriend has known Ray for years, but we never made the hometown connection.

Back in college, Stephanie said, “The world revolves around me.” She was explaining the concept of subjectivity, basically, but I’m starting to think it really does.

Today’s other blast from the past was purely sensory. I was running early for dinner at Fabiolus, so I decided to stop at Book Soup, where I worked in college and just after. The minute I inhaled the scent that can only be described as Book Soup Flava, two images popped into my head:

1) The most perverse of sideshows. This is not because Book Soup, being located on Sunset, attracted a lot of freaks (although it did), but because I read Geek Love--a touching story of incest on the carnival circuit--in its entirety while standing behind the information counter. That was before they introduced the somewhat fascist and certainly ridiculous No Reading On The Job rule. But on the whole it was a really awesome place to work.

2) The bathroom. The overall smell at Book Soup is pleasant—papery and a little dusty, the way a bookstore should smell. But maybe five percent of that smell comes from the bathroom, which is open to the (bar-hopping/homeless/just-ate-a-big-dinner-at-Spago) public. I was always proud of this fact. But I didn’t always enjoy the result.

Nevertheless, it was incredibly nostalgic. I think I’m having a nostalgic week. I pulled a few books off the fiction shelf to see if they still stash extras in the back. They do. I tiptoed around the store looking for the first girl I ever admitted having a crush on, who I’ve heard still works there. She wasn’t there today. I was disappointed and relieved.

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