Friday, 16 February 2018

Grab a Bad Banana

            Parkdale was being smothered by an incredibly thick fog when I got up on Thursday. I could barely see the building across the street. It was a ghost in the glow of the streetlamp and the only thing clear was the flashing “LLBO” sign in the window of the A+ Sushi & Bibim. The Dollarama was just a front for a warehouse of mist, as the back had disappeared. An hour later, though the fog was still heavy I could see the back of the discount store.
            I had to work at OCADU in the middle of the day and so at about 8:50 I went to bed until 10:00. I must have had a decent snooze because I didn’t feel tired at all while posing, even though it was a long sitting pose. I worked for a class that was using the figure as landscape. It was a three-part painting and they’d already had two sessions, each with a different female model. Their job was to complete the landscape by painting me into it. Because I was busy working on my journal, I only saw one of the paintings because it was near the plug where I’d set up my laptop. It presented the two female figures with their limbs overlapping. The young man that painted in was tall and slim and wore a baseball cap. At one point while I was posing I overheard the instructor say to him, “This is a chicken breast with barbecue sauce. It needs to be spicy Thai with cilantro.” In my head I went, “Whaaa?” During the coffee break I asked the young man what the teacher had meant by the analogy. He said it been about his colour choices, and explained that he has a tendency to paint representationally and only puts down the colours he sees. The professor was trying to get him to be more creative. The young man packed up and left before the second half of the class.
            The time went by fairly quickly for me, I guess because I’d been refreshed by my siesta before leaving for work.
            On the way home I stopped at Freshco where grapes were super cheap, so I got four bags. Cherries were reasonable enough to pick two bags of those. I grabbed some bad bananas. They weren’t really that overripe but I just liked the way the phrase, “grabbed some bad bananas” sounded in my head so I wrote it down to use in something someday. The banana section was actually down to the dregs but the ones that I selected, though small, still had some green on them. I took avocadoes, bread, raspberry vinaigrette and soymilk. I had this feeling that I needed something from the aisle that has the toothpaste, but I didn’t bother walking over there because I didn’t need toothpaste, or floss or mouthwash.
            Ahead of me at the checkout counter was a young woman doing price matches but all the flyers were on her phone. I think there are sites one can access that have all the flyers from all the stores on them. After she’d paid for her items she turned out to be one of those annoying people that parks her shopping cart sideways up against both belts and is oblivious to the fact that she’s blocking someone else from packing their groceries. Next time somebody does that I’m going to say something.
            When I got home and went to wash my hands I realized why I’d had the feeling that I needed something from the lane with the toothpaste. What I needed was soap. I took a moment to mentally kick myself and then I moved on. I had enough slivers of Irish Spring to get me through till Friday.
            I watched an interesting episode of the Alfred Hitchcock Hour starring John Forsythe. The opening shows various characters doing various things on the street. A girl is impatiently waiting for her boyfriend, a man is tending to his roses, a drunk is standing outside a bar, a man is driving his car and a woman is waiting for a bus. Each person suddenly hears the squeal of tires, turns their heads to the sound and then looks at something in shock. After each character has reacted the camera shows the whole scene after they’ve all turned their heads. A motorcyclist is lying in the middle of the road and a white sports car is driving away.
            The next scene is a police station where John Forsythe (playing a character named Michael Barnes) arrives to confess to having been the driver of the hit and run car. His statement is taken down and a court date is arranged. He learns that the motorcyclist is in the hospital with a concussion, but is expected to recover.
            Next we see Barnes at the hospital. His wife (who we never see) is a 36-year-old pregnant woman, experiencing trauma as she waits to go into labour at any time. He asks the doctor to keep newspapers away from her for the next few days.
            Next, Barnes is at home and discussing the case with his friend, who happens to be a lawyer, but not the kind that would deal with a hit and run case. We learn that Barnes is a crime novelist. He explains to his friend that there are five witnesses that all tell the same story of him having gone through a stop sign and having hit the motorcyclist, but he also insists that they are all wrong, because the car did indeed come to a full halt at the stop sign. His friend is about to recommend the best lawyer for handling this case, but Barnes declares that he’s going to defend himself.
            In the court the witnesses are interviewed in order of their appearance. Barnes manages to shed doubt on the testimony of the teenage girl because she had been so angry with her boyfriend for not showing up that she’d been distracted. The man who’d been tending his roses is revealed to have lost his only child several years ago when a sports car hit him at the age of 3. The drunken man appears to be drunk in court and he reveals that he didn’t even remember if he had been leaving the bar or walking into it when the accident occurred. The testimony of the man that had been driving the car behind the sports car cannot be shaken, but there is some discrepancy in that he had said that he’d put on his brakes when he saw the accident, but now maintains that he’d reduced speed as he approached the stop sign. He says that he meant that he’d already stopped his car and that the brakes he’d referred to were his parking brakes. The final witness said that she’d been on her way to give up her baby for adoption when the accident occurred but that the event had upset her so much that she’d gone home. Several more subsequent occurrences had also prevented her from giving up her child and by then she’d fallen in love with it and decided to keep it. Of the accident, she tells the prosecutor that she definitely saw the sports car stop at the stop sign. This is contrary to her police testimony, which had gone along with those of all the other witnesses. When pressed about it she says she was mistaken before and that she remembers everything clearly now.
            It is announced that the motorcyclist has died.
            As a final witness, Barnes calls himself to the stand, simply to make a final declaration that he is innocent of the charge and the accident was not his fault. But the prosecutor cross-examines him and asks Barnes if he passed the stop sign. He hesitates and then declares that he refuses to answer on the grounds that it might incriminate him. But Barnes made the mistake of putting himself on the witness stand, which overrules his right to take the Fifth Amendment. The judge warns him that he will be in contempt of court if he does not answer, but he refuses.
            The next scene is of a juke-joint where several teenagers, including the young woman who’d been a witness to the accident, are vigorously doing the Twist. A young man approaches and cuts in on her partner. He is the one she’d been waiting for on the corner the day of the accident. He tells her that he’d been there all along but hadn’t approached her because she’d been talking to another boy. He adds that he’d seen the whole accident and that the sports car did indeed come to a full stop at the stop sign. She right away insists that they go to the police with that information.
            The next scene is the courtroom where the jury is delivering a verdict of not guilty.
            The final scene is the hospital where Barnes’s wife has given birth. Barnes has come to look at his son for the first time. His lawyer friend is with him and is trying to get Barnes to explain why he’d refused to answer the question on the witness stand. He answered that he did so because he had been under oath and didn’t want to commit perjury. His friend is puzzled and says, “But you said you were telling the truth!” “I was.” “You’re not making any sense. Why couldn’t you testify?” “You know my wife and how truthful she is? None of the witnesses really saw the accident. They didn’t even see who was driving. I wasn’t in that car at all. It was my wife who had the accident.”

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