Almost Naked In Whole Foods

L.A. isn’t much different from Havana.  It’s a veritable car MUSEUM!

Now the reason is different.  There’s no economic embargo.  No need to hold together antiques with baling wire.  Rather, the dry air and the absence of road salt serve to hermetically seal automobiles.  Well, not exactly, but let’s just say cars LAST!

It’s weird to drive down the avenue and see my old ’63 Chevy convertible on a regular basis.  My sister Wendy wanted to leave it on Nantucket THIRTY YEARS AGO!  It barely limped home.  How in the hell can these cars SURVIVE!

Whenever I see one of these ancient vehicles, I slow down and inspect, take a close look, see how well it’s preserved.  So maybe that’s why I took notice of the red Mercedes on Olympic two weeks ago.  The fact that a car three decades old was cruising the highway was intriguing.  Or maybe it was the unfinished bodywork that caught my eye.  Do you fix a car from the seventies?  And if you choose to tack on a replacement panel, shouldn’t you bother to paint it?

And the windows…  They had that dusty look.  Like the rest of the car.  Like they hadn’t been washed in years.

Yet they were all raised.  Did the a/c still work in this vintage automobile?  If you’ve driven an old car you know this is the first thing to go, the air conditioning.  You rationalize not fixing it, since oftentimes a compressor equals the value of the vehicle, and it doesn’t tend to get that hot on the Westside anyway.  But this day was a scorcher.  And the windows were all up.  And when I pulled alongside I saw a shriveled up old man, maybe a septuagenarian, topless, i.e. wearing no shirt!

He was driving this old Mercedes in his shorts.  Exposing his epidermis to the masses.  Well, at least those curious enough to look inside this curio.  But, if the a/c didn’t work, why didn’t he just lower the windows?

And contemplating all this later in the evening, as I was pulling into my garage, my next door neighbor pulled up in his Audi convertible sans shirt also.

Was this an epidemic?  Had I missed the memo?

Sure, the top was down.  But so was the sun.

I don’t think it’s a class thing.  One time my neighbor drove home in a Bentley, and left it all night in the alley, unprotected.  Was this now de rigueur, was this now acceptable behavior, driving with no shirt?

Then I forgot about these sightings.  Until today.  At Whole Foods.

The California heat is a major news story.  How people are dropping like flies.  Going to the mall and the movies to escape the oven-like atmosphere.  But I didn’t think grocery stores fit the paradigm of relief, that’s not why I stopped at the Whole Foods on National today, I just needed sustenance.

After checking out, as I was walking back to the entrance, a vision came forth from the distance.  Walking straight at me was a woman, not a girl.  Someone deep into her thirties.  Wearing a string bikini.

This wasn’t one of those fifties jobs.  Not even one of those sixties Annette Funicello numbers.  Any less material and the cops would have been writing her up for indecent exposure.  The most private of parts were covered up, and that was it.

And it wasn’t like she was showing off, wasn’t like she was parading, not like a teenager displaying her body for the assembled multitude.  She was just doing her business.

She was by no means overweight, but age does engender some consequences.  There was a bit of sag.  And the suit itself…it wasn’t a 2006 number.  It had been around the block.

I felt like I was in an Allen Funt show.  Then again, this is California, shouldn’t I be able to act cool?

And I’m wondering where she’s coming from.  Emotionally.  Because it’s not like she just walked in from the beach.  The beach is MILES away.

And it’s not like I want to stare, but she’s so out of place.  Amongst the Westside matrons.  Wearing practically nothing.  Her tushie in plain sight.

Maybe she was just rushing in.  For one item.

But no, she picked up a basket, and started cruising the aisles.

And as I contemplated all this, as I tried to make it compute, a well-groomed gray-haired gentleman tapped me on the shoulder, pointed to her and smiled, in that conspiratorial way all males share.

I thought I’d seen it all.  That I found nothing shocking.

I’ve found out that’s not true.

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