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    The (Sparkly) Chart Room

            The other night, I was at a locally famous restaurant and watering hole called The Chart Room. The Chart Room is one of those places that’s been here as long as people have been vacationing on lower Cape Cod. It’s a physical establishment that has magically transcended the physical and woven itself into the ethereal fabric of the area, the very same way the water and the sunsets have. The Chart Room, and everything that’s ever happened there, is a vibrant part of the Cape Cod collective unconscious.
            It overlooks a beautiful cove that houses Kingman’s Marina. There are boats of all shapes and sizes everywhere. The boating crowd loves the place, as does just about everybody else.
            I don’t have a boat. I have a jet ski. My shorts aren’t pleated, or even khaki. They’re more the surfer type. My shirts don’t have a collar, or usually even a neckline. And if they do, they are of colors and styles that would never appear in a Ralph Lauren, Polo, or Nautica catalog. Very few of the men who frequent The Chart Room adorn any sort of jewelry, save for a wedding band, while I practically rattle when I walk.
            Superficially, I don’t fit in here. I dress differently. My quasi mohawk haircut is unlike anybody else’s. My sense of style is about as far away from these people as can be. But beneath all that, there is a commonality that for me at least supersedes such differences. When you get further down to it, these people are here for the evening to socialize, to connect to other people, and to enjoy life. And so am I. It is through that unspoken commonality that our sensibilities meet and mesh.
            During the course of the evening, an attractive woman in her early fifties approached me and said “I have to ask you; What is up with that belt?”. She’s referring to a sparkly belt that often adorns my waistline, a belt that I have written about in this very blog. Her query was genuine and curious, not at all confrontational, and I’m sure that added to my immediate sense of ease.
            “Are you familiar with Michelangelo’s sculpture of David?”, I asked her. She said “Yes. In fact, I’ve seen it. It’s fabulous.” I continued “Do you recall the artist’s response when he was asked how he was able to sculpt such a thing from a hunk of shapeless marble?”. “No. I don’t.” she said. “What Michelangelo said”, I replied, “was that David was already in the marble. All he had to do was take away what didn’t belong so that David could be revealed.” There was a slight pause. She understood the comment, but didn’t understand what the hell it had to do with the belt I was wearing. I let this fester for just a moment and added “Well, this belt was already inside of me. All I had to do was strip away from me whatever didn’t belong, and there it was.” She looked at me, still somewhat perplexed. She obviously wasn’t expecting a philosophical answer to her question about my fashion choice.
            I continued “I love bright colors, flashy clothing, sparkly things. I’m drawn to them like a moth is to a flame. That preference is inside of me. I just follow it. And it leads me to find and wear stuff like this.” After a moment or two, as my words sank in, she got it. And then she smiled at me. I could see in her eyes that she not only understood what I was saying, she understood ME. She was asking about something on my outside, and I gave her something from my insides, and she heard it. I took this simple opportunity to share this about myself because she asked a question. Her curiosity prompted my openness and we were able to connect through a wonderful little exchange.
            In those moments, it didn’t matter what we looked like, or how we dressed. All that mattered was that we got each other. We connected. Which is why I go there. Which is why she goes there. Which is why so many of us go there. Or anywhere, for that matter.

    ©2009 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and a collective unconscious of Wrongs) Reserved.

    Reader Comments (2)

    Lovely. This story reminds me of the one about your grandma, and the mask, and I think they represent really fine writing. Thanks!

    August 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermadam Ovary

    Thank you, Madam Ovary. I find your writing equally as compelling.


    August 6, 2009 | Registered CommenterClint Piatelli

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