So of course, right after posting an item about wishing I had a passel of screenwriters to help me out with my dialogue in real-life encounters, the following scene transpired in Santa Monica:
EXT. STREET CORNER, AFTERNOON
Billy stands at crosswalk waiting for the light to change as a STUNNING L.A. WOMAN walking her DOG approaches. [Note: Stunning L.A. Woman seems selected by Central Casting, complete with requisite long blonde tresses, pert physique in bright lavendar halter top with nice tat at base of spine above tight shorts, etc. Dog is of course a golden retriever.]
S.L.A.W. w/dog waits at light. Pause while Billy searches for perfect pithy comment to engender memorable Cute Meet. Pause lengthens. Finally:
BILLY: Great-looking dog.
STUNNING L.A. WOMAN: (brief smile) Oh, thanks.
Light changes. Woman and dog stride on. Billy searches in vain for blunt object to strike self in the head with.
It reminded me, in retrospect, of that wonderful scene in Annie Hall where Alvy and Annie have a seemingly innocuous getting-to-know-you conversation on her rooftop, and Woody Allen provides subtitles to give us the subtext:
ALVY: Photography's interesting, 'cause you know, it's a new art form, and a, uh, a set of aesthetic criteria have not emerged yet. (Subtitle: I wonder what she looks like naked?)
Sometimes I think the subtitles that accompany the things we're saying to each other might as well be emblazoned on our foreheads in neon. Maybe what happened (or what didn't happen) to me at the stoplight was an unfortunate case of Your Subtitle's Showing:
BILLY: Great-looking dog. (Subtitle: I would very much like to get to know you, intellectually and spiritually as well as Biblically, preferably within the shortest amount of time conceivable, perhaps followed by your bearing my first-born child.)
STUNNING L.A. WOMAN: Oh, thanks. (Subtitle: Not in an eon.)
But the thing I did think of? That I really wanted to say?
BILLY: God, you look so much like your dog.
She really did. They both had the same coloring, dog rust to girl tan, both had the acquiline nose, shiny eyes, there was a sleek glow about the two of them that said they were ain't we got fun in the sun California soul-mates. But I couldn't say that, since the response such an observation seemed likely to yield was:
S.L.A.W.: Oh, thanks. (Subtitle: Asshole.)
It's weird enough that I know more than one couple where the man and the woman have an obvious physical quality in common (it's as if their union is announcing: We're in love with this nose). But the propensity for dogs and people to mate according to mugs is pretty astounding. It's not that way with cats, at least in my experience. What do you think?
Damn. I nearly got away with this, I was trying to steer clear but look, I just stepped right in it--supporting an outrageous claim, made in today's N.Y. Times, that on the internet, it's all about the felines.