Subtitle of the Day: Fashion, Human and Otherwise

I go to to a poetry reading at the nearby university. The reading is held in a sterile little room with track lighting that fades every poet nearly to oblivion. They are all, well, adequate when it comes to style and technique and craft. Our applause is perfectly polite.

The final reader is a slim, tall, freshman girl, garbed in knee-high dominatrix boots with six-inch heels, rainbow-striped leg warmers, a houndstooth miniskirt with "ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE" scrawled in red Magic Marker over her crotch, and a raggedy red turtleneck. Her hair is dishwater blonde with black roots, and she wears no makeup, just a flush from the wind. She has a reedy voice that hums with the rhythm of her words, and she is the most talented of any of them.

Halfway through her rather long piece on sex and photography and cigarettes, the door in the back of the room creaks open. Immediately, the drool-inducing smell of hot, fresh pizza wafts into the room. I turn and look and see an abashed and bewildered delivery boy standing apologetically in the doorway. "Wrong room ," he mouths, and turns to go, but the girl's voice latches onto him and he just stops, transfixed. When she is finished, and the applause rises up, he carefully sets down the pizza and joins in.

On a related and less serious note, I was walking along downtown today, about fifty feet behind a stylishly dressed young woman and her equally stylish little ankle-biting dog. It was some sort of miniature poodle, trotting along at her booted heels, and she had dressed it in a knitted sweater and matching pants, I guess to protect it from the cold. While they paused at the corner to wait for the light to change, the dog assumed the position, squatting over the curb. Horrified, the girl began to shriek "He's peeing! He's peeing! No! Stop it! Bad dog!" She was worried about him staining his outfit. All I could do was laugh. This is why dogs don't wear clothes, people, so they can pee wherever the hell they want. Leave the poor thing alone.