Germans To The Right Of Me Italians To The Left Of Me Must Be At Bruno’s Pizza
“Ehhhh, dat guy, no getta service here!” as Bruno points me out in the long, long, long line of people waiting to get in to Bruno’s Pizza on a Saturday night. No one takes him seriously as he’s smiling so wide he could eat a banana sideways. I dutifully apologize for not coming in sooner, and one of the waitresses moves me and my friend to a middle table for two that was just broken out of a set up for six.
It’s another wonderful summer night at the beach and traffic is crazy, sidewalks are crowded with people who are out to enjoy the weather, and the tourists from Europe are dominating the conversations. Santa Monica is in its United Nations phase – we have visitors from Lord only knows how many different countries and it’s a fun game I play, to try and determine what languages are being rapidly spoken around me. Some of them are easy French, Italian, and Spanish are so common in town that they hardly make me take notice.
The harder ones are a group of women in headscarves speaking something from the Middle East region, but I can’t place it, Arabic? Farsi? Turkish? There are families from somewhere further south on the African continent, but I don’t even know the names the potential languages, let alone the dialectical differences.
My friend and I are perusing the menu, which is a total waste of time, we always get the same thing, medium Caesar salad (WITH anchovies thank you!), medium pizza (toppings vary, the choices are traditional and limited – no pineapple or kale here! Bruno doesn’t even like putting chicken on a pizza…). The waitress seats a lovely couple next to us. I don’t pay much attention, because I am so focused on a sight I rarely see in this day and age – a man is actually holding the chair for his date! The random act of manners and chivalry literally takes me by surprise. I was so impressed I wanted to go and compliment him, but thought I’d leave them alone – no need for an old man to comment on their date.
Back to my table neighbors. Their pizza has arrived and both of them are eating it with a fork and knife, tres European, I start to listen in and realize, yes, they are in fact Italian and seeming to have a conversation about their vacation. Their presence makes the Saturday night dinner that much more enjoyable.
A few moments later and we’re being boxed in on the other side, as a young, German, couple are seated. He is straight out of Central Casting, probably a model, at least 6’3”, blonde, blue eyes and she is the slightly shorter, brunette Hilde. They are quite a lovely site, and terribly pleasant as his slight German accent embellishes his ordering.
This is Saturday night in Santa Monica, in the summer. The cosmopolitan nature that is our burg by the bay is one of the things I love about this city. Of course there is another side to it all…
“So, I was stopped at the light on Cloverfield and Colorado, when out of the corner of my eye I see a man running towards my car. I figured he was crossing the street and would dogleg around me. I was wrong. He jumped up onto my hood, AND STAYED THERE. Shirtless and facing forward, perched like a toad on a lily pad,” said my dinner companion. “I didn’t know what to do. So I moved forward a bit, and then braked hard, hoping he would get off. No luck. I called 911 and they were responsive and asked if he had a weapon. He didn’t appear to, so they said to stay in the car until someone arrived.” He continued. “I pulled over to the side of the road, and some people started helping to get him going. One of the homeless guys started talking to him. Eventually he left, just as the police are showing up. – that’s life in Santa Monica. What would you do if someone jumped on your car hood?” he asked. “Same as you, maybe I’d have accelerated more…” I said.
We have good and bad in our city. Thankfully the good is for more common, fun and exciting. Living in a cosmopolitan metropolis is wonderful, and it even comes with living hood ornaments….
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at email@example.com or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra