Maybe the Mayans had it right: By Dec. 12, 2012, The End Of Buddy’s As We Know It (TEOBAWKI) may come to pass.
For the past few weeks, the murmuring has whisked up and down Robinson Street like a winter mistral. I considered this nothing more than Richmond doing what it loves — gossiping about itself with little ground in fact — until this morning, when the Times-Dispatch put the baleful possibilities in clean black and white.
If my eyes had not already been at full dilation, optometrically speaking, they would’ve popped out in Looney Tunes fashion, with appropriate wine-cork sounds.
If you are a follower of The Hat, my ambulatory nature and my flâneur predilections, you may understand my concern about the dreary possibility of TEOBAWKI.
I speak here as a patriot of corner joints. They are the bedrock of any community worthy of the name. They provide a social crossroads that doesn’t require plugging in or logging on (though most of them now have WiFi, as well as nattering, retinal-distracting televisions). Actual living people go to Buddy's to meet other living people, and sometimes they say the wrong thing and end up crying on the corner by the bus-stop bench, such as I have witnessed any number of times sojourning up Robinson Street.
There, some befuddled fellow, a Buddy, if you will, stands perplexed, his ballcap backward, wearing Bermuda shorts and a polo shirt no matter the temperature or mood of the weather, and a tearful angry Buddette, leaning forward on her vertiginous heels, bare elbows pulled back as if to sock him one, proclaims to all within earshot the poor fellow’s lack of consideration for her, her friends and “us," employing rather vituperative indications of his parentage or lack thereof.
I know it is spring when the azaleas, wisteria and dogwoods are abloom, but the social season has officially started when the patio of Buddy’s is open and all those sunglassed, bronzed faces lean and laugh merrily into their cell phones. Likewise, the dark of winter is upon us when the plastic walls are installed, the columnar brushed-steel heater is switched on and the clouds of smoke begin floating out as evidence of the ancient rite of solving the world’s problems with one more drink.
Has not the Fan witnessed the death of too many of its beloved institutions? Sobel’s, The Texas-Wisconsin Border Café, John & Norman’s (though in part embodied by the present Curbside), and now … Buddy's? To close it and force those who would go there into cars in order to reach someplace similar, is not only unconscionable, it's a possible danger to public safety.
Friends, we patronize these places as shelters from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. We go to sit on the deck and drink chilled white wine for hours and laugh uproariously at the men trying their pickup lines. I am not alone in my distress. A glance at the “Save Buddy’s” Facebook page shows two Virginia polticians who couldn’t agree on anything, George Allen and Tim Kaine, both showing up as loving Buddy’s. The Virginia Historical Society and even the Commonwealth of Virginia have also expressed their virtual affections. Oh, Virtu, look away, look away, cover up your bare breast, and just look away.
Though these are troubled times, and they’ll become more so if Buddy’s is a victim of a victual vanquisher, we’ll get through it. So I guess I am that young woman now (though I look dumb in heels), shaking my bracelet-tingling fist at the confused guy as I cry "What about us? What about us?"
Let this not be TEOBAWKI!