In this post you can clearly see his trademark qualities: seriousness, unsmiling, and slight crankiness. Plus, he never hesitates to call me on my shit.
Gryphon and I spent the evening together last week. It was a beautiful San Francisco night. The Universe was playing up its parallel nature to the hilt. I was running late as usual. Gryphon was annoyed.
"Can't you tell those work people to shove it?"
"I try to but I don't get anywhere with that and if I continue they won't ask me back. Who would pay for dinner then?" I say.
"Hmm. Good point."
We make our way into the MUNI underground. Since this is San Francisco, California, United States of America, no one seems to notice the Gryphon and his wings. As long as he's wearing his chaps, no one casts a second look.
I'm feeling stiff from residual work week stress but then again that could just be my turtle shell. We somehow manage to fit on the MUNI train. The Gryphon folds his wings away.
"What about what's-his-name?" he asks. There a crunching sound as Gryphon crushes the bar he's holding on to.
"What about him?" I ask.
"Thought so," says the Gryphon. He gazes up and down the train, apparently satisfied that the topic of conversation has been exhausted. I'm relieved myself. I'm happy to be alone with what's-his-name and my thoughts for a change.
We're only going two stops to Powell Station. The doors open and we disembark. We make our way up to Union Square. Gryphon insists upon taking a Cable Car two stops to our destination. After some pushing and shoving, I manage to hang off the side of the Car, Rice-a-Roni style, and he's content to perch on top. Tourists gape and take pictures.
We reach our dinner destination, The Cheesecake Factory. There's only an hour wait. We put our names in and wait in the bar. Gryphon watches the basketball game on TV, he's quite fond of games. I sip my alcohol laced milk shake.
"I'm having lobster," he announces, shaking his great head.
"They don't have lobster, you'll have to settle for shrimp," I'd been reading the menu.
He gives a little growl but says nothing. The first time I'd met Gryphon was during a dance at the beach. He'd been pretty much keeping to himself on the shingle, kicking a stone here and there. Most people think he's too taciturn and solemn but we managed to become friends somehow. Since he's going to keep watching the game, I give up on talking to him until we sit down for dinner.
A server named Mandy, all bright and fetching, bounds towards us.
"Drinks? Alcohol? Appetizers?"
"Now and Laters?" The Gryphon holds up a package of "classic" Now and Laters for her to see.
"Oooh, yes! Have any grape ones?" He tears open the package and gives her all the grape flavored ones. She is excited. He watches her but does not smile. He never smiles. She leaves us with more time to decide what we're eating.
"That's the kind of girl you need," I say, "Someone to offset your seriousness."
"Miss Turtle," he says leaning in, "it's better to be a little serious than to cause yourself all kinds of unnecessary sorrow."
"Are we getting on that subject again?"
"Of course, that's why I'm here. Why else would I be sitting here in chaps on a Thursday night at the damn Cheesecake Factory?"
"At least you got to ride on top of the Cable Car again," I say, glaring at the menu.
"Stop pouting and no crying this time," he says.
"I'm NOT pouting and crying," I snap.
"No raising your voice at me either."
I seethe and consider leaving the restaurant but some men at the next table start singing the Barry Manilow song "Mandy" to our server. I look down at the menu and smile a little.
"I used to love Barry Manilow," I say wistfully. The Gryphon just looks at me, that look of disdain on his brow.
"We need to get on with this dinner, Miss Turtle," he says briskly, "Now, you need to relax and stop worrying so much and be thankful for what you have. All this fancy about the end of the world and how bad things are getting just won't do. YOUR wasting a lot of time."
"You spelled YOU'RE wrong," I say stiffly.
"What of it? That adverb there is silly, by the way. You're always stiff on account of your shell. Stephen King would not approve of all these adverbs."
"What about what's-his-name?" I ask.
"YOU'RE pouting again. What about him? Why are you even asking that? Is he here right now at this moment? Then don't worry about him. He's fine where he's at, wherever he is."
"Is? At? Same thing?"
"Yes, sometimes." Gryphon picks up his Ultimate Margarita in his claws, thinks better of it and puts his glass down.
We order, the food comes and we eat in silence. The night is turning a little cool. I start to think the last dialog exchange was the whole point of the dinner but then Gryphon looks at me again.
"Just remember, you are fine where you are. Am I right?"
"Suppose so. What's going to happen next? How will this all turn out? Will anything happen?" I'm getting my trademark tears in my eyes.
"Don't know what's going to happen next. Don't know how it's all going to turn out and something will definitely happen," Gryphon says, "No crying, you heard what I said before about that."
"Piss off, "I say wiping my eyes.
He sighs and holds up a dinner menu. "Dessert?"
"No thank you. I'm going to throw up if I eat very much more. Why is everything so painful sometimes?"
"I've answered that already. You know how it goes. The answer is in front of you at all times. All the things you need to know now. Stuff like that.
"This has turned out to be a tiresome dialog, Mr. Gryphon. I think we need to end it now."
He agrees and we make our way out of the restaurant. I wipe my eyes. "No sorrow?" I ask.
"Not a one," he says, "you know it's true. You keep asking the same questions over and over. It's time to drop them. No answer is forthcoming, at least not in the form YOU'RE hoping for."
A Cable Car stops on our corner. He smiles a little, then I laugh as we run to the Car before it pulls away from the stop.