On the last dayof vacation before returning to work, the world outside my windows looked raw, blustery and wet after a frost-covered morning. Hibernating sounded good, but I was feeling uninspired and blah and could tell if I stayed home I was just going to mope around. Since I needed to pick up my my sunglasses from the optometrist, I decided to walk up there.
I almost turned back after the first couple of blocks. My ears were cold and my feet were complaining. But I kept going and eventually began to perk up and enjoy myself. By the time I got to Peets Coffee (a mile later and across the street from my eye doctor’s office in El Cerrito Plaza) I was feeling enthusiastic and cheerful. With a hot latte in my hand, I sat at a cafe table outside Peets and sketched this odd chain restaurant across the street.
I ate there once when it first opened (I was curious about the new restaurant in my neighborhood) and enjoyed it, but have never been able to get anyone to go back there with me. With so many unique and trendy restaurants in the Berkeley area, I suppose there’s really no reason to go to a “big box” version of an Italian restaurant, though people do seem to pack the place on weekends.
But I’ve always had an aversion to stupid business names, and the name “Macaroni Grill” irks me. I keep picturing the chef trying to grill slippery macaroni and cheese, with all the noodles falling through the grill grates. When I was a kid I remember being annoyed by a hair salon named “Lipstick Beauty Parlor,” which I thought made no sense.
While I was waiting at the optometris’ts office, I started sketching a stand that holds many pairs of eye glasses. There were too many tiny, overlapping details and I wasn’t really interested. Fortunately the optician arrived with my glasses so I stopped. When I got home, instead of leaving a partially messed up page I turned the page 90 degrees and added a quick sketch of my sunglasses (from memory) and then stuck myself in them.