Everyone has known at least one character larger than life, and I have meet a few, but Hubert Kimberly-Jones was most memorable. (That wasn’t his real name, but he used it because it was more impressive than Robert Jones.)
He was one of the foremost adherents of Fad and Fashion. lt was his belief that to be socially popular you had to be in fashion. For him that could translate into what you wore, where you went, how you got there and who you were associated with, and most importantly, what you did for a living. Where you resided probably mattered, but it wasn’t something that he could do much about as his means were always quite limited. He made pretty good money, when he was employed. Employment certainly mattered.
“One has an obligation to avoid occupations which could be construed as unsociable. Better off between career opportunities than engaged in something crude or dull.” He gave an example once when I questioned him about this attitude. “A financial analyst is currently acceptable, while a common accountant is not. No one wants to know a podiatrist, but orthopaedic surgeons are top of the A list.”
To be accepted in society was important for him to be de jour. He used a lot of French words, frequently out of context with what he was discussing. French terms were always in fashion. Some times Italian was acceptable.
I watched him, from a safe distance, go from Hippie to Share Market Lion to Sloan Square adherent, to artist colony groupie. For awhile he became highly enthusiastic about symphony orchestras, followed shortly after by a fascination with Hip Hop artistry. He topped that off with modern jazz dance lessons.
A classic example was the evening he burst into my modest flat and asked to borrow my world atlas. This was a huge coffee table edition that had belonged to my departed great aunt. I got it because no one else wanted it and it resided behind the bookstand. lt didn’t fit on a shelf.
“l’m having a soire at my place tonite and need a conversation starter.”
“How’s that going to work”, I enquired; “And why are you dressed that way?” “Gay is the new fashion.” That supposedly explained the ridiculous attire which was an obvious attempt to look like the lead from ‘The Boy from Aus’.
He retrieved the metre square tome from it’s hiding place and dropped it on the table. This had been done with some difficulty as the very tight pants he had picked up at an opportunity shop didn’t lend themselves to much bending.
Waving a limp wrist it the direction of the atlas he outlined the plot. “The book will be open to a map of a remote and suitably exotic locale along with a pad of paper and pencil. On the pad will be jottings about possible departure dates and a travel brochure will be open to the place of interest. Can’t fail. Once you get this mob talking they can’t be shut up. lt will be a sensational night.”
“l didn’t know you were sexually oriented in this direction. Gave up on the fashion models did you?”
“As a matter of fact, this has opened doors that were previous locked and barred. I have connected with an absolutely wonderful woman who has a heavenly body and photographic models face. She asked me to her place for dinner when we met at a horrifically gay bar. Said she liked gay men’s company because they were sensitive and safe from becoming encumbrances. Her usual companions were lesbians.”
“So how does this open doors?”
“l walked in with a bottle of wine, we drank that in about 5 minutes and next thing you know we’re in the sack hammering away like deranged teenagers.”
“Whatever works for you I suppose. Do you really like these people.”
“God NO!, but I have to put up with it for a little while longer. Just until the Judicial Clerks position is secured. Law and courts, legal processes; all of that and criminal justice. lt is the next big thing.”
With that he grabbed the atlas and left, not bothering to close the door.
I always wondered if his party goers noticed that the atlas was printed in 1928 and no longer resembled the countries of the world we now live in.
© Mickey Benefiel 2011