Monday, November 3, 2008

Disneyland - Grand Californian - Pepperoni Tony

It was summer.
2007, I believe, but the year matters little.
The place was the Hearthstone Lounge of Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.
Seated at a table near the back of the lounge (a little bit further back than where the photographer was standing who took the stock photo above), my wife and I relaxed together.
Being summer and sitting, as I was, in this grand lounge, it was axiomatic that a tall, cool Mojito sat sweating on a cocktail napkin on the small table in front of me.
My wife sat across from me, gently balancing an equally chilled Cosmopolitan in her left hand.
The clinking of glasses, the hum of conversation, the clatter of ice in the bartender's Boston shaker, and a baseball game on TV all blended together to make white noise that formed the auditory background of our setting.
Soon, too, the sound of the piano being played in the main lobby soothingly seeped into the lounge.
I took a cool sip of my Mojito, enjoying its limey sweetness along with the fresh smell of the whole mint leaves that were mulled in my glass.
My wife and I were not really conversing, yet our presence together in that moment was fully felt---complete.
There was an elegance around it and around us.
Nearby, neatly dressed couples in khakis, Hawaiian shirts, bermuda shorts, silk blouses, Tommy Bahama slacks or similar "casual but nice" attire were seated in scattered small groups around the lounge.
In he walked.
As he strode into the room, a silence fell over the lounge.
To this day, I swear the piano in the lobby stopped playing.
He was tall, but not like Gary Cooper or Cary Grant.
More like Fred Gwynne (of Herman Munster fame).
He was somewhat gangly of arm and leg.
His belly pudged with middle-aged neglect and excess.
A small puddle formed beneath him as he stood mid-bar.
He was wet.
He had no towel.
His only covering was a saggy bathing suit (the kind your father wore---you know, with the bunched up elastic, the busy floral pattern, and the white drawstrings dangling in the front).
The man's skin was prevalent and pale.
Long, scrawny legs and nobby knees were covered in damp, dark hair. They were also dazzlingly white.
His creamish shoulders hunched forward a bit and led up to a thin neck, topped by an ovalish head of black, tousled hair. The hair, too, was wet. Droplets of water ran from the ends of the hair around his long face.
He held a room key in his long fingers and stood at the bar to order a drink and charge it to his room.
His large, white and bare feet (with thin toes and way too many knuckles) squished on their pads as he stood on the tile in front of the bar and casually ordered his drink.
He had a pallorous chest that sank in at the top and showed a lot of sternum.
He turned toward the lounge as he waited for his drink, providing a full frontal view.
The pale chest was adorned with two brownish areolas about the size of half-dollars.
These were the only pigmented areas present on his entire damp body.
Think "Waking Ned Devine," only quite a bit younger.
He was...
I held my Mojito like Liberty's torch, my elbow resting on the table top and my mouth slightly agape.
A chilly droplet of condensation splashed down against my thigh.
My eyes would not close.
They surveyed the man at the bar as they would an unexpected life form at the outskirts of Area 51.
If the man had been stark naked, he would not have appeared any more out of place.
As if drawn by a force stronger than gravity, my eyes---my wife's---and those of our fellow lounge mates, became fixed upon the white man's flat, brown nipples/areolas.
He then took his drink, signed for his tab and strode back out of the lounge.
My head turned to my wife, with my eyes following not far behind.
"What the hell was that?" I said. "Didn't that guy realize there's a bar at the pool? Oh, and thanks for showing us the pepperonis! Way to go, 'Pepperoni Tony.'"
She looked back at me and burst out laughing.
There were twitters around the room after "Tony" departed, and soon the white noise resumed. Even the piano started playing again.
To this day, "Pepperoni Tony" is famous around our house.
He stands for every pale guy who should never go out in public in a bathing suit, much less into a bar full of patrons.
We met him at a Disney venue we know and love.
We would end up joking about him often.
He never even knew it.
Important tip: be careful what you wear folks and where you choose to wear it!