Vindaloo Philm-Wallah

Pauline Kael needs her computer fixed.

Late for an appointment on a rainy day just as its turning dark, I stop into a school on the boulevard where they are beginning their night classes. I'm delivering a large, fully-stuffed duffel bag whose color in my mind alters from orange to blue. I'm not sure what's in the bag as I hoist from my shoulder on to the cabinets by the windows. Its full and feels like linens, one of the adult students suggests that it might be covid-19 masks. Nearby there is a lady in her early 60's perhaps sitting at one of the students desks. She is agitated that her laptop is not functioning properly. The woman asks if I know anything about it and I offer to take a look. I recognize this lady, its the famous film critic Pauline Kael! I am able to make a little progress while hovering over her, but impatiently she springs up and takes her place in the front of the classroom. I take that as a queue to continue working on the computer. I quickly explain that I can do this better if I were able to leave the room. I pick up the laptop and with her approval walk out of the classroom door and down the school hall. 

I find myself in an abandoned locker room-cum-parking garage. I reason that the lights are all turned out is that the kids are not at school due to the cornona virus outbreak. What I'm not prepared for are the mice running around. At first I thought they were rats but they were too small. With laptop in hand I exit the locker room-cum-garage and enter into a small apartment kitchen. This seems to be Pauline's as there are pictures of her and family and friends around. Its quaint and kind of old-timey with yellow flowered wallpaper and a red-checkered cloth on a table that couldn't fit more than four. I have a seat and resume looking over her laptop. Pauline breezily enters and cheerfully asks how its going. I explain that I was just now looking at it. She pulls up a stool right beside me and then stands upon it in an effort to retrieve something from a high shelf. The dimensions of the small kitchen mean that her midsection is right by my face as she reaches upward in a black long sleeved, form-fitting shirt and a black miniskirt on top of black tights. Her bright demeanor and her body so close, she at the moment does not seem unattractive, especially when she steps down and I see she is wearing tall black pumps. I stand to help her with her box and am a little shocked to find that contrary to all I've seen and read about her, she is a good four-inches taller than me! 

She then expresses that the laptop can wait but we have to right away go and join her friends for lunch. With the laptop we exit the building through the locker room-cum-garage and down the street. I am drumming up the courage to explain to her that I am a filmmaker and that I am very familiar with her writings. I begin to speak on it after resolving how to phase such an exhortation and she stops me halfway through. "I know, I know... I'll be happy to discuss this with you later, don't worry. But we really have to get to the lunch..."

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