Barry Saunders

Enjoy the good moments in life’s cabaret

Have you ever seen one of those “meet cute” romantic comedies where the guy, after catching a glimpse of a beautiful girl in traffic or in the produce section of the whole-paycheck organic grocery store, posts a personal ad in the local paper, she sees the ad just before tossing the paper-turned-fishwrap into the trash, they meet for drinks at O’Malley’s and live happily ever after?

He even loves her dyspeptic cat.

This is not one of those stories. This missive is addressed to the person I saw across traffic in Durham on Sunday. Here goes:

You were the bald-headed dude in cargo shorts and T-shirt in the parking lot of Angel Roses Florist on Miami Boulevard on Sunday around 3:30 p.m.

I was the ruggedly handsome guy stuck in traffic and ticked off because there was so much of it, fuming because I was taking my new high-tech cellphone back to the store for repairs for the third time in a month.

I was stuck in the left-hand lane, which was moving only slightly faster than the stalled right lane.

The reason that lane wasn’t moving was that a car with a woman driver had broken down and you were pushing to get it off the street. You struggled to budge the car until the driver finally got out and, being larger than you, helped push it the last 10 feet into the flower shop’s parking lot.

An exceedingly good deed – or was the man merely trying to get her broken down hooptie out of the way so he could go to his golf game or meet his buds for brews at the bar?

Who cares? Who knows?

Damsel and Galahad

What is known is that when the damsel in distress tried to offer her Sir Galahad money – one can presume that’s what she was doing when she reached into her car for her pocketbook – he vigorously shook his head and waved her off.

He then gave her a thumbs-up sign and returned to his car.

That selfless act resonated with me for the rest of the day, especially the fact that the Good Durhamaritan never looked around to see if anyone was noting his kindness.

Had the object of his aid been a 22-year-old woman in a bikini and high heels – I know, I know: women don’t drive around like that, except in men’s fantasies – the incident wouldn’t have resonated, indeed may have remained unremarked upon. Face facts, Jack: there is nothing remarkable about men rushing to help pretty young women, whether they need it or not. The woman pushing her own car also was pushing 40 or 50 years and at least 70 more pounds than doctors say is healthy. I’m not criticizing, because so am I.

In “Cabaret,” the song goes “What good’s permitting some prophet of doom to wipe every smile away? Life is a cabaret, ol’ chum. Come to the cabaret.”

Don’t listen to doomsayers

There are those among us who allow their worldview to be colored by the doom prophets who profit by convincing us that life – as the philosopher Schopenhauer wrote – is nothing more than an endless pain with a painful end.

Tain’t true. Those people earn big bucks making you think we’re all virtually children of the damned who should just arm ourselves, climb into a hole and pull it in after us.

Is there ugliness and hate in the world?

Sure, but there is also beauty, if one is open to seeing it.

I saw it on the side of a packed boulevard Sunday afternoon while going to get a $%$#^^&* phone fixed.

If the two people engaged in that small slice of life Sunday read this, call me: I’d like to take both of you to lunch. It could be the beginning of a romance and a great story for your grandkids – or maybe just a couple of tacos and burritos.

Saunders: 919-836-2811 or