Tuesday, February 28 2006
The downhill neighbors had me come over because their computer's mouse had died. I showed up and did almost nothing at all and the thing sprang back to life as of released from the jaws of a cat. So then I sat down and ate a sandwich full of greasy homemade pastrami and drank not one but two glasses of red wine. That was my "payment." (Their payment, in addition to my trivial computer repair, was seeing me eat meat; for a set of obvious reasons - related mostly to guilt - carnivores love to watch ostensible vegetarians devouring flesh.) Later they'd be hosting a big Fat Tuesday party, though (like my father's ancestors) they're German Catholics (culturally, not religiously) and they call it Shrove Tuesday.
In addition to being Mardi Gras it was also the fifth anniversary of the day on which Gretchen and I finally saw each other again after an exactly 12 year estrangement. Yes, 17 years ago today, half Gretchen's life ago, she and I became estranged, not imagining what paths our futures would take.
To celebrate, Gretchen and I went out to the Emerson in Woodstock, a particularly fancy restaurant frequented by the sort of people who don't think to clean up after their children when they make a kiddie mess at brunch (you know what I mean) or unexpectedly tip back their heads and geyser-puke all over the place. Somehow we got to talking with our waitress about incidents where customers vomited, and it turns out that vomiting customers are not an uncommon in restaurants. It's the sense of entitlement keeping them from cleaning up after themselves that sets Emerson customers apart. Later it turned out that we actually knew our waitress, or knew of her. She's the daughter (or maybe just "daughter") of the craziest woman in Hurley, a reporter/real estate agent who is now in Antarctica. (Given the peculiar nature of our planet, it's a good time to be there.)
Other than the parents of spoiled kids, the Emerson seems to attract a decidedly gay crowd, at least on Mardi Gras. It may not mean anything, but all the tables except ours had nothing but well-groomed men seated around them.
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