Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Story of 821

Did you ever just feel like having a big old sloppy bar cheeseburger for dinner? With a beer or two, just to take the edge off some Shostakovich. One Friday night L. and I were going to a concert, so we thought we'd stop at a slightly (and I do mean slightly) upscale watering hole we knew of, and have a couple of the aforementioned burgers, plus fries. Well, it had been a long time since we'd been downtown, and we discovered to our dismay that our watering hole had closed. What to do? Nothing seemed to be open but "821," a very upscale eatery. Well, we didn't have a whole lot of time, but I figured we could get something quick in the bar. We found a table, but the menu was the same as the sitdown. I looked at the prices-- I didn't feel like paying $24.95 an entree, the cheapest thing (plus it was a la carte), especially not when I had a cheeseburger in mind. So we wound up ordering wine and appetizers. That, I was hoping, should hold us. I have to keep my wife happy, you know. L. is a girl of strong appetite, vital in a very appealing sort of way. Frankly, I was feeling like the Three Stooges-- you know, when they walk into some ritzy joint by mistake and try to keep up appearances, hoping they don't wind up washing dishes.

Well, the appetizers didn't do it. I can't even remember what they were, but there wasn't enough. In all fairness, the bartender warned us they were just "conversation starters." He knew what we were about (we shabby interlopers). He was sympathetic but maintained his profesional distance. Genteel poverty can be so disconcerting.

We poured the last of the wine and desperately scanned the menu--and L. found it. It was a cortini, Barkeep informed us, a side dish: sweet potato, quick fried in nice long strips in honey and ginger. It was delicious, and there was a lot of it. For $4.95! And I think we only ordered one dish! Anyway, we left sated and happy, ready for Socialist Realism.

And that's the story of 821--one of those little survival tales that couples treasure.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fine Lines

"The human predicament is here presented neither as divine comedy nor fully blown tragedy, but is seen from a viewpoint located somewhere between Olympus and Gethsemane...(Seamus Heaney in the foreword to The Canon : the Original One Hundred and Fifty-four Poems by C.P. Cavafy).

Another haiku:

The portulaccas,
Now a heap of tangled vines;
Still-- tongues of color!

And this is good:

Friday, September 5, 2008

Labor Day Haiku

Drunken, heedless men
And mindless insect chorus
Praise September's moon.