Dearest Rachel –
Since both your parents were university art professors, I know you had a thorough grounding in the fine arts, including history and the like. And given your dad’s fondness for dada and surrealism, you’re undoubtedly familiar with Rene Magritte and his work. And at the moment, I’d like to call attention to his painting of a pipe, which he made perfectly plain was not in and of itself a pipe…
And the reason I bring this up is to let you know that, whatever this is that Ellen and I were doing this past evening, this was most assuredly not a date.
To be sure, any outside observer could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Certainly, our waiter (or gaucho, as they refer to themselves at Texas de Brazil) was quick to ask us, “what’s the occasion?” as we were being seated. Which probably stands to reason, as it almost requires an occasion to splash out a place like this.
Had things gone according to the original plan, it would’ve been a little more obvious that it wasn’t that sort of occasion. Daniel was supposed to come with us as well, since he, like Ellen, was working like a house elf the other weekend. Indeed, Ellen insists that he didn’t need to be prompted to do all the work that he did; he simply did other things in hopes that the two of them would then be able to work on that one broken fan. Still, regardless of the fact that she refuses to take all the credit, she deserves a considerable more then she’s willing to allow herself for somehow being able to motivate Daniel. Whatever it is she does, I haven’t figured out that secret sauce.
But be that as it may, Daniel had received an invite from Logan just the night before to go see a movie – I think it was called ‘Free Guy,’ and it’s about a video game character that realizes he’s in a video game – with him. I actually think that we may have seen a preview trailer together some time last year, and you thought that it looked like it would be fun to watch when it came out. And as always, I’m sorry you have to miss out.
Look, I know everything in heaven is so much better compared to anything here on earth. But if you were to be here for a couple more decades, would that really cut into your eternity? What harm would there have been for you to stick around, and see and do a few more things down here?
Anyway, that’s why Daniel wasn’t with us, and why it looked like Ellen and I were out on a date. I suppose it’s liberating to not really worry about that, as we both agree there’s really no chemistry between us, even as we do have a friendship that probably makes us look (from an outside perspective) like an older married couple, perfectly comfortable in each other’s company. And as long as I don’t think about that outside perspective and get self-conscious about it, I can certainly enjoy my time with her here. Or probably anywhere.
I suppose I should fill you in on things that have changed. For one, unlike the last time we were here just over a year ago (and when the gaucho asked what the occasion was then, you’ll remember we responded with “because you guys are actually open now!”), we can actually go up to the salad/soup/antipasto bar and serve ourselves, rather than having to fill out some form, all the while calculating, “am I really going to be able to eat all of this?”
For another, the places was pretty crowded, not like that 25% capacity situation we were in last year. And while that’s good news for the restaurant business (or at least, this restaurant’s business), I’m going to say it doesn’t do it any favors as far as being a spot to actually take a prospective date. Sure, it’s a great place to go if you want to suggest you’re financially well-off without actually saying it. but you’d best be prepared to do a lot of other ‘not saying’ over the course of the meal. When it’s busy, it’s loud; and when it’s loud, it’s death for conversation, is what I’m saying. Not a place to go to get to know someone you haven’t met yet. And yes, these are things I have to take into consideration going forward, as I prepare to dip my toes into the dating pool.
At least the two of us could comfortably raise our voices at each other loud enough to catch up on each other’s weekends. And afterwards, we could head back to the house and just hang out for a bit. She directed me to a few videos by a group known for performing sea shanties; evidently, they’d just been commissioned by a smaller automaker to compose a collection of ‘land shanties’ about the joys of driving (and specifically, driving their car). In turn, I meandered through a few songs by our favorite acapella group, DaVinci’s Notebook, and proceeded to follow the algorithm down the rabbit hole to a Irish comedian/singer who manages to summarize Hamlet in barely three minutes, among other things.
All of which could have gone on for hours, but it was getting late, and unlike me, Ellen has a specific time when she has to be at work in the morning. So she bid me adieu, and that was the end of the evening… well, at least until the boys came home from the movies about a half-hour later. At which point I figured I might as well go through the usual bedtime ritual for Chompers, and drop myself into bed once he was ready.
You know how, after eating a heavy meal, you wind up with some weird dreams? I think I’ve mentioned this some other time, complete with my name-checking the Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend. Well, that’s what I woke up to this morning.
There wasn’t much to it, but here’s what I managed to take away from it, and get written down before it all faded away: I’m going to assume it was January 2023, In some joint session of Congress. The freshman class new legislators were given front row seats to what I’m going to say ought to be a traditional hazing ritual going ever forward. Only, of course, it wasn’t the freshman being hazed.
What it was, was an extended period of clips of the stupid stuff that their colleagues and predecessors had said and or done during the previous two-year term, starting with Nancy Pelosi’s “Good morning… Sunday morning,” and going from there.
Oddly enough, the funniest clip – at least to the legislators – was one of our own beloved Mayor Lightfoot, storming down from the podium and getting into a brawl with the press corps. I don’t think this has happened, but it wouldn’t surprise me that it might. Anyway, the clip was overlaid with a track of The Liberty Bell march (a.k.a. Monty Python’s Flying Circus theme), with both sessions of congress laughing and clapping along in time to the music. Basically, I guess, it was funny because it wasn’t them.
I’m pretty sure I’ve been reading too much Twitchy, but I think this would not be a bad idea to show all public figures as they begin their tenure: “Look, you’re going to say stupid crap, and people will drag you for it. Hard. So if you don’t want that to happen, keep your fool mouth shut.”
Basically, it’d be like World’s Dumbest for public figures.
And thus, as it says in Genesis, the evening and the morning was my day. I’d ask how yours were, if I thought I’d get an answer.
Anyway, I’ll talk to you later. Love you.