Monday, November 16, 2009

Bottle of Red, Bottle of White

Believe it or not, last night a friend invited me into his home for dinner, despite knowing that the conversation would be peppered with Psychedelic Furs lyrics and that I'd no doubt find some way to soil the furnishings. As I was debating which t-shirt to wear, I somehow shook loose some Emily Post-style etiquette from the deeper recesses of my brain and realized I should probably take something to thank him for his hospitality.

I called him an hour or so before I'd be apologizing for staining the tablecloth to ask what would best accompany the meal. "Just bring whatever you'd want to me to bring to your place," he told me, shouting over the sound of pots and silverware being dropped into the sink.

"Oh, awesome! So either a remote controlled dinosaur or Hugh Laurie, lightly drizzled with maple syrup," I said.

If it were possible to actually hear someone regretting your friendship, that was the sound that filled the space between my last sentence and the dial tone.

Instead of wondering whether he'd dig a mechanized T-Rex or a smaller but more maneuverable ankylosaurus, I stopped into the Fresh Market for a bottle of wine. I know nothing about wine, since the kinds I tend to purchase have a handle on top of the box so you can more easily lift it onto the sofa beside you or snuggle with it during particularly intense SVU episodes. I quickly scanned the dark, wooden shelves, ignoring anything with a domesticated animal on the label or with the kind of ornate curling fonts you see in funeral programs.

Several varieties were highlighted with clip art and neatly typed index cards, like an alcoholic elementary schooler's science fair project. They were also all on sale. As soon as I read the phrase "great with grilled seafood"--what I'd soon be furiously aiming at my open gob--I grabbed the neck of Some Kind of White with a San-Serif Typeface and carried it to the cashier.

There was only one lane open, staffed by a girl with a green apron who stifled a yawn as she traced the outline of one of the oversized dragonflies tattooed on her forearm. It was an interesting choice of ink, since her limbs looked less artsy or attractive and more like my windshield after a late-summer road trip.

I plunked the bottle on the conveyor belt and she lazily dragged it across the scanner before dropping it into a narrow paper bag. "I'm gonna need to see your ID," she said.

"Rad," I said, because I talk like that guy you hated in eighth grade. "You've just made my day." I pried my license out of my wallet and held it over the register.

"Oh, I know you're old enough. It's for the computer" she said, pecking my birth digits into the keyboard. "Because it can't see you."

"Um. Right." I was reeling, my pride immediately deflating, no doubt settling into the deep creases in my forehead or the trenches etched beside my eyes. "Hey can you hang on for one second?"

She shrugged.

"Be right back," I said, the untucked tail of my shirt flapping behind me. "I'm just going to grab another bottle. Or two."
__________

I'm finally back from my week of Seattle, of damp overcoats and Top Pot donuts. Although I didn't come home with a Career or a commitment to business-casual dress codes, I did have some reasonably swell news on the job front. I'm going to keep it quiet for now, lest all my good fortune get spooked, bolting into the underbrush where it will immediately be killed, skinned and eaten by a hunting party.

Anyway. It was well worth the trip, despite the shrieking infants on both cross-country flights, the ones whose endless, ossicle-shattering screeches kept me from truly enjoying the SkyMall catalog. More details about the trip--and my move--will follow, of course, and many thanks go out to the fine people of King County who were willing to talk with me, forward my resume or watch me try to eat enough brisket to fill a two-bedroom condominium.

Finally, if a restaurant names an entree after Elvis Presley, it's not a menu item you should order, taunt, or make eye contact with. Any food that pays tribute to a man whose heart exploded during an a particularly intense Poop Session will break you. And--perhaps fittingly--it will also break the plumbing fixtures of your $60-per-night hotel.

Confidential to the Belltown Inn: I'm so sorry.

17 comments:

Titanium said...

Had to read this one twice to fully appreciate all the goodies. Still laughing like a hyena...

-t said...

I've done the Carolina to Seattle leg a number of times, and the screaming infants is always a drag. I did have one flight that didnt have a screaming infant, however the trade off was being in the middle seat between two fatty arbuckles who always bought a window and an aisle seat so they "had enough space.' It was hard to hear them explain this to me as the blood being forced out my ears from the crushing pressure prevented my ears from functioning properly. Love the blog!

Nanodance said...

I totally love sky mall catalog. Shrieking infants on planes don't care about that though. Jerks.

Anonymouse said...

i don't think babies should be allowed on a plane. if you want to travel with a baby, torture you're own family on a road trip, not a plane load.

i also hate sitting behind the man with fungus-rotting feet who thinks that 2000ft+ altititude is kick-off-your-shoes time and share your disease-scented feet with the whole 20ft circumference of seats around you.

Jan said...

Two fatty arbuckles? Har har!! Am awaiting the big news . . .

biorhythmist said...

"like an alcoholic elementary schooler's science fair project" really spoke to me.

Phil said...

Pro Tip: Avoid any and all alcoholic beverages offering a full paragraph (or more) describing the adventurous taste of their libation. Any company that puts that much effort into describing taste is no doubt ignoring the more important process of producing something meant to kill brain cells.

Kitty said...

Yeah you have to be careful with good news. It scares easily. :)

Claire said...

Hello! Just came via bitchbuzz credits page. I loved your wine story - especially:

"Rad," I said, because I talk like that guy you hated in eighth grade.

Yes, I'm going to be irritating and fill comments section with your own words. But they made me smile, so I shall.

Dan said...

There's a small chain in Vancouver called the Memphis Blues that has an Elvis and also a Priscilla platter. They have every type of meat you can imagine, and then some. There's even pheasant if you ask for it.

The Elvis platter can feed four people with leftovers. The Priscilla is actually larger.

Miss B said...

I knew I recognized the rooftop in the photo you posted -- I used to live at the Belltown Inn! Except then (10 years ago) it was called Marvin Gardens Inn, and it was a sort of semi-furnished studio apartment building. It was eerily like living at Adult Summer Camp. With drugs. (My hallway was particularly prone to semi-regular cops-busting-down-doors incidents. Oh, my wacky neighbors!)

Joe said...

Nice that the girl behind the counter couldn't even humor one person during his miserable, 8-hour shift.

I probably fly once a year, and every time I do, I feel like I'm reading Sky Mall for the first time all over again.

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Glad to hear there's hope on the career horizon. Totally understand the feeling that articulating a job opp jinxes it. Believe it.

repliderium.com said...

If you bring Hugh Laurie I will have you over for dinner every fucking night.

Evie Stewart said...

Oops! I can't get the Elvis visual out of my mind. Glad you got your secret good news though. Sending positive wishes...
xo/
@EvieStewart

Mike said...

"exploded during an a particularly intense Poop Session"

I didn't know this. It may come in handy for trivia someday.

P00dles said...

I laughed until bladder control was tenuous at best.