As it turns out…
GREAT LINES, PERFECTLY TIMED
Anecdotally it would seem that I live in the past I suppose. But sometimes the present is less interesting than the past and so the past serves as surrogate present until which time the present becomes sufficiently amusing so as to merit a redundant anecdotal aside. It’s about time, again, a personal perpetual preponderance perhaps (10 demerits for over-alliteration). And sometimes things are far more amusing when seen in life’s rear-view mirrors, although not this one. It took years for my broken leg to seem hilarious, though.
Anyway- back in Boston I worked crazy hours at a dot com startup and so I enrolled my dog in a day care called Dog Day Afternoons. Pickup was precisely at 6 so plans after work had to accommodate having Jamoka in tow. I lived on a little island called Squantum so dropping him at home meant a long trip through snail-like commuter traffic and then a trip back into the city. Planning took some planning, I suppose.
One day a co-worker asked if I wanted to grab a drink after work, not a rare thing, and so first I picked up Jamoka and then we had to choose a place where he could sit outside with us as it was too hot to leave him in the car. I always left all the windows rolled down but was always afraid someone would steal him as he was so sweet and would go with anyone. So we walked through Christopher Columbus Park in the North End because there was a bar there which was dog-friendly on the outside but all of the outside tables were full. So we kept walking through the park. We came across a man and a woman with their beagle and the dogs liked each other and played so nicely that the man (forgot his name) suggested we all find a place to have dinner together.
We went to a restaurant at the edge of the North End (forget the name. I think it was 101 Atlantic. Years before it had been called Joseph’s Aquarium, of that much I am certain) that had outside tables. The man kept ordering expensive appetizers and wines and we got a little squirmy at the mental tabulations of the inevitable check but we were afraid to voice our fiscal fears and so we said nothing and decided this would be the big splurge. The evening was delicious with a velvety breeze from the water and the waning light and the getting along swimmingly thing. We had a delightful dinner and amusing conversation and the waiter brought the dogs bowls of water and dishes for the dog food. I always had a travel pack of dog food in my bag for such occasions. Jamoka happily shared his food with his new beagle friend. A well-dressed couple at the next table offered Jamoka a piece of their lobster and he smiled so wide that they kept feeding him bits of lobster and he sat up like an eager child on his best behavior. I was envious. It was a beautiful evening and I was dreading saying goodbye to my new friends. I tend to miss people before they are gone.
The waiter saw this and brought Jamoka a lobster bib that he didn’t at all mind wearing and some tourists came by and took a picture. It was pretty cute. jamoka delighted the guests by doing his famous breakdance; years earlier I had tried to teach him to roll over. But he would get confused and he knew it was a circular thing so he’d twirl around in a sitting position a few times and then drop to the floor and roll over. If the treat held aloft were fancy and I said the words, “Break it down”, he’d do his dance. People loved that trick.
The owner came out just then and took in the breakdancing the lobster bib tied around Jamoka’s neck and said, “Almost every day a woman who is a photographer/writer for The Boston Globe comes by with her dog about this time. I wish she would come by now and take a picture for the paper”, and so we all hoped she would come by as we ate. Yet she never did. It must have been her day to pick up her drycleaning. or maybe she was having a pedicure. I loved pedicures but would only have clear nail polish applied which always disappointed the woman I went to in Chinatown. She tried for color every time and we’d have a friendly debate about that. I always won.
As the sun set and the food and its vessels were cleared, it became that apparent time to go. The check came and there was that vulnerable moment (for the check) when it was neither here nor there and we all reached for it but the man snatched it and held it above his head and after a briefest of pauses which added to the subtle drama, said, “As it turns out, I’m rich.”
I plan to end up at dinner with relative strangers one day and use that line. I hope it does not sound inorganic or staged. I will practice aloud in the shower.