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for May 12, 2004

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Conversation Convection
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman

Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love scribbles these columns after dinner Monday nights, fusses with facts on Tuesdays and holds her breath all day Wednesdays. For Heaven's sake, people read these things, and this is a surprise because for a couple of years no one did. There we were, churning out material for a couple of years that no one seemed to read, then - BLAMMO! - we began receiving hate mail and love notes from persons well-versed in, well, us. It's a bit like talking to yourself and realizing people can hear you. Does one try to, um, speak in complete sentences or go on blithering blithely? Suddenly it seemed as if more effort were required: there's sense to be made, villainy to be reviled, and new fools to ridicule. Change was in the air!
Then we breaded turkey cutlets for dinner and the plan went straight to hell.
Nutritionists tell us the chemical in turkey that makes human bodies pleasantly sleepy after ingestion is tryptophan, or L-tryptophan, depending on who's doing the pontificating. Once this stuff crosses the magical line between body and brain brine, the body in question blinks a lot, holds still, and says thing that sound much like "Eeeeeaaaaaaggghh mmuuummmphh?" Moreover, unless the house is burning down, the full and contented person couldn't care less if that question made sense to the listener. It is at moments like these one hears statements one never thought possible.
Life is full of surprises, and people holding differing opinions, and practicing charming dialects which play havoc with simple communication. Still, there are some words you never expect to see or hear in a row:
1. "I am so tired of lox;"
2. "As a state employee, I can't wait to get to work in the morning and get started;"
3. "Fred looks great in that mullet."
No, you don't expect to hear these words in these orders, and if you did, your brain, stewy or not, would probably protect you from the horror. Maybe. Sometimes your friend calls you up and tells you this summer's Lollapalooza lineup three times because the first two times you said, "What does an aneurysm feel like? Does it feel like someone said Morrissey and Sonic Youth consented to be in the same state?" Sometimes, you find yourself in a Moroccan restaurant on Route 46 called Marakesh, and the food is tasty and in small bites, and because it's Saturday night the place is packed with all kinds of people, and seatings at this place are three hours apart so you're expected to stay the whole time. Things go pretty well for a while. You're with interesting people. It's a special occasion and there are amusing gifts to unwrap and fellow diners at the next table to confuse.
Suddenly there's a deafening sound from a corner of the room you failed to notice and a handsome man, perhaps recently a teenager, busts loose with the hot, happening Moroccan Top 40 Hit Parade. People sing along. People gyrate in the aisle. Sitting in the back of the restaurant, you pray nothing catches fire because your only exit is now through the kitchen, where you're certain there's already fire. The dancers are all ages, shapes and sizes, but everyone can dance. Across the room a party of Syrian Christians sits next to a party of more somber Russians.
Suddenly, the music stops, everyone drifts back to his or her seat. Just as conversation bubbles up around the room, a fully reflective belly dancer glides the length of the aisle from - Your Delight assures you - nowhere and waits for her music to start. This vision is fantastic in the full sense of the word, as in, "If I'm NOT hallucinating this, perhaps I NEED medication." When the belly dancer disappears into the same nowhere she presumably appeared from, the Top 40 begins again and the dancing is now more frenzied.
Time is passing in uneven lumps and you begin to think about the hour you'll be driving home, and isn't it time someone offered you something caffeinated to keep you from wrapping three thousand pounds of metal around a telephone pole? You remember that drivers on Route 46 are out of their minds, and that you didn't so much arrive at the restaurant and gently shift into a stationary mode so much as you exceeded the highway speed limit by thirty miles per hour so the Amish quit honking, your passenger pointed at Marakesh which you thought for a fleeting moment 'Hey, that's misspelled' before you pointed your car at a strip mall lot and destroyed your transmission by yanking the shifter into Park.
You've run out of things to say to your bestest companions and that's okay because the decibel level has reached seismic proportions. And just when you wonder how to communicate gesturally to your North African waiter that you'd like to leave without creating an international incident, every waiter runs from the kitchen bearing trays of flaming confections because it's not just your friend's birthday but everyone celebrating anything within a five mile radius is compelled by local ordinance to set fire to pastry here. On the way out, Paulie Gonzalez, Your Beloved's beloved, found a lone toddler wrestling with the enormous fire extinguisher - apparently in fear for his young life - and advised him the first thing he had to do was pull the pin.
Naturally, with all the dancing, the floor show and random flaming peril, we loved the place.
We didn't expect any of that, but you can expect a little something different from Your Sweet from now on - unless turkey's on the menu again, in which case you should expect to read, "Eeeeeaaaaaaggghh mmuuummmphh?"

©2004 Robin Pastorio-Newman

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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