chai whut?

Saturday lunch is a long-standing favorite of ours. It's a chance for Jeff and me to talk without the artificial constraint of a lunch hour, or the tiredness that comes after a work day. Most are unmemorable quick outings; today's will stick in my mind for a while, but not in a good way.


It's been one of those months, in which you start tending to long-overdue tasks just because it's easier than listening to the emptiness of the house. Not that I minded … entirely; I'm notorious for liking large dollops of privacy with sprinkles on top, but this has been a bit much, even for me.I've called it the San Francisco Project, just because I don't know its real name. It's the one that sent Jeff out to—one guess—for three weeks, and promises to possibly send him out there again come February or so. It's meant not too many dinners together, unless you count my dropping off soups and the like for Jeff at his lab, and so last night was unusual.

We have our little traditions, Friday night dinner being one of them; we go out to a restaurant we like, settle in, chow down, and talk. Not purposefully, because if it were that way, we'd be doing it wrong. Just catching up.

Slug. Chew.

I have a confession to make. It will surprise a few of my friends, but not Jeff, who has insisted in the truth of this statement for quite some time, to my disbelief:I am a chilehead.

* * * * *

Ages ago, someone who didn't know me very well asked me what my favorite restaurant was. (Anyone who knows me well would inherently recognize the dangers and long-windedness inherent in such a topic, and would steer clear. It's almost as bad as asking me about my cats.) My response was typically obtuse, yet truthful:

"What kind?"

"Oh, any."

I wish I could remember the gist of my response, but I told the truth. If I want to go to a Japanese steakhouse, I have to go to Tuscaloosa, to have Ben-Kei's shrimp sauce. If I want sushi, it's Vancouver. Blue crab? The little shack that Andy took me to a few years ago. Cheesesteaks? Philadelphia. Indian? Little Rock.

Speed bumps and slow raccoons

When Viet Huong opened in Huntsville, we celebrated: at last, Eastern food that wasn't a) Thai or b) buffet Chinese (which, we might add, has the approximate China Content of a porcelain teacup made in Mexico). Therefore, we visited, and we ate.

We weren't the only ones. The ricers showed up too, as they are wont to do, driving around and doing their business and unwittingly provoking howls of laughter among the rest of us who have far better things to spend our money on.

seven deep and seatbelt free

In the time when man reckoned his life by season and snow, it was called the hunter's moon. The hunter's moon meant many things, sinking low in the sky, gravid with the promise of winter; the time to procure the beast and fowl that, preserved, would be the mainstay of winter.

In the time of rapidly shifting electrons, it is nothing more than an impediment to the Leonids.

Queen of Flames

He wrapped his hands around the martini glass. I watched, with one eye on my pad thai and the other on his finger, which idly swirled his toothpick-speared cocktail olives around in his glass.

Call me a professional eavesdropper, but it's pretty hard not to pay attention when you're trying to have a quiet dinner with your spouse at the local Thai restaurant, and the flaming queen sitting at the bar is asking the waiter, "So what are the rules on orgies in Alabama? How many people does it have to be? Fifteen, sixteen?"

Eat your pad thai, girl, I thought. He's drunk, he's getting drunker, and it's just going to get funnier—as long as he doesn't realize that anyone's listening to him…