Monday, July 12, 2004


Mrs. A and I got downtown and parked (finally, after waiting for a too large truck to navigate a narrow parking lot aisle). A short block and a half to the restaurant and hoo boy, look at all these people! This place looks packed! Fortunately it was just a large party that was waiting for their table to be prepped, not the back-up that I dreaded it being. In fact, we'd be first in line once the rest of our party showed up.

And in just a minute or two they did! Miss Janis and her brother Charles and sister Patricia, fresh from getting all cultured up in the museum district. It's funny how people never look like what you expect them to. Miss Janis is a little taller than I expected - I don't know why (maybe she writes short?), but I think it's because one of my employees hails from Cajun country and she literally has trouble getting her feet to touch the ground. Well, at least when she sits. Anyway, that expectation thing works both ways 'cause Miss Janis told me she didn't realize I was so tall. I told her, "Yep. I'm a big fella. We grow 'em big in Texas." (My father says you can always tell a Texan, but you can't tell him much.)

Everyone was introduced and after that first brief (inevitable) awkward pause, I managed a, "Well, at least nobody LOOKS like an axe murderer!" or something close to it. I hope they were thinking the same thing.

It took just a minute or two before we were seated - in the main room, which architecturally speaking was pretty cool with lots of curves and round stuff (I'm still talking about the building here, stay with me) some of it black and some of it white which made for good visual contrast. But it could be no mistake that acoustically, it was like standing next to a wood-chipper choking on a hickory log. Gives the place an atmosphere, an ambiance, a "buzz". Whatever. Also makes it hard to hear what's being said by the person next to you. At least if you can see their mouth, you can (mostly) figure out the gist of what they are tying to say.

We took our time looking over the menu and then went straight to the usual fare. Mrs. A said "I'll have the enchiladas, one beef, one cheese and one chicken." I'm so original, I said, "Me too." Miss Janis ordered something that had a little bit of this and a little bit of that, Charles had shrimp with whatever he ordered and Patricia, though she sat right next to me, I'm ashamed to say I have no idea what she ordered. But when it came, it all looked good. Tasted good to. (Mine, that is. I didn't sample anyone else's food ... maybe next time.)

We talked about this and that, how modern art was an acquired taste, how Mrs. A and I met, how Miss Janis found herself in Louisiana, how Lucy was a Mama's girl, how I intentionally have never posted about what I do for a living (Either super-secret hush-hush stuff that I'd have to hunt each one of you down and kill you if you knew, or something so incredibly dull that people's eyes normally glaze over after talking about it for just a few seconds. You pick.), how the blog world was filled with interesting people, and other bits of this and that. Interestingly enough, Miss Janis had to give a brief explanation to her siblings on just what a blog was. I figured they might read hers, but after that, I guess not. Anyway, I realized how much I had been talking when Mrs. A finished her plate before I did. That never happens.

The check arrived and after a brief, but animated "discussion" on who would be allowed to pay what (I still think if you're on my turf, I should get to pay! 'Specially since it was my idea. Hmph.), Miss Janis took control. Mrs. A wisely just leaned back to be out of the fray. Once I realized I was not going to win this one, I leaned over to Patricia and asked, "Is she always like this?" I don't recall Patricia's exact words, but I think a fair interpretation would be something along the lines of, "You think?"

We made our way outside and goodbyes were tendered. Miss Janis' group left to find their car and Mrs. A and I headed across the street to the ... TOBACCO SHOP. Just to by un-gummed cigarette paper, though. (IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK!) The YAC plays the oboe and her private lesson instructor told her to use un-gummed cigarette paper to clean the pads if they get sticky. (Dude, like, sure man. Whatever.) No, really.

Anyway, I'd say the evening was a success. Mrs. A and I both enjoyed ourselves, and I think the others did as well. If not, they were nice enough to do a convincing job of pretending. I warned Miss Janis that since she's not home until tomorrow, I'd have first shot at establishing what went on. I told her that I'd think of something to say or just make something up like always. (I'm not telling which)

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

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