Friday, February 23, 2007

Off and on~


Bruce and I went out to eat at a nice little restaurant. Freida's. It's been around for years, well recommended, a family owned place. Not upscale, but nothing I'd be ashamed to take my city friends to. There are entrees with weird, sophisticated names, fried ravioli as a choice of pasta, spinach, garlic and feta cheese as ingredients, gourmet desserts, a long list of after dinner coffees laced with choices from the bar. . . . and two TVs over the bar, but it's middle class place not trying to be uppity.

At our dimly lit table, I pulled out my glasses to peruse the menu. The waitress saw me squint. "Oh, honey, do you need more light?"

"This is fine," I said. But she took my menu and swatted the light fixture on the wall with it. The light came on. Brightly.

She left, and we exchanged raised eyebrow looks with the women at the next table. "I wonder if she hits her husband to turn him on," said Bruce. We laughed.

The light blinked slightly. I stood up and gently screwed the bulb in more tightly. Smugly, I said to our neighbors, "All she needed to do was tighten it."

But the bulb continued to blink intermittently. On for a minute, off for ten seconds. On for five seconds, then off for a minute. "That's okay, one of the women said to me, as if I was orchestrating the light's rhythm. Leave it alone. Where we work a little thing like a blinking light doesn't bother us."

"Oh, you must be teachers, " I said.

"No, we work for the court."

The court must be worse than a classroom, because the light definitely bothered me. But they said, leave it alone. Bruce said, leave it alone. The man and woman on the other side of us cringed when the light blinked off, and blinked wildly when it came on. They looked annoyed. I got tense, and took a big swallow of my Merlot. And another.

Then the light went out. And stayed out. For over two minutes. No one seemed to notice, but me. I relaxed with my wine, and waited for our weirdly named entrees to arrive.

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