A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Dessert for Dinner

Tonight I visited some old friends in Maine. We ended up in a Mexican restaurant called Tortilla Flat. The company was excellent, and so were the margaritas. Which was just as well, because nothing on the dinner menu excited me.

For a vegetarian who's also a pretty fair cook, typical American restaurant menus are a disappointment. Take away the meat, and it's the same four or five things, over and over. If I didn't know how to cook them myself, I might be excited. But not only are they pale imitations of what they ought to be, they rarely add up to what I call a real meal.

I could go into details here. But suffice it to say that I surveyed the menu with apathy. I decided not to fill up on a greasy main course, so that I would have room for dessert, which did look pretty good to me. Flan--yum. And there was an apple thing with caramel sauce on it, too. It was going to be hard to choose between them.

And that's when it hit me. What I really wanted was two desserts. What I'm frequently in the mood for when I dine out is just dessert, but I always end up trying to match my dining partners, course for course. And usually everyone pigs out on the main course, and then starts looking at the time and calling for the check.

So I did it. There's a first time for everything. And this was the first time for me to sit around a table full of people eating steak and quesadillas and pulled pork, happily polishing off pie and flan and whipped cream. There was no one to scold me, or even make jokes about it. That's what's nice about this particular group of friends. They're not into guilt or sarcasm or one-upsmanship. Just doing their own thing, and letting others do theirs.

I'm not going to make a habit out of it. But just once in my life, it was nice to have dessert for dinner.

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