Thursday, October 05, 2006

She mentioned in her email that she wasn't only hopping mad, but pig-biting mad. I suggested that we have lunch out today rather than rush over to the next-door sandwich shop. Though we're always under the gun, sometimes it just makes good sense to take more than the usual fifteen minute break and get the heck out. Time off for good behavior, I call it.

We went to the local Chinese joint which recently got a feng-shui makeover: screens, calligraphic prints, lucky bamboo, etc. (It's amazing how much nicer subgum pork tastes when served on a china plate with real silverware, or how much more refreshing the tea is when it doesn't taste like styrofoam.) There, we sat down, got fussed over by the waitress, and tried to relax. My girlfriend let off a bit of steam in the form of invective and I attempted some humorous commentary on her experiences (always iffy, as, when one is as close to a situation as I am to hers, one can never be sure if they've stepped over the line between dry and bitter. How on earth did Dorothy Parker do it? Oh, right: martinis at lunch).

A few minutes later, a couple of august-looking older men sat down at a table next to ours. Since we were separated by a screen, it wasn't difficult to engage in obvious eavesdropping, a delight, given that what they were talking about was much more interesting than our rehash of the morning's annoyances. For about twenty minutes, we took a break from our petty world to hear them discuss favorite books and authors. I drifted off to Maugham and Waugh; saw from my girlfriend's wry half-smile that she was enjoying the conversation as well.

After they left, she remarked on how nice it was to get a respite from the normal politicking and backbiting that takes place at work. I nodded in agreement.

Though reasonably intelligent, neither of us is what one would call intellectual, or of an academic bent: we're worker bees. There's nothing wrong with that; we don't mind. Every now and again, though, it's nice to be able to put our heads in the clouds and think on something other than office politics, local politics, relationship politics. It certainly helped today.

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