My evening was glaringly devoid of culture.
Sure, I could have gone to hear haiku, could have gone to see a silent movie or even an anniversary show. All those things were on my calendar as possibilities.
Instead, I got home from an afternoon of indulgence with a girlfriend to find an invitation for a dinner date and promptly said yes. So much for feeding my mind and soul tonight.
Even so, I'm not quite as hedonistic as a fellow Gemini who bragged, "I've been 44 for exactly 12 hours and 20 minutes and we've put down five bottles of wine and a pound of shrimp."
So it was with a clear conscience that my date and I headed out just as the pre-rain wind began kicking up, sending bits of paper in the recycling bins sailing through the air.
We landed at Bistro 27 before the first drop fell and joined a group of guys at the bar where we had a fine view of the street and any incoming precipitation. Summer weather makes such a good show.
A bottle of sparkling Vouvray helped assuage any lingering guilt about selling out culture for mere food while the trio next to us provided entertainment with endless chatter about their favorite movies.
One guy began describing the scariest movie he'd ever seen, only to have no idea what the title was. Finally, he gave up trying to use his brain and called his wife, keeping it short and simple. "Hey, what's that scary movie we just watched? Okay, thanks."
After abruptly hanging up on her, he turned to his buddies and announced, "'The Conjuring. Scary as hell."
Why waste time talking to your beloved when you could be discussing Alec Baldwin versus Harrison Ford in Tom Clancy movies?
For dinner, I started with one of tonight's specials, a lobster, corn, red onion, potato, Chorizo and crab soup with a burst of micro-greens on top, my second soup of the day and a beaut.
It may be hot outside, but when the soup's this good, I'll happily eat it and a bite of my date's lamb and pork house pate, full of olives and made even better with a swipe of preserved lemon thyme yogurt.
Announced by the flag outside suddenly flying horizontally, the rain finally arrived and people without umbrellas went scurrying by the window in search of shelter.
The guy next to me soon shifted into bender mode and began ordering his drinks with the cheapest bourbon they had and "as much as you're allowed to give me." Not a good sign.
Turns out he lived upstairs, so at least getting home wasn't a problem, and he described his very cool studio apartment as having 20' ceilings. I couldn't decide if that was an exaggeration.
For dinner, I chose crab salad with corn, pickled red onions, avocado, baby arugula and spinach in an avocado/buttermilk dressing. Yes, it shared a few ingredients with my soup and yes, it was perfectly delicious, light and fresh-tasting.
After four or five bourbons, bender boy asked the barkeep if they had any Malbec. Affirmative and he moved on to two glasses of that.
As he's sipping, he's telling his bud about the tiny Puerto Rican girl he's dating and how adorable she is because since he keeps his apartment at 65 degrees, she gets chilly and sits with a pillow on her lap to stay warm.
She was also adorable, he said, because she doesn't drink, which made me wonder how compatible they were given his ability to throw them back.
Mostly, though, they talked movies and drinker guy had a frame of reference for every movie he'd ever seen - where he saw it, what sport he was playing at the time, what grade he was in.
By the time we finished our meal, he was on to Calvados, assuring his friend that it was what men drank after they landed on the beaches of Normandy. As if he knew that.
His friend, an older guy who admitted that his life was dull, shared how he'd saved $9,000 toward a fund for his 14-year old daughter's first car, but admitted that he hadn't saved the first dime for her college education. Meanwhile, she'd been nagging him to borrow from the fund to finance thousand dollar concert tickets, something he couldn't understand but had acquiesced to anyway.
"No band is worth that," he told the friend. No parent should be foolish enough to give it to her, I wanted to say. Who's the adult here anyway?
By the time he said goodnight to go home to the wife and family, bourbon boy had moved on to beer and we were just waiting for him to fall off his bar stool or the rain to stop, whichever came first.
Our conversation- about early morning shopping, building things and the upcoming GWAR bar in Jackson Ward - paled in comparison to the hours of mindless guy talk beside us.
Perhaps it was my comeuppance for spending my evening with nothing more cultural than the yogurt on my date's plate.
Note to self: take a double serving of culture tomorrow night so as to feel better about my lapse.
Indulgence bender over.