Monday, August 1, 2016

Better Still, Change It to Karen

I went from zero to cocky in the space of a doctor's appointment.

Since it had been a few years since I'd had blood work done, I was in for that and a prescription refill, but my doctor had come to praise: my blood pressure, my activity level, my weight, my water intake and especially my sleep sufficiency. Profusely.

So much so that he asked if he could use me as an example to other patients - of course, using only my first name and age, he assured me - of good habits paying off despite advancing age.

Use away, doc, but people will hate to hear it.

Just so you know, here's what a mature woman with good habits does when a nurse tells her she's lost five pounds and a doctor asks to make an example of her: immediately seeks out a way to celebrate with food. Duh.

Conveniently, the Jackdaw pop-up was setting up residence at Millie's tonight (its first outing since abandoning the brief go as Antler & Fin) and while Facebook nattered about whether to make reservations or not, I did the smart thing and just showed up shortly after they opened, claiming the least popular bar stool at Millie's (at least during summer).

Sitting diagonally across from the stove of an open kitchen while air conditioning runs is only a sacrifice for those accustomed to A/C.

Fact: my perch stove-side was not only cooler but less humid than my apartment.

After hearing my reply about what order I'd like my food to arrive (any), the server not only accepted me but complimented my dress for its summery turquoise color, then shared that it had been a no-brainer to work tonight's pop-up so she could taste one of everything.

I was not quite that ambitious.

An observation of mine led us off on a discussion about changing server/bartender roles since cell phones have become the new normal.

"When I see everyone at a table has taken out their cell phone, it's either because the food just arrived and they all need to take pictures or they're done eating and I can collect plates," she explains.

No slacker this one, she cited studies about the changes in restaurant ordering habits and how it now takes 17 minutes longer once people sit down to get food because of customer delays in ordering due to cell phone priority.

I know it's useless to rail, but will we ever, as a people, climb out of this uncivilized hole we've dug ourselves into since the advent of devices?

Starting with golden crispy eggrolls, er, lumpia of camerones al pastor with a sweet and sour sauce, I moved on to Border Springs tea-soaked lamb ribs with spicy potato salad (guy at bar: "best potato salad I ever had") and pickled peaches (I limited myself to two slices so my tongue wouldn't swell), but it was the nutty, salty soy, texture-rich fried farro with vegetables that hit the most pleasure points for me.

The couple nearby told me to help myself to a taste of anything they ordered that I didn't, but the sad truth was that I couldn't even finish all I'd ordered, not that I didn't break habit and get it boxed up to go.

Plain and simple, it'll be fine leftovers like any good Chinese food is.

Stop number two had been on my to-do list for some time now.

Given the often relative paucity of Monday night happenings, I'd been intending to get over to the Camel for Motown Mondays (Spinning all your favorite Motown classics, covers, close relatives and remixes) to see how Mad Skillz and DJ Lonnie B interpreted Motown to a 2016 crowd, as it turned out, with a 40-year age range.

Well, they did it by playing Barry White's "You're the First, My Last, My Everything" for a couple celebrating an anniversary, a white couple who got up and danced every note of the song (without completely embarrassing white people everywhere), matching each other step for step as they've undoubtedly been doing since disco-dating in the '70s.

The couple didn't request it, but the DJ followed that with "Let's Get It On," a selection that got cheers.

A young trio formed in front of the stage to watch the DJ spin and scratch, but they also danced in place and filmed not the dancers but the DJ.

One of the group looked like nothing so much as a character on an '80s sitcom (at least, a non-TV watcher's notion of an '80s sitcom character) with a fabulous high fade and big nerdy-looking glasses.

I listened through snippets of classic songs like "Ain't That Peculiar?" and "Eve of Destruction," impressed with both the music and the crowd it had attracted, both less typical than the usual Camel fare.

Yea, I could do this again.

Proximity made my next stop effortless. A few doors down, Firehouse Fringe was hosting Cabaret: A Night of Contemporary Musical Theater sung by some of the younger members of the Richmond theater community.

My interest was doubly piqued, partly for the exposure to newer music from plays I hadn't yet seen or heard and partly because I'd been so impressed with the young theater collective who'd recently staged "Seven Brides" there and blown my socks off with their youthful exuberance and creativity, that I was curious how much more of that energy and talent was out there.

It wasn't hard to get a glimpse of the musicals that have captured young millennial drama kids' hearts - "Waitress," "Edges," recent Tony winner "Funhome" - but just as engaging were their choices of some "older" material from "The Full Monty" (complete with pelvic thrusts and hip swiveling), the Disney-sounding "Finding Neverland" and perhaps most surprisingly, "Pippin," a veritable dinosaur to these kids

Songs choices were clearly based on youthful angst issues, meaning lots of tunes about first-time experiences, loving yourself before you can love others, the drawn-out pain of heartbreak, yada yada.

Charlemagne was even touched on, but probably my favorite was "Changing My Major to Joan" from "Funhome."

I'm changing my major to sex with Joan
With a minor in kissing Joan
Foreign studies to Joan's inner thighs
A seminar on Joan's ass in her Levis

Besides exposure to new material, there was lots of talent, too, including several people I recognized from Firehouse's current production of Green Day's "American Idiot," like Denver and Kelsey, but all of them satisfying their musical comedy jones by emoting madly through each of their songs.

"I love how comedy is making its way back into musical theater instead of just songs as patter," is how one actor put it.

I love how I can have no plans at 4:00 - Holmes turned me down after a "rough" weekend out of fear for his own weaknesses - yet manage to find a one-day only menu and two very different kinds of music by 5.

Now that's why I should be an example to other patients.

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