Friday, March 20, 2015

Prove It All Night

Never believe a man who tells you his fish is this big. Unless, of course, he shows you a picture to prove it.

I saw not one but three funeral processions on my walk this morning. I spent all afternoon inside my head and on the computer first making story pitches to my editor and then writing a snappy piece about a tenth anniversary. Enough already.

By early evening, I was more than ready to go on a date with myself. First stop, the Magpie since it had been a while.

The bar was all mine and as far as the two tables of young couples were concerned, I was invisible drinking Tenuta di Tavignano Verdicchio, spooning up my potato, cauliflower and Manchego soup and reading my Washington Post. Fine by me.

The sweetest story I read concerned a documentary about Lady Bird Johnson's beautification efforts (which I'm sure we'll never see in Richmond).

When Congress was stalling on LBJ's highway beautification bill, he's shown telling his Cabinet, "You know that I love that woman. And she wants that highway beautification bill and by god, we're going to get it for her!"

I don't know about you, but I have only admiration for a man who not only has beagles but is up front about telling his coworkers on camera he loves his wife. Very nicely done, LBJ.

With the radio set to the Old 97s, the bartender and I discussed the ordering of music genres at a restaurant. He was telling me that this station would soon be replaced by something louder and more raucous, say T Rex or Bowie, as the evening progressed. He was impressed that I'd seen the Old 97s while he'd just recently been unable to get off work to catch them at the Jefferson.

I ordered a special of beef tri-tip carpaccio topped by white bean and onion salad, housemade Bloody Mary mix and olive oil, enjoying the savory salad almost as much as the tri-tip. What I wasn't enjoying was an article about Meerkat, the breakout app at SXSW.

Tell me we don't really need a live streaming app that lets iPhone users share real-time video directly to their Twitter feed. People talk about how tangible it feels, as if they were really there. The awful part, as the article points out, is that we're redefining "experience" from something you actually do to something you witness digitally.

I don't know that I want to be part of a world where seeing something on a tiny screen replaces experiencing it in real life, but I fear that ship has already sailed.

Setting the paper aside, I decided to focus on my reality and indulge in another of the evening's specials. The chef had been showing off a photograph of the four-foot rockfish he'd gotten in today, a truly impressive specimen, its head as long as his chef's knife.

What spoke to me was rockfish collar, also on special tonight. First rule of fish eating: never pass up a chance for collar.

Basted in lime, honey and tequila before being pan fried and served with pistachios and peppers, it looked as fabulous as it tasted. Flipping it over to get at the hunks of white meat, I was soon eating with my fingers as if it were a whole fish.

All I can say is, no live stream could possibly convey the succulence of this rockfish collar.

When I looked up from my fish feast, I realized the two young couples had been replaced by four middle-aged couples. The times they were a -changin' and if the grown-ups had arrived, it was time for me to leave.

I'd taken so long digging out every morsel of collar that I was almost late to the Noir Cinema series, this month at Ghostprint Gallery. After finding a seat, a handsome man with braids sat down in my row only to check his phone and look at me sadly. "VCU just lost in overtime," he informed me in his deep voice.

What a shame. Let's talk.

Tonight's film was "Jump" by filmmaker Anthony Harper who'd made it as his senior thesis at Howard University. The short film was set in rural Virginia and focused on a disabled mother and her college-bound son.

I saw it as a power struggle between generations as a parent refuses to let go of a child, a universal theme told in a succinct and beautifully-filmed way. During the Q & A, I was fascinated as people brought up points I hadn't even noticed.

One person was impressed that the main character, a high school student, had been shown as part of an intact black family. Another was struck by how matter of factly it was presented that all the black high school kids shown had college plans.

All I could think was how the media must constantly rely on black cultural stereotypes in mass media for things like these to stand out to people. They hadn't even occurred to me, perhaps because I'm not black.

That's one of the reasons I enjoy the Noir Cinema series so much. Getting to hear how others interpret black-made films about black characters is reliably a reality check on the state of our supposedly post-race society.

When the evening ended, I wandered up to Bistro 27 for dessert. Walking in, a smiling woman asked me if I was a nurse. Do I look capable enough to be a nurse?

She asked because there was an event for nurses happening, but I sidled by them and made my way to the bar for dessert. Chocolate pate with fresh whipped cream and blackberries may not have been what I needed, but it definitely qualified for what I wanted.

As luck would have it, a friend showed up and we wiled away a little time chatting about upcoming trips, the best place for a quick breakfast and sliced versus chunks of pastrami on a sandwich (I'll take either).

Before we knew it, a light rain was starting and since I'd walked over, it seemed like a good time to begin heading home.

Which means I got a little wet because I wasn't watching a live stream of a woman walking in the rain after eating rockfish collar and discussing race, I was actually walking in the rain.

And by god, that's the way I want it.

1 comment:

  1. great wrap-up - made me smile knowingly.