Saturday, July 22, 2017

Hot Blooded

It's not the heat, it's the sweat. Mine.

A person could be forgiven for seeking out conditioned air when it's 99 degrees outside and her apartment is 96. What I'm trying to say is, I felt no shame in starting my evening out at 4:00.

My date picked me up in his air conditioned car so we could drive to an air conditioned theater and spend two glorious hours watching a work of art in the guise of a true story/offbeat love story/artist biopic, shot beautifully in Nova Scotia.

Honestly, it was so immersive I forgot where I was until a noise in the row behind us jolted me, reminding me of my present reality.

"Maudie" was glorious in every way a film should be and, once again, we got no further than the car (a/c on, naturally) before we launched our film discussion.

We were two optimists discussing how one person with everything stacked against her remained so quietly happy and hopeful.

The cinematography was magnificent (who knew the four seasons in such a stark, northerly place could be so photogenic?), matched only by the stellar performances of Sally Hawkins as the arthritic and talented painter Maud and Ethan Hawk as her taciturn, cranky employer-turned-husband Everett.

I can't speak for my date, but I do know that one point I realized that tears were rolling down my face and I hadn't even had the presence of mind to know they were coming, I was that wrapped up in what was unfolding in front of me.

All I can say is, I'm so glad I had a voluble and non-cranky companion for the film so we could parse it together - the humor, the metaphors, the symbolism - for the rest of the evening.

Too often, I see something fabulous and don't know a soul with whom I can discuss it. Could that streak finally be broken?

But I'd also heard my date's stomach growling during a quiet moment in the theater and restaurants are air conditioned, too, so off we went to Acacia where a friend who once wrote a haiku about me was guest bartending for the night.

Driving over, we saw a digital thermometer reading 100 degrees.

Anticipating just such a thing, Acacia had earlier sent out an email to those in the know, stating that in honor of triple digit heat, all bottles of wine were half off. Now there's a brilliant strategy.

I'm going to guess that all the other couples at the bar had been notified as well, giving a party feel to a sticky evening.

After the barkeep asked what we'd be drinking, he followed the question with another. "Rose?"

My companion shrugged, saying he could do Rose or bubbles. Since it was too hot to make choices, we opted for a bottle of Paul Direder Frizzante Rose, thereby killing two (alcoholic) birds with one stone.

Only problem was we were accidentally poured flutes of Anton Bauer Rose first before the error was noted. "Think of it as the gift of an apperitif!" the haiku writer joked. Or a bonus round, depending on your point of view.

Our Frizzante Rose arrived just in time for our entrees: mine of succulent rockfish with a salad of lettuces, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese in balsamic, and his of pan-roasted chicken (with a fried chicken "tender" atop it), green beans that tasted like they'd been picked from the garden this morning and a mac and cheese gratin to die for.

Behind us, the restaurant had filled up, the techno music was pumping and we felt like we were sitting in the cat bird seats, happily content with everything that had landed in front of us. A restaurant owner and his wife showed up and took the stools next to us, the better to enlarge the party vibe and hear about what DJs were playing where tonight.

Because it's never too hot to eat dessert, we soldiered through a peanut butter ice cream sundae with hazelnut ganache and pretzel bark and a second bottle of pink bubbles while discussing some of our past travel destinations. He'd done Sicily, I'd done Italy. He'd been to Thailand while I'd gone to South Africa. How much we both enjoy the beach off-season.

Actually, we talked about a lot more than that, so much so that the restaurant had all but cleared out by the time Frizzante Rose Deux kicked the bucket and we were forced out of the air conditioned pleasures of Acacia.

So we glistened a little making our way to the next air conditioned destination. Mirroring Maudie's optimism, we didn't mind much. After all, it's summer and we're supposed to be hot.

I don't mind a little sweat if you don't.

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