Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Secret Shame

I've lived with this long enough, and now it's time to bring it into the open.

No, I'm not talking about my unwavering devotion to the music and persona of Britney Spears.  This is something even more inexplicable.

To say that I try to live by standards is no exaggeration.  In 1970, the operator of a gas station down the road apiece refused to honor the tax-exempt status of the volunteer fire company, and he cursed at me when I tried to explain how it worked.  I told him then and there that I would never spend another nickel in his establishment for the rest of my life, and 43 years later, I have not patronized that Citgo station.

I have never ever voted for a member of a certain political party.

And I would consign myself to fiery perdition before I would cheer for any accomplishment of the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees or the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Peggy and I stumbled upon an Italian-cuisine restaurant in a resort town near where we go for vacation some years ago. Why we keep going back there every single year is what I am sore about.

The restaurant lacks atmosphere, their idea of decor being giant posters of uncooked noodles or an Al Hirschfeld caricature of Luciano Pavarotti.  The walls were freshly done in Kem-Tone Industrial Beige #5 in about 1975.

The background music is screamin' opera at max volume.

The staff, male and female, generally look like they just spent the weekend at the beach and it's Monday morning and time to go to work, never mind that there are two-day-old sauce stains on your apron and your tattered black pants cuffs are dragging around your filthy Nikes.

The owner and his wife stand by the cash register with unfriendly scowls.  Every so often, the phone will ring, and one or the other will answer with the name of the establishment and then, milliseconds later, he or she will growl, "We don't take reservations." And they hang up. I used to try to tell them how much we enjoyed the food as we left.  The husband would look at me in much the same way as the archbishop would look at a choirboy who just spilled wine all over the altar, so I gave up on that.

This did NOT happen there.  But the atmosphere is identical. I always check behind the toilet for a revolver.
And I just gave it away.  Q). Why do we go there, to this dank, unwelcoming restaurant that might just as appropriately be called "Boehner's Dungeon" ?

A).  Because the food is so good.  The pasta, the veal (I mean it!  try the veal!), the Caesar salad, the meatballs, the dine there is to sup with the gods.  The sauce - and they dole it out as generously as they spooned out the porridge where Oliver Twist grew up - is a tomato-based nectar that has as much to do with Ragu as Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" has to do with "Turkey In The Straw."  You get just enough sauce to make you want to come back next year.

And we will.  Consarn it.

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