I went out for dinner last night with some of the people from my Tai Chi class. There were ten of us, six born and bred in Pittsburgh. We went to one of the new nationally franchised fish restaurants. I generally prefer locally owned ethnic restaurants, and my dinner cost twice as much as I usually pay, but I expected that. The surreal began with the teacher coming over and hugging and kissing me. I always felt like she was barely tolerating me. Was I wrong?
I was seated between two Pittsburghers and across from another. The person across from me immediately declared she was very conservative. Apropos of what, I don’t remember, but it was a conversation stopper for me. The two on either side of me spent a lot of time discussing shopping. I knew I was in the wrong place when one of them, G., started talking about a great sweater place in Oakmont that had a good range of prices, from $100 to $400. She also said she likes wearing Ralph Lauren and DKNY, but she doesn’t have to buy Ellen Tracy or Dana Buchman for work anymore because she will be retiring in April when she is 62. She will collect Social Security and hopes to also collect disability because she has Parkinson’s. She works as a secretary for the county police in an office in a bad neighborhood. And she needs designer clothes. Am I crazy?
She also told me I lived in a bad neighborhood and asked why I moved there. I felt like answering, "because you don’t live there."
I ordered monk fish for my dinner. I have never been happy with the way I cook monk fish, although I always thought it had great potential. I wanted to see what they would do with it. Well, my dinner was good, but I don’t think it was monk fish. The texture was wrong. I guess I’ll have to try making it again.
I drove to this dinner with Grace, my Tai Chi class friend. We always have a lot to talk about and have a good time together. When we left the dinner I told her about my conversations and said I was bored. She got to talk to the other end of the table and was fascinated. G’s husband said he kept a gun in his car and that G had one also. Grace asked him if he went to a range and practiced shooting. No, he didn’t want to shoot it. He just wanted it for protection. No wonder G thought I should live somewhere else.