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Dinner and A Movie

July 12, 2009


I have never allowed my status as an up and coming spinster to thwart my going out and having a good time.   I like my own company and if I’m hungry or want to see a movie, I treat myself.      I’m a decent date, too.  At least I know where my hands have been.  

Sunday morning I woke up and wanted to see the new Sasha Baron Cohen flick, “Bruno”, so I went.    I also decided to take myself to lunch afterwards.   

But first, a little bit about “Bruno”, if I may.   

The movie had a few laugh out loud moments which is rare for me.   But my guffaw moments weren’t always in tandem with the rest of my fellow movie watchers.   I found myself laughing at the little things in the scenes for which you had to look or watch and the movie is rife with these subtleties.  

If you were to ask me, I’d say go ahead and go – -to the earlier, cheaper showings and do so because I doubt seriously if Sasha Baron Cohen can pull off another movie of this ilk ever again.

Former 2008 presidential candidate, Ron Paul (R., Texas) has a cameo  in the flick and even though the whole thing was obviously set up, Ron Paul’s performance was delightfully uncomfortable, which completely worked considering the scene.

One would seriously have to believe that star cameos and each individual reaction to their part in both of Cohen’s movies which focus on the tried and true “fish out of water”  genre,  are set up.   That’s fine;  nut I think the luster is wearing off.  The premise  worked in Borat and  it works in Bruno, though I doubt if Cohen could pull a third (similiar) movie out of ass, which in this movie was well photographed.    

And frequently photographed.

After attending the five dollar matinee, I decided to treat myself to French inflenced Vietnamese food.   There’s a restaurant here in Houston, on the near SW side of town,  that makes absolutely incredible Franco/Viet cuisine.  

It’s called Vietnam Coast which offers a pan sauteed garlic and onion        shrimp dish that makes you want to develop festering boils on reachable body parts.    Yes kids…it’s that good.   If you’re ever in Houston and find yourself in this part of town, Vietnam Coast is on Hillcroft, in between Richmond and Westheimer.    Get the garlic shrimp but preface your meal experience with a bowl of Thai Lemongrass and Shrimp soup.    Oy to the Vey, it is delicious!!

Seriously, to all my Houston readers:   go there, sample their delectable wares and tell them Laurie sent you.  They’ll have absolutely no idea who that is, but what a great conversation starter it could  be with any member of that crazy ass,  multi-ethnic  Benneton ad Vietnam Coast calls its staff.   

By the way, they are friendly and courteous.

As I sat at my table, alone in all my solitude, I do as I always do:  I looked around and became bemused by who and what dined around me.   My table was smacked dab in the middle of the restaurant, so I had an almost 346 degree view.    You see, logistics ( including  well placed urns containing unusually tallish Bonzai trees and an oddly located cashier’s booth) made it impossible for tables to completely encircle me.

So anyway, to my lower right;;et’s call it my four o’clock,  there were two middle aged female  therapists who over pot stickers and edamame, discussed their higher selves vs. their authentic selves.


My attention went counter clockwise.   At my 2:00, there was a man also dining alone and  he sat quietly reading a book.   In fact, he only nodded and pointed when it came to addressing his waiter.  He was really into this book or at least, pretended to be.   Reading, I think, in a public place, not only informs, but it can be the perfect shield in terms of preventing you from conforming into becoming a member of polite society.    The book presents a convenient barrier.    Keeping you in and others out.   As a result, I pictured this man living a very insular life.      

At one point he held the book in one hand as he stretched a bit.   I strained my eyes to see the title.   That didn’t help.  All I can tell you is that it was  either written by Tolstoy or Telstar—I didn’t have my glasses on.

Then, to my lower left, a mere two yards from me sat two couples.     One couple  dominated the entire conversation.    They talked pedantically about their dog child which apparently is compensating for her barren status.   It’s black and white and I think named Dora.   Then they went on talking about a recent trip to the Balkans or the Falklands…I also can’t hear worth a damn.    

But whatever the location, I learned that the countries taxi drivers are    gruff and once you’ve reached your destination, they’ll 86 it right on out of there before giving you back your change.

Their audience who they were holding captive with incessant talking instead of bars, smiled and nodded polititely and feigned sporadic laughter as if on cue.

I thought about the extremely vanilla looking couple sitting across from them…the talkative ones.   It wasn’t as though they dominated the conversation, they were despotic about it.    Their hostages checked their watches a few times, sighed, too and I knew that were at their wits end.   Yet the vanilla couple still blabbed on and on and when She stopped for a breath, He filled in the gap.  

I wondered if they were like this with each other.    Did they talk non-stop at home, or was it  just something they could do when other people were there   to talk to.  I would suppose that it didn’t really matter if the victims actually listened or not.     Perhaps they didn’t talk at all at home and this lunch served as a way to vent all that silence.

Then I wondered what life was like at home.   Would they tell the other couple goodbye and go home to a silent afternoon, an even more quiet dinner?   And would bedtime contain more things left unsaid?    Angry nights turn into angry dawns and everything in between  is inconsquential when a marriage is in peril.

And this one certainly seemed to be seated in School of Life’s Principal’s office.

“How sad!”, I thought to myself.  

To this couple, I would imagine the sound of someone leaving and slamming the door behind them for the last time signals freedom.

To them, the sound of the click and dial tone, only means the much anticipated end of yet another meaningless phone call.

Did they fall out of love?  Did they just stop trying?

Maybe,  they just stopped talking.

They paid their bill and one couple when their way and the talkative couple went theirs.  I watched them walk to their car, where they stopped a talked a bit.   She picked some lint off His shirt.   He never stopped talking;   She never stopped listening.  She folded Her arms and kicked a pebble near Her foot; He stood there, hands on His hips a la Yul Brynner.

Then all of a sudden, they looked at each other, smiled, embraced and gave each other a brief but passionate kiss.   He moved His hands down her arms; She cupped His face in Her hands.    They broke their embrace, then He got into the driver’s seat and She want to Her side of the car.

They drove off with Her hand, rubbing the back of His neck..

I took a long sip of my tea as the waiter placed my check and a fortune cookie in front of me.    I opened it, but I have no idea what is said.  All things considered,  it could easily have read, “Dumb ass.  Wrong again.   Stick to making fun of Helen Thomas”.

Whoa….could I have been more wrong????

I left a $20 on the table and walked out the front door  to my car with my head down  like a despondent Charlie Brown at Christmas time.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Blanche permalink
    July 12, 2009 8:53 pm

    The Charlie Brown walk is hilarious! Sometimes I feel just like that.

  2. July 12, 2009 9:10 pm

    A lovely post. Many thanks for that. I dine alone regularly and always enjoy observing other patrons. Most times, it makes for better entertainment when what’s playing on the big screen.

    Best regards,


    (And while I don’t know this Cohen fellow I’m fairly certain I won’t be seeing any movie that has been pulled out of someone’s ass. I’m a progressive fellow but I have my limits)


    Thanks for dropping by, Mr. Mills. It’d been too long.

    I don’t suspect a man of your tolerance would go for a movie that is a star vehicle for that meshuga Mr. Cohen. The damned kids love his comedy, but then again, they’re so hopped up on bluebirds, goofballs and marijuana pot joints that they don’t know any different.

    Bring back the real commedians like Morey Amsterdam, Shecky Green, and Charlie Callas. Anyone that’s dead, really Jewish and knows his way around Grossinger’s up in the Catskills in New York state.


  3. July 12, 2009 10:31 pm

    I think I’m the guy you described here. I always eat alone and when I do I’m always reading. Plus, I’m told that I always walk around with my head down.

  4. July 13, 2009 11:35 am

    I haven’t been to a movie and dinner solo in a very long time. That’s not bragging that I always have company… hell, I can’t remember the last time I went to the movies… and I just don’t like dining alone. If I can’t find someone to go with, I just order Chinese or pizza delivery. If I ever find myself in Houston, LK, we’ll hit Vietnam Coast together. No shrimp for me though.


    Vietnam Coast will create the same dish with beef or chicken, too. All three varieties are stunningly delicious, but I’m partial to shrimp.
    And yes, .if you ever come to Houston on a book tour, we’ll go. It’s not much in terms of a restaurant (ambiance is sorely lacking) but you’re actual dining experience will be memorable.


    • July 13, 2009 1:11 pm

      Beef or chicken would be great – so you’re on! (Now I just gotta get published so I’m actually ON that book tour! 😉 )


      And what the hell!!! I hope I’ll have my own show by then so you can have a place to appear for a one on one when in Houston on your book tour!

  5. Blanche permalink
    July 13, 2009 12:35 pm

    That’s not the same place you took us the one time we were in Houston, was it?

    No that was Nit Noi…a Thai restaurant. This one is singularly owned and quite good. You and Kathy come here and I’ll take you sometime

  6. Blanche permalink
    July 13, 2009 2:08 pm

    Yea, well, it’ll be in your dreams.

  7. Blanche permalink
    July 13, 2009 2:10 pm

    Nit Noi was fabulous. I’d like to go there again. You live close to there if I remember correctly. Kathy and to go back to work on the 5th and the rest of July is already spoken for for me. Remember, I have a patient convolescing at home.

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