A delightful dinner at table for three last evening. Fred, La Mexicana, and me. I did not boot up the laptop yesterday because I had to recover from that hike with Fred on Monday.
Fred is a rare and delightful conversationalist. He has intelligent observations to make. He tells great stories, and he has a lot of great stories to tell. I listen. Here is the frosting though. Fred himself is a good listener, a rapt listener. He is curious about what I have to say. He is curious about what La Mexicana has to say. He would be curious about what you have to say. He may mentally discard what I have to say as worthless but not until he has heard me out.
But Fred would never fool around looking at a blog, and so I feel safe in saying this here. You will learn more about him in the future. A good guy. A tart guy. But a good guy.
As for La Mexicana at table. . .well, she was La Mexicana.
I was at a dinner Saturday evening. Beautiful house. Delicious food. Table of ten. First, I am hopeless at a table of more than six. A table of six is problematic for me. I said nothing at this table of ten. Good people my age. But the topic of conversation during the entire leisurely meal was food. I am not exaggerating. It ran the gamut. How that particular food was made. The ingredients. The enormous love that was put into the preparation of it. Where to get good ingredients. Where everyone had eaten last week. Where everyone is going to eat this week. Mexican food generally. Not one other topic of conversation came up during the entire dinner.
I like food, obviously, but I regard eating food as something to get out of the way in order to do something else. I eat anything put in front of me. I do not have opinions nor any information about food worth mentioning.
I have bitched about old people and their fascination with and fixation upon food several times here. I am not going to give any links to those previous bitch sessions because it is not worth your trouble. But still. . . .
There is another problem at table of ten with these good folks. You are never going to be able to finish saying anything you start saying anyway. So don't bother starting to say anything. Not that they interrupt only me. They interrupt each other constantly. They all valiantly continue to endeavor to express a complete thought anyway, but nobody ever gets there. An exchange of sentence fragments.
One of the guests—good woman—gently needled me upon saying goodbye. “So glad to hear your opinions tonight, Steve.” I just laughed and told her that I had too much fun listening.
When people speak of the “art of conversation,” they are not using a vacant, meaningless phrase, whether they know it or not. Conversation is an art. Very few people have mastered it or taken the trouble to try.
That all sounds a bit as if I am biting the hand that fed me, does it not? Speaking of which. . .
La Mexicana sent me the following posting from The Civil List:
Yahoo Group: Civil_SMA
Tuesday, February 23, 2010, at 4:43 p.m.
SUBJECT: Is Hobo missing again?
I just saw a dog that resembles the seems-to-be-always-errant Hobo at La Palapa restaurant on Calle Nueva. He was there in the afternoon at about 3 PM. . . .
Hobo is a street dog, born and bred in the streets. You remember Hobo. That was back when I was still cynical about the idea of cohabiting with animals. That was just before I myself was seduced by a dog.
In any event, a significant portion of the expatriate community is now searching for Hobo again. Hobo is a street dog so charming apparently that people feel compelled to adopt him. He has been the object of serial adoptions. Nobody has ever been able to explain adequately to Hobo what the responsibilities of an adopted dog entail in return for the shots, the food, the petting, the grooming, etc. The son of a bitch just keeps wondering off to be “adopted” eventually by somebody else.
La Mexicana sees it this way. When Hobo is adopted, he misapprehends the social relationship. When he is adopted, Hobo thinks that he has been kidnapped. He then keeps an eye peeled for a means of escape before he is tortured and murdered, which adds a sense of urgency to his efforts.
The more I think about it, though, the more I think that when Hobo is adopted, he has been kidnapped.