supper in the goldmine
dinner was a bust. But I suspected as much. My mother thought it would be fun, that we could all enjoy ourselves as a family and it would be an easy time together, a pleasurable experience, especially if in front of us was a plate of foood and two bottles of wine to loosen the mood. Me, my brother, my mom and her husband. Not that we all don’t get along, but like most things, it can get fragile between us all.
It was an somewhat upscale restaurant in town. [That’s what she called it, “town.” Five blocks buried within the redwoods. A few neon lights and illuminating closed signs hanging in the doors of empty mom and pop shops. A whole two exits off the major freeway passing through, if you blink you might miss it.] I had the sliced marinated steak, two glasses of zinfandel and a couple more of a nice cabernet from 2001. It was all so so, except maybe the wine.
The wine. the wine let free some demons, and after a few passive aggressive comments and some even more passive aggressive silences, eyes were searching the room the tables the lamps in the corner above the hanging plants. Conversation was monosyllabic. Yes. No. maybe. Kinda. I don’t know. Sure. Thanks. I took two cigarette breaks and watched the city, sorry, the “town”, be still in early evening. It was cold and a didn’t bring my big coat. Who brings a big coat to California? Assholes, that’s who. So a braved the chill and when I got back to the table and realized the wine bottles were dry I asked when we’d get the check and hidden beneath the tablecloth, drummed my thigh with my fingers. I read somewhere that you can break down society into two distinct types of people: good drunks and bad drunks. It didn’t take me long to figure out I was stuck in a restaurant with the latter group.