Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Little Cactus

Well, last night I decided to treat myself to a quiet dinner at the Tex-Mex place near our apartment. El Nopalito, Spanish for "The Little Cactus," serves great food with an emphasis on fish. It was a perfect evening to eat outside - not too warm, not too windy, no bugs. So I asked to be seated on the patio and as they escorted me out, a cry rose up from the next table.

"Oh ho!" shouted a middle-aged man. "Someone is joining us! Joining us out on the patio!"

"Joining us on the patio!" echoed the middle-aged woman and young woman seated with him. They all raised their sangria classes and took a healthy swig.

"Are you eating all alone? No no no, that won't do!" He shook his head, huge hangdog jowls flapping everywhere. I wondered how long they had been out here pickling their brains.

"Won't do!" the chorus sang.

"Pull up a chair! Pull up a table!" The waitress wordlessly grabbed my table and began dragging it toward the leering revelers.

I smacked my palms down on my quickly receding tabletop. "Oh, no! That's okay," I called. "Just me and my book tonight!" I waved the novel I was reading to prove that I already had entertainment lined up.

"No," the man growled disapprovingly into his jowls. "That is just the most tragic thing I've ever seen!" And then they all broke into laughter.

Well, I didn't join them, but I did feel a sort of silent bond. I opened my book and settled in for a session of blatant eavesdropping. They were a family, apparently: father, mother, young adult daughter. They were world travelers with a yen for western Europe: Paris, Barcelona, London. The daughter appeared to have a deep unrequited love for George Clooney, the "Cary Grant of our generation." As if!

Now I don't know how it happened. Somewhere along the way, I laughed a little too openly at something they said, or Papa Bear made an expansive gesture to include all of us in his declarations, but somehow we started talking. When the waitress came back out, Papa gave her their pitcher of sangria and asked her to pour a glass for me. "Come on, pull up your chair! What did you say your name was? Melissa?"

Anyway, I ended up talking and laughing with them until about 9:30, with Papa Bear liberally topping off everyone's glasses. Turns out P-Bear was traveling to Springfield, IL for a ten day business trip and he was treating everyone to "his last real meal" until he could return from the hinterlands.

Whatever, I didn't care! They were just some very jolly folks and I felt blessed - by whom, I don't know. Dionysius? - but I felt blessed to just chill with them for a little while and let the cares of the world slip away.


Luap Otisopse said...

Cary Grant my ass!

That's awesome! My kind of people. It is too rare today for people to show such generosity to a stranger. Although you do have a good aura and I'm sure they knew you'd be good company.

Nivek Yrurd said...

Sounds like a good time.

A little rant about the comparison. You cannot even compare the two because our society will never be like it was then. Society is constantly changing everyday, the Clooney of last year is different from the Clooney of this year. And the Clooney of this year doesnt even compare to the Grant from yesteryear. Why even make the comparison, just to make it sound like you as well versed in older "more classic" films. Just tell me how you feel about Clooney without making comparisons to other people because everyone is different and no one is like anyone else.

MamiCritterGal said...

I think when people say things like, "He's the Clooney of our generation," what they're really saying is, "Watching him makes women of my generation feel the way women of Grant's generation felt watching him." I don't think that's necessarily an invalid way of talking about an artist.

But to say it about Clooney and Grant - ludicrous! It's true that they both have a certain polished way about them, but what I don't like about Clooney is you can always sense that he "knows" he can get into your pants if he really wants to. Cary Grant never gave the impression of even thinking about a woman's nether regions. He just seemed to enjoy your company immensely.

Which is the greatest aphrodisiac of all.

Nivek Yrurd said...

But it is hard for me to relate to how Grant would make me feel as opposed to Clooney. The comparison is streamlined at women so us men are at a loss. I would rather hear about how Clooney makes you feel as opposed to comparing him to another non-specific feeling an anonymus woman had with Cary Grant "back in the day." Does anyone really know how Cary Grant made women feel in his generation other than the women of that era?

...It's a dumb point to argue but I do see the logistics of it Clooney effecting a generation versus Grant effecting a generation. I think I am thinking about it too much.....


Luap Otisopse said...

Nivek, you were def. thinking about it too much:)

"Cary Grant never gave the impression of even thinking about a woman's nether regions. He just seemed to enjoy your company immensely."

That's part of what's so cool about him, and the gentlemen of the world can appreciate that too.

Nivek Yrurd said...

Oh man, sorry cheers!