big drink 30th
Friday, June 30 2000
I had a dental appointment at 3pm, and at 2:45 I told my boss Linda that I was going and wasn't it a shame we hadn't had a meeting she'd originally planned to have. But when I said that I could always come back after my dental appointment, she said, "Oh, but it's Friday." What a refreshing attitude! I would have never heard such a sentiment expressed by a coach at the now-floundering CollegeClub.com. What with their balls-to-the-wall take-over-the-world self-importance, I mostly found my productive impulses drained away by unfulfillable expectations that I pull a certain number of heroic all-nighters.
At the dentist's office, I had it in my mind that I was just going to have my mismatched molars evened out and my problematic incisor (which was no longer causing me any trouble) sealed up. But the dentist, despite her broken English, managed to convince me that my incisor really did need a crown. She claimed that a root canal weakens a tooth so much that they have tendency to crumble, especially (as in my case) when the visible part of the tooth is comprised of 30% vintage 1994 resin & silica dental filling.
But the dentist never got to the point of actually attaching a crown. She spent a lot of time sawing away at the tooth from the inside using tiny blades, occasionally using a wire and the x-ray machine to take measurements. Though I wasn't under any form of anæsthesia, the procedure was completely painless. As usual, I wasn't told was actually being done to me; it was all left as mystery. As a DIYer from way-back, I found this attitude predictable but frustrating. And it didn't make much sense to ask questions; given her knowledge of English, we could barely communicate as things were.
After my procedure, I was feeling hungry so I bought a veggie burrito at the Taco Plus place at the corner of Ohio and Bundy. As I sat on a nearby residential lawn eating my burrito and feeding the ants a tortilla chip, I found myself thinking about how easy it is to improve one's karma when dealing with tiny animals. It takes me no effort to bestow a great bounty upon thousands of organisms. When I'm being this powerful, I surpass even the mighty Jehovah, Creator of the Universe, who was, as we know, a jealous god.
I also thought about how different this sort of burrito is from the food one can buy at a Taco Bell, the stuff I ignorantly called "Mexican Food" back when I lived in the East. (There was, of course, something of a burrito renaissance that swept Charlottesville in 1997, but the process of crossing the continent transformed the authentic big, cheap & healthy Mexican burrito into something a little too trendy in that all-too-familiar guilty liberal sort of way.)
In the evening, Kim and I celebrated her birthday by candlelight,
and drinking wine. I was at a loss trying to figure out how best to celebrate Kim's birthday. I didn't want to suggest something stupid and be ridiculed (the only restaurants I really know about are the ones Kim would never go to on her birthday), so I didn't suggest anything. But, under her sense of birthday protocol, Kim thought it was my job to come up with something for us to do. In the end, of course, Kim came up with the place: the very pricey Trader Vic's at the place in Beverley Hills where Wilshire crosses Santa Monica.
We dropped the Volvo off into the capable hands of the Chinese valets and then were led to our booth by the Chinese maitre d'. The entire inside of the restaurant was covered with thatch and bamboo poles, supposedly making it look Polynesian. According to the menu, Trader Vic's is a franchise with outlets in a dozen or so major world cities.
Our Chinese waiter had what sounded like a New Orleans accent, but it turned out he was actually from Pittsburgh, PA. He recommended a huge tublike fruity drink served with two very long straws. But after a few sips, Kim sent it back to be divided into two separate glasses. "When you're paying this kind of money, you can do this sort of thing," she explained.
The food was okay, but not spectacular. It wasn't that different from stuff you can order at a TGI Friday's. The coconut shrimp, however, was an excellent bit of deep-fried excess. It was so good, in fact, that Kim ordered a second round. We never actually ordered an entree, but still we managed to run up a bill of over $100.
I suppose the place was mostly about atmosphere, that is, if you're the sort of person who likes to hang out and watch a bunch of drunk 20-somethings celebrating an event so auspicious as to require a meal at Trader Vic's.
Anthea (left) and Kim (right) at Anthea's West Hollywood apartment a week or so ago.
Kim and me at Trader Vic's in Beverley Hills celebrating Kim's 30th birthday.
Here I'm wearing a Hawaiian shirt given to me by Farrell.
I'm drinking red wine in front of my painting Felis Diabolica and behind various coffee table necessities, including the spill-proof glass Xong.
Ah, red velvet and a hit of X!
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