Monday, August 02, 2004

News! News! We got News!

... I know the obvious spin from the subject line would be a joke about Jews but, come on, HAVEN'T THEY SUFFERED ENOUGH????? (Just ask the Palestinians.)

(He said, sarcastically...)

... I'm sorry. Where was I?

Right! This whole "News" thing, which I've got.

This has been quite a weekend. Wanna hear about it? Then, you shouldn't be reading this Blog!

I took Friday off from work, having a "headache", which is defined as a deep need to flake off and stay in bed. Oy, what a "headache" I had!! That "headache" kept me in bed late, made me play World of Warcraft, sent me to the gym for about 90 minutes, and made me eat a lunch of chips and dip... it was awful!

Saturday was spent with Vicky... cuddling, for the most part. Yes, my relationship with Vicky has hit a state so diabetic that we often collapse in shock, our veins coursing with molasses and honey, barely able to hold each other and coo... yes, that's right... coo! We're freakin' disgusting and should be shot!

We also watched "Everything Changes" that night. I sat there with the script because I need (nay, desperately need!) to start on the rewrite and chuckled at dialogue that only I could make out because I'd written it: the sound was so bad! Eventually, I turned it off because Vicky wasn't laughing enough... in fact, she just looked confused - as if she couldn't hear it... the sound was so bad!

Then, we watched "Atheists", the most pedantic of my plays, and I kind of hoped that Vicky would respond with questions of philosophical and theological import. After all, the play is about the struggle of disparate beliefs in the face of love. It seemed like a virtual hothouse for discussion; Vicky and I have different beliefs! But all she said was, "I think it's okay to tell your child about Santa while they're still very young." And that was it. Nothing about Erasmus. Nothing about Aquinas.

... Nothing.

Then, the next day, we goofed in the kitchen as she made pancakes and eggs and things felt so right.

This is all very disturbing because, let's face it, she's wonderful. She's the best. But I seem to have found some flaws that would make any right-minded, moderately intelligent person smack me upside the head: She doesn't obsess on things enough. She's too easy going.

She's not neurotic enough.

Oh, she is a bit neurotic... like when it comes to how clean her kitchen is. But she's so unneurotic at times, it's very off-putting, hard to deal with, not natural... unearthly!

For instance, last night, I met her parents. Yes, we've started that. Last night, I met her folks. This weekend, she'll meet my mom and Joe. (Oh, the pain.) Later this month, she'll meet dad and Blanche. We're meeting parents, which often means relationshipinal movement towards the more serious of intentions...

Does she get neurotic? No. I could be a closet killer for all she knows! A cereal rapist! A pedantic file!

It's annoying.

I, on the other hand, don't just get neurotic - I sweat neurotic! Neurosis has become so much a part of my blood stream that my white blood cells hesitate whenever they see an infection - they don't want foreign bodies to talk - Lord knows what they'll say!!!

So, we drove to Gardena and met her folks at this little, Japanese restaurant. I was sweating on the way in and Vicky said I looked like a man being led to the gallows. Well, let's face it. I haven't had the best luck with parents - mothers, especially. The last time I met a mother was in 1985, when I met Rosa's mom, and she told me that I had to either marry Rosa or she would have the Mexican Mafia kill me as I rode my scooter. ("And make it look like an accident.") After an experience like that, meeting mothers wasn't my favorite thing to do!

Her folks were parked outside. The restaurant didn't open until 5pm - I guess it was just a dinner place - and it was only 4:58. We got out and Vicky introduced us. She'd told me that I should refer to them by however she introduced them. "Mom and Dad," she said, immediately making me think Gotta call them Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad. Dom and Mad. Marl and Davis! Harlequin and Fardaserriennie!!! until she continued, "this is Ken. Ken, this is Steve and Noriko." My mind reeled. Belay that order! Belay that order! Whoop! Whoop! Mayday! We have several thousand brain cells down! Quickly! Dad's name is Noriko! Mom's name is Steve!... Or is Steve's name Mom? Doriko's name is Meve? Dorito's belong to Merv? Nacho cheese Doritos? I should be at home eating chips and salsa! What the hell am I doing here????

"Hi, Steve. Nice meeting you. Hi, Noriko. Please to meet you." The words came out of my mouth but my mind raced. It's like that experience you (okay, maybe not you, but me, at least) have when I see a woman with a low-cut top in the audience while I'm giving a soliloquy. The lines come out as if someone else is talking, while inside I'm thinking, Look at those breasts!

We entered promptly at 5pm, getting our choice of tables. There were only six... so it wasn't that hard to choose...

The waitress, a shriveled up old woman, could barely hold the menus as she brought them out to us. In a haunting voice, she told us of her childhood in Kyoto in the 19th century, long before the coming of the white lords who conquered her homeland like a plague of... Oh, wait. No. She was asking us if we wanted beer. Actually, I didn't catch much of anything. Most of the dialogue was in Japanese. After 15 years with Rosa, where most dialogue was in Spanish... this was oddly familiar. It took me 15 years to learn to do what I did last night: sit back and enjoy... and shut up. I did just that.

Her dad, it turned out, ordered me a beer... a big beer... a very large beer. Far be it from me to turn it down. I didn't realize he'd be ordering me another one later... oh well.

There was so little conversation, I was tempted to begin playing hand-harmonica, which probably wouldn't have been a good idea. I watched the clock in front of me... crawl...
Her folks didn't talk much. Vicky tried to keep/get/start the conversation going... but she couldn't get it out of gear... first gear...

"What do you do for a living," her dad asked. It was the first time he'd spoken directly to me, fifteen minutes into the meal, a meal that had yet to arrive, though we'd be cooking it ourselves on the hot plate in the center of the table.

"I'm a writer," I said, immediately thinking about hitting myself in the head. Stupid! Stupid, I thought. You should tell him you're a playwright! An actor of great renown! A man of mystery! Loved by women, admired by men, you said the seven seas upon your great ship -

"A writer," he asked, interrupting my mental anguish.

"I write technical material and marketing material for a small company called Linksys that produces computer networking gear," I promptly replied. Stupid! You sound like a pamphlet: Ken, the future son-in-law and all you need to know about him! What about your great ship?! Sailing the seven seas?! Admired by women, loved by small animals??? Somehow, through my desperation, I noticed he hadn't said anything... ANYTHING! So, naturally, I continued, "Vicky mentioned you work for Lockheed. Well, a friend of mine does the same thing I do but over at Raytheon, one of your competitors." You're bringing up his competitors? This is supposed to make him like you? Oh, sure - my friends try to put you out of business! Great! Moron!

"I don't work in that part," was all he said.

Oh, god, I thought, nearly one half hour into the dinner. Where's the food?????

Thankfully, the food arrived. We started with this teeny bowl of... mush. It was a kind of potato salad. Mush, yes, but also good - and easy to eat since there wasn't enough to feel a cat. That's how all the servings went. There were lots of them and they were all small. Well, all, except the next thing. The waitress, telling us about the day she was tanning at Nagasaki in 1945, brought bowls to our table, bowls filled with... well, gunk. I recognized steak and an egg and... that was about it. The idea was to mix everything up so it looked as close to vomit as you could get and them pour it onto the hot plate in the center of the table. Thankfully, Noriko and Steve (Storiko and Neve? Alias Smith and Jones?) got mine started - because I didn't have a CLUE! Turned out, it was a pancake-kinda-thing. On it, we put some spicy sauce, some Japanese mayo (no kidding), dried Bonito and dried seaweed. It came out really good. I'd been keeping in my mind the idea that it had to, after all, because people eat it. You see, I remained scientific. If - I posited - they ordered this, they must - I conjectured - like it. Therefore - I concluded - it must be good.

Thankfully, I wasn't proved wrong. Mind you, I was eating with chopsticks, eating well, I might add. My chopstick proficiency didn't falter... much, and, as the main course of meat and vegetables was cooked by Vicky and Noriko (Nicky and Voriko? Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?), her mom kept shoveling most of the food my way. Was she tested to see just how much of a pig this hefty, new boyfriend was? Or maybe she was part Jewish and wanted to see if I could really eat. (I knew I'd work the Jews in there somehow!)

How was I doing so well with my chopsticks, despite the pain normally associated with them due to my shattered right arm? I'm guessing all the beer helped...

So, we blazed through the main course. Another bottle of beer came my way. Finally, desert arrived: Green Tea Ice Cream! And, of course, the serving was microscopic. "Can I get a gallon of this," I wanted to yell!

And then, we were done... I finished my beer... time began to creep to a halt... and simultaneously, her folks turned their heads up to the wizened, old waitress, and said, "Check, please!"

The test was over. Had I passed? Well, they paid. That was a good sign. We walked out... after two beers large enough to be four of five regular beers, I kinda of staggered a bit... and I said goodbye to Vicky's parents. "Goodbye Buffy! Goodbye Sissy! Goodbye, Mister French! Goodbye, Mistah Eddie's Fatha! Goodnight, John Boy!" I ran into their Corvette, so nice that I bounced off of it (I wasn't worthy) and crashed into Vicky's car. I thought, Get in the car and sit down, you lush!

This morning, Vicky talked to her folks. It's official. Somehow, I passed. They like me. They're the first parents to do so... ever. So, this could be a good thing, I'm thinking.

Meanwhile, if anyone ever sees any Green Tea Ice Cream at the store - buy it! Ship it to me! NOW!

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