Imagine this…a dark and extremely rainy night in a small, unfamiliar town in the mountains of Vermont.  You are staying in a “tiny house” (more about that at another time soon) and your host, who you never meet, tells you in a brief  telephone conversation, that there is a restaurant down the road, not far, where you can get a decent meal.  You are tired, after a long day of driving and meandering, through heavy rain and snow showers.  You decide to take a chance and as  you exit the very dark driveway, you hope you correctly remember her saying turn right, and just keep driving, always bearing to the right at every fork you encounter.  She said “you can’t miss it!”.  That just seems like a jinx, but you take the chance.  At night, all roads seem longer in unfamiliar territory.  The houses we passed seemed forbidding and not friendly, although someone had their Christmas lights up.  Not knowing the culture of the community, one didn’t know if they were still up, having never been taken down, last winter, or whether these folks were getting a jump on their “must -do” list.

As hope was just about out the window, we saw some lights and an old building with a name that sounded familiar, from what we had been told.  We turned into the driveway, put up our hoods and pushed our way through the rain, into the entrance.  We found ourselves in a corridor with a sign that said Lounge and we entered. We were greeted and seated at a table close to several others.  It looked somewhat austere but the waitstaff greeted us immediately and offered to take our drink order as we dried off.  Although there were only three tables of customers,  the conversations were loud and dissonant.  One table was filled with four blond haired women of a certain age who seemed as though they had been having quite a good time.  The waiter seemed almost apologetic as he got close to us to get our order.  My FHB had a pale ale and I had some Earl Grey tea.  Our typical choices when one of us wants to unwind, and the other wants to feel warm.  An older couple sat nearby and were contemplating dessert.  He loudly stated that he felt it was time for something chocolate. She vetoed his choice and reminded him that chocolate was not on his diet.  The conversation volleyed back and forth and while we sat quietly, they appeared to come to an impasse, and the waiter brought their check and it was moments before they departed, he walking quickly away, as she followed behind.  He did not hold the door for her.  You could somewhat figure out the score.  Two women, one older, one somewhat younger were engaged in a very intense conversation that seemed to go from a discussion of marriage, children, divorce and parents’ secrets on the part of the older woman, to the younger woman’s counter about having a personal philosophy on life.  My FNB and I are quiet people, and stealthy, when it comes to listening in, especially when the conversation seems so piqued with curiosity.  Younger woman states” and what would you say would be your beliefs if you could choose how to believe but not based on any current beliefs, but rather something that was completely your own”.  Older woman responds with a knowing glance and a professorial air…”to challenge the beliefs that have come before, means you must acknowledge that you have rejected other beliefs and that would deny so much of your essence, is that correct?”…or something like that.  It was positively out there in the universe.  The younger woman, I might add, never ate her food and took it home.  I always wonder about that.  They didn’t have dessert. While we were sharing our spinach salad with beets and goat cheese, no walnuts, another table was filled.  There were two men and one woman, but it was unclear how they were connected.  This restaurant was very near a well known college, and it seemed by all appearances, that we were surrounded by people who were somehow connected through the academic world.  These three, two of whom seemed to be a couple, and another man, who was older but familiar with them both started talking about four character idioms  in Chinese.  He gave an example of one that was something we use in English, but of course, I failed to remember it for more than a second, since the conversation was so riveting.  He was repeating phrase after phrase, and I kept thinking…”what a show-off” and then he stopped abruptly and they moved on to other topics.  We ate our dinners and waited for the next round of information to take in, which would be discussed on our ride home.  We ordered dessert which consisted of three enormous chocolate chip cookies the size of a small child’s head and a little pot de creme on the side for dunking.  Spectacular and while we managed to share one cookie and prepare to take the rest home, we heard the table of three talk about our dessert and discussing that we seemed to be enjoying it.  I guess they were eavesdropping. Turnabout is fair play…

Listen up….have a good week.




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