the finger thing continues to sweep the nation
I’m trapped in my study. Four carpenters are here installing my new back door, which is going to be very nice (and for that I sincerely thank you, Mr. Burglar). Since I can’t leave the house and the TV is in the room with the hammering, I’m stuck in here writing in my blog, IMing and surfing the web. It’s like having a job again.
Even though it’s my living room they’re tool-belting around in, every time I walk in there I feel as though I’ve wandered onto their construction site. They’re making no secret of the fact that, my house or not, they’d prefer it if I just stayed the hell away. Besides, I made the mistake of letting them see my drill, which is red and weak, as opposed to theirs, which are yellow and mighty. I have tool envy. (Knock yourself out, Myküll.)
There’s plenty of groaning and banging and cursing coming from the other room. I’m afraid to look. After every noise I expect to hear, “Mr. Thomas? Turns out the door doesn’t fit but you’ll have to pay for it anyway, and we’re going to leave your back wall open for the next six to eight weeks until the new door comes in, which is gonna be twice what this one was. And we’ve broken everything in your house.” Hastings is locked upstairs in his secret hiding room, and he must think the world is coming to an end. His two least favorite things - loud banging noises and vacuuming - have been going on all day. (Adda said he’s sure we’re down here building a cat guillotine.) But he’s going to have hours of high-quality powersniffing tonight.
I had dinner Saturday night with the Blogtown All-Stars, minus Myküll (Rebecky, Jesse and Mr. and Mrs. Pinky). We ate at Panang, a new Pan-Asian Sino-Thai Confusion restaurant in Chapel Hill, in the building formerly occupied by the much-missed Pyewacket. (There were guys at the bar who used to hang out at Pyewacket, which really confuses me since Pyewacket was cool and welcoming and Panang has an ambience you normally find only at airports and theme parks.)
I have a standard of service inherited from my German-born restaurateur grandfather, and it’s hard to match these days in any place charging less than $150 for a meal. Panang nearly blew my gaskets. It’s only been open for a week or so, but still, you would think they might have mastered the art of the water glass by now. While we were trying to figure out which darting apparition with a notepad was assigned to our table, we watched a conversation between a patron and the hostess. We couldn’t hear what was said, but it was obvious from the body language that the words “ridiculous,” “incompetent” and “never coming back” were used. People at bare tables all around us gazed about helplessly like shipwreck survivors. Several times one of the black-clad underwaiters came up to our table and, very pleasantly, said things like, “You still don’t have your food?” and “You still don’t have your check?” with a bemused look that indicated he had as little control over the situation as we did. Food did show up randomly throughout the course of the two and a half hours we were there, and often it was what we ordered. Ridiculous. Incompetent. Never coming back.
The evening did have considerable charms, though, thanks to the company. We played one of my favorite restaurant games: everybody picks an item from the menu and uses that name for the rest of the evening. (I did this at Acme once with my friend Bill and his wife Jana. Bill was Sweet Butter Biscuit and I was Lime Rickey. We decided he was a middleweight boxer and I was his manager.) Saturday, Rebecky was Coconut Fried Rice, Jesse was Yam Pot, Mr. Pinky was Curry Mee and I was Volcano Pork Chop. (I always pick mine before I suggest the game.) And Pinky? Pinky was Pi Pa Duck. Of course she was. A Pi Pa Duckier person I’ve never met.