He ain't no amigo,
Who needs billions for ego,
So we pay his taxes.
The caller in a rehearsed voice begged,
Please don't hang up,
Knowing if she up front told me
Why she called,
That's what I'd do.
But she did get in another line...
We've been trying to reach you...
As if I, stubbornly, didn't pick up
It was then I hung up,
Knowing whatever she was going to say,
Was something I didn't want to hear.
A second recorded call came in...
A woman in a sleepy,
Flat voice said,
As if announcing
A sale on tomatoes
In the produce aisle.
On her, I hung up right away.
Putting our bed in farmland terms...
She expanded the borders
Of her sprawling ranch,
Taking acres from my adjacent parcel.
Our king size,
Was now divided into her vast spread
And my slight littoral of shoreline
On which I balance sleep
And the terror of rolling into the sea.
There is a seller named
Purveyor to the High End
The Extra Fine,
The Quality Folks,
The Creme de la Creme...
Those defined by yacht size
And 50-car garages
At their Hamptons weekenders...
You know who you are...
You, who shop by appointment
In shops that are locked
To the rest of us.
Driving from the Upper West Side
To the Lower East Side...
An unending grid of lefts and rights,
Going east and south,
Like descending a miles-long staircase,
One street at a time,
One red light at a time,
And having to endure the wither and frown
Of my traveling companion,
Telling me we'd have been there by now,
If she were driving.
She said without mercy
That the route I took was the longest
In the history of crosstown driving...
A trek begun with the first notes
Of Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet,
Playing on the car radio,
And ending an hour later
In its crescendo of final notes,
Near, but not yet at,
The borscht and blintzes we were going for,
At a restaurant whose how-to is unequalled.
Ours had become an expedition...
The Donner Party,
Lewis and Clark,
The Trail of Tears...
Rolled into one.
They'll write about us one day...
Our stubborn grit and determination,
Ashkenazic foodie dreams.
After the hour of Tchaikovsky,
We were in the general vicinity
Of our culinary goal,
But still needed a parking space,
Which, luckily, we came upon
After a half hour of circling nearby blocks.
I pulled into it front first...
A far more lengthy maneuver...
Fearing another car would pull up
And block me from backing in,
Even with the blink of my backup lights.
My companion's recriminations stopped.
She said, graciously.
We walked a scant four blocks to the restaurant
With the self-congratulations
Of Columbus landing in the Americas.
But then, satisfaction forestalled,
We had to wait an hour for a table.
A newly-divorced woman on a dating site,
Decided to write her bio
With unaccustomed honesty and modesty,
Exposing her habits, good and bad,
Her cutesy flaws,
Her foibles and vanities,
As she never had before,
Certain her confessional
Wouldn't turn away would-be beaux.
It's a subtle seduction,
Being disarmingly honest.
And while it did have the desired effect,
It rendered her so unrecognizable,
That her first reply came
From her former spouse.
Trying to get a reduced sentence
At his parole board hearing,
Volunteered to touch
A plate from a just-invented
To see if was as cool to the touch,
As physicists said it would be...
Even though the cheese on it
That put him two years closer to freedom,
So he volunteered to drive a car
Fifty miles an hour into a wall
To test air bags,
Hoping that would make him a free man.
But the board thought a car
Would be too much temptation.
So he volunteered to be a vaccine tester
And a food taster.
He's recovering now from mushrooms,
He was told were safe.
Talking from verbal scratch,
Lurch from subject to subject
With pauses between each,
Since they lack
The conversational connective tissue
Of common experience,
Which will build up over time.
Each if them will have to fight
To get a word in, edgewise.
Seeking more comfort,
She launched a surprise attack
Along my reclining nighttime defense line,
Probing for weakness...
My weary rump forces too weak to repel her.
And, never abiding by the laws imposed
To protect anatomical tenderness,
She struck with all she had,
Forcing me to the cliffs of Serta,
To the edges of bedding.
And, I, in the fog of war, moaned,
"What are you doing?",
Hoping to appeal to her better angels
And stem the assault.
But mercy to her was foreign coin...
And with a final push
I landed on the floor,
Buffered by only a Bokhara,
A pair of wool socks
And my slippers.
I'm going to put you on hold,
Said the Internet voice,
For a minute or two...or maybe more.
Be back in a sec.