While I don't mind going out to dinner, if I'm given a choice I'd rather go out to lunch and stay home for a light supper. Going out to dinner requires slightly fancier clothing and then there's the "how much should I drink" question. Having a cocktail out at a restaurant costs nearly as much as a trip to the Bahamas. If you have two cocktails, be prepared to leave your car as a down payment on the check. It's ridiculous. And then there's the whole designated driver issue and no one wants to get pulled over, breathalyzed, yadda, yadda, yadda. Solution? Go out to lunch. It's cheaper, just as much fun and no booze makes for safer travel.
Today Jonathan and I went to the local French bistro in town for lunch. We found a gift certificate that we'd been given a long time ago, so it seemed like a good thing to do on a cold Monday afternoon. When we got into the middle of the village I realized it was crowded because of President's Day. Scores of city folks clad in their country attire were parading up and down the sidewalks. Quilted parkas and rabbit fur lined caps for the men and long down coats and goggle sized sunglasses for the women. Millbrook is a destination spot for New Yorker's who are desperate for fresh air, beautiful country views and an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. What they don't realize is that they BRING their own form of hustle and bustle to our quiet little town. Oh well, we decided to persevere with our lunch plan and parked the car.
When we opened the door to the restaurant we were greeted by a melange of tantalizing aromas. We were also greeted by the sound of conversations. Lots of conversations. This isn't a big space and the tables are nestled into two separate dining areas, both of which appeared to be bursting at the seams. No matter, we wanted to have a good lunch and this place always serves amazing, authentic French fare. The hostess escorted us to a table in the far corner, which was nearly on top of the neighboring table occupied by a couple. I slithered into my seat trying to avoid putting my ass in the face of the gentleman next to me. I'm not going to lie and tell you that I don't like to check out fellow diners. It's not a good habit and even worse is to be busted peering at their faces as they chewed, swallowed and sipped. The couple next to us proved to be an odd match, and I knew I had to be careful in how I checked them out. Once Jonathan and I placed our orders for iced teas, I set about my surreptitious glancing. The young woman, who was facing me appeared to be much younger than her male companion. She was Korean, quite pretty, with carefully applied makeup and long, flowing black locks, which she gathered up in both hands behind her head and then dramatically allowed to cascade back down in a suggestive manner. Good Lord, I think she'd watched too many cheap porno movies. The man was a thick set Italian type, probably in his mid to late 40's. He was hairy to the point of apeish, yet the hair on his head was beginning to bald in a most unattractive manner. Thick patch in the front and back and thinning swirls on the crown, giving it a mange like effect. Jonathan and I smiled at each and chatted quietly, amidst my stolen glances. A table of raucous folks were behind me, laughing in sporadic, deafening, hyena-esque cackles. I lamented that I hadn't sat in Jonathan's seat so I could watch them, too, but it was probably for the best since I had my hands full with our neighbor's antics.
As we tucked into our entree's, our neighbors conversation was stilted and awkward. "What's crepe suzette?" the ape man asked in a thick NY accent. "What makes you think I know about French food?" little missy replied giggling. "You seem to know about French stuff," he said as he reached over and stroked her forearm, causing me to choke down an ill timed mouthful of tuna nicioise. Oh gross, I thought, they aren't just friends, but more likely...lovers. What is wrong with this young girl? Why is she with Guido the pimp? Is she a hooker? A thousand questions and images swirled through my mind, all of them inappropriate and nausea inducing. I went back to focusing on Jonathan, who has long since given up on trying to keep me from my voyeuristic ways, and we finished up our meals and then ordered a post lunch coffee. As luck would have it, we were ready to leave at the same time as the folks next to us. Standing up to put on my coat, I watched the young woman don a large, floppy felt hat. She had on a short, tartan red skirt and tall, high heeled black boots, just like a naughty school girl outfit. The man, who was all of 5 ft tall, leered over at me as I was busted checking out his "girlfriend". Shamed, I ducked my head and fumbled in my pockets until they turned to leave.
"Well, that was different," I said to Jonathan as we walked through the cold wind to our car.
"Yup," he replied. "I'm pretty sure he was looking at naked pictures of her on his phone during their dessert."
We giggled about our "lunch dates" all the way home. Looks like I've turned Jonathan into just as much of a voyeur as I am. Have I mentioned how much I love going out to lunch?