For dinner tonight, I went to Cambridge One with three goals in mind. Pizza (and breadsticks), definitely. I was also thinking of trying to read a book I've been trying to get through, or (least likely) see if I could get onto the wireless network at the Starbucks next door. This last is something I've been meaning to try for a long time, the idea being that it'd be swell to watch some football at the bar and do a little of the 'net surfing.
There were three seats left at the far (kitchen) end of the bar, so I took one, leaving two (together!--I am nothing if not considerate) available, ordered a beer and a pizza (half No. 2) and started reading. At length, and before the pizza arrived, the couple to my left departed, leaving 2 seats. Immediately after that, a trio showed up: one guy in a Pan Mass Challenge hat, a woman (non-descript), and a thin, shabby fellow with a ridiculous chin.
The first two took the available seats, and the shabby chap asked me in a comically squeaky voice to move down a seat because they "[were] three." Wordlessly, I did so (again with the being considerate) , shfting my salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, plate, napkin, fork, knife, beer glass, breadsticks, book, briefcase and self down one more seat toward the kitchen. A shrill, yet oddly unenthusiastic "thank you" followed from the down-at-heel dude.
As I settled in at my new spot, hemmed in my the newspaper they leave on the counter and the other accoutrements that are usually associated with the business-end of a bar, my new neighbor leaned his elbow and upper arm on the bar, cupped his mangy pate in his hand and commenced to talking with his associates. He slouched and slithered, hurriedly drinking his ice water between sentences.
For my part, i think I probably did some staring. But then turned toward the now-preferable goings-on in the kitchen and server station, and tried to read.
My pizza came, and I started eating. Even before I knew what was going to happen next, I was aware of taking my time. I love that place, and I love teh pizza. And though I could go every week (or more often), I don't. So it's still kind of an experience to relish.
Then the pizzas were delivered to the people next to me, and I caught an accidental elbow in the shoulder from my new friend as he pushed the sleeves of his sweater up to his armpits, in advance of picking up his cutlery. This done, he set upon his pizza with gusto, dicing it into pieces, and then skewering several onto his fork at a time. A distant whine, like a jet engine being started, rose up from the counter, and I realized I was hearing the Tasmanian Devil turn redwoods into sawdust. Bits of crisp pizza crust were flying everywhere, and the unliquefied portion of the pizza slid further and further off his plate as he attacked the other end.
Never you mind that the only thing true about those last two sentences is the bit about the pizza sliding halfway off the plate as it awaited devouring.
To my right, something caught fire on the stove, and there was the clatter-CLANK of bussed dishes. Ahead of me rose bleached and chlorinated steam from the dishwasher. On the flat panel TVs, country-strong Jim Thome called his shot by pointing his bat to the outfield, and Serena Williams' breasts and earrings played tennis with Amelie Mauresmo (and still lost in 3 sets, even though they outnumbered Mauresmo 4 to 1).
And thus, with a slouching human garbage-disposal to my left, and a dishpan to my right, did I savor my dinner.