Thursday, August 14, 2008


It started as it tends to start, with dinner. I'd hopped a train for Chicago earlier that afternoon so I would be downtown by six thirty and ready to meet people for dinner at eight at the Parthenon. The Parthenon, if you don't know, is the best place to go in Chicago for good Greek grub, assuming you are not going to they gyro shack around the corner from your apartment which can also be surprisingly good (this rule only applies to Chicago where you can get authentic Greeks in your Greek shacks). It depends on the Greek. It's the short ones that are bald, with with the handsome toothy smiles and the intense gazes that make the best foods. Fortunately they have these in spades in the kitchen at the Parthenon.

Before arriving I had changed out of Midwestern comfort clothing and into something appropriate for a hot day in the city. I went shopping at a book store in my pretty blouse and then grabbed a cab for the other side of town. I was early, as I knew I would be, but sidled up to the bar and ordered a drink. The bar at the Parthenon is set just aside from the restaurant so you can smell how good the food is while you are waiting. I suspect this is done to ensure that no one comes into the place and tries to leave without a full belly. It smelled lovely. The bartender brings my drink, looks down my blouse, and waves away my money.

"On the house." He smiles. I smile back and make the polite conversation that has just been purchased from me rather Korean style and wait for the arrival of the dinner party. Tonight we will have the Bard, the Chef, and the Balance whenever they all decided to show up. The bartender eventually sighs as more people come to patronize and he must officially work, I sip my drink and read a magazine while waiting for the others.

The Bard and the Chef come in and clap me around and ask when we have a table. I mention that I thought they had reservations. "I'll take care of it." Says the Chef, who then orders a drink and books a reservation for fifteen minutes later while she sips it at the bar.

"I hate waiting in lines." She smiles. Now with a table procured we set to waiting for the Balance and finishing our starter drinks trying not to rush it too much. Just as we settle in for the last few short minutes before our reservations kick in, the Balance walks in looking devilshly charming, and more drinks are ordered while we get seated. The Chef had brought a selection of wines for the evening but alas the corking fee put rather a stick in the situation which resulted in us ordering the house red to go with the food.

Arguments over food ensued. To get the family style menu or not.

"She's a vegitarian." Says the Bard with grace and pointing at me.

I smile, "Don't worry, I'm sure I can think of something."

"We can get the vegetarian family menu." Adds the Chef.

"I want gyros." Says the Balance. "We can get the gyros menu and she can get something else." Which made perfect sense to everyone there so in the end it was decided that the carnivores would have the family style menu which included gyros and the pork, and I would get some kolokythakia tiganita with skorthalia and dolmas for dinner and would share when it was possible in the other items on the family menu.

And so the feasting the eating, the drinking, and the random talking ensued. The discussion starts with foods, rambles into politics and then, as almost always happens if I speak up, dives straight down the gutter into hedonism. We all ate to exploding, and passed around deserts with coffee, baklava and some kind of greek pudding that I was sure would kill me (having only recently escaped from the allergery encrusted trip to the Midwest I was avoiding eggs and milk with a stronger passion than usual).

Having fully gorged ourselves on things like saganaki and roditis while being highly amused by the ambiance, among other things cheese on fire and the trotting through the entire restraunt of a recently barbequed pig (head and all), it was time to pay the piper and retire. It was agree all around that we would ajourn to the home of the Balance to continue in the drinking and the revelry until we could not do anything else. Alas, I took this a little too much to heart and blame the two weeks spent induling in allergies but without the drinking and the going out. So, as we entered the enclave and were each treated to our own libations of sorts I got a little head over heals in the good tequila and promplty had trouble following most anything.

We discussed life. We discuss evolution. The Balance ask "have you seen Waking Life?"

And so we take a movie break.

We discuss the themes. Suddenly sitting around the table with the Balance is less interesting than sitting outside on the hard cement and smoking all of us perched around each other.

We talk.

"At one point I think all of you have been attracted to me and wanted to fuck me." The Balance states as part of an argument on conflict. And I think to myself that is probably true.

"I have no problems with being a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat." I say.

"There is no real hypocrisy." Tosses in the Bard.

And so it continues with a back and forth, each of us contributing in our own way, and each of us plunging into our own different degree of alcohol injection. The Balance takes it in stride and asks "How do I find Korean gamers?"

"In a PC bong," I answer. "Ask me when I'm sober, I'm too far gone now."

I return after a smoke upstairs and fill my glass to the brim and at this point all the good Greek food and undressing (having returned to my Midwestern comfort clothes some time prior) will not stop the full on avalanche I am taking into a bender.

I remember being carefully packed into a car and thinking that I might throw up.

I remember the Bard foisting me up the stairs.

And then darkness.

In my dreams I am chased by the need to find something at the edge of my reality, something to connect it all together. And like all dreams I chase it til I wake and then it's gone, eluding capture and leaving me to contemplate and want more.

1 comment:

Tony said...

Being vegetarian myself I find it amusing how meat eaters are always "concerned" on if we will be able to find something to eat or not. I like how you handled it.