Of anal probes and antipasto
As I indicated in the previous post, my husband and I ate at Manducatis last night. For those of you who are not in the know, this restaurant is located at 12-37 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City. It’s exterior is pretty unremarkable, if not downright ugly. That’s what really surprised us: the interior is incredibly nice, as is the food. I highly recommend checking this place out. Though you should be advised that I read a number of very negative reviews on Citysearch, most of these were complaints about poor service. My experience was much to the contrary.
Any fine dining establishment worth its salt makes sure its clientele are not only nourished with flavorful food, but are also entertained. Manducatis is no exception. What’s more, the person who provided my evening’s entertainment wasn’t even on the payroll. She was a customer.
After negotiating through the admittedly uninviting entrance of this restaurant, my husband and I selected a table next to a party of three. The group seated next to us appeared to be a family unit. If I had to take a guess, I’d say this trio was as follows:
- One elderly uncle
- One elderly aunt
- One middle-aged niece
I didn’t take much notice of these people at first. This ubruptly changed when my husband and I were sharing a cold appetizer plate and overheard the “niece” saying:
…of course the local Italian population is probably speculating as to what other orifices they have put electronics in.
To wit, auntie said:
I’m not touching that one with a ten foot pole.
I glanced over at their table. That’s when I realized the niece was wearing a very nice silk Kimono with a pair of shower thongs. Fascinated, my husband and I ate in silence so as to savor this woman’s every word. And boy oh boy did she have a lot of say!
Her next monologue started with the following sentence. It was recitated in a very staccato and non-inflected tone like William S. Burroughs.
Unlike my most people my age, I have perfect hearing.
This seemingly innocuous observation was followed by twenty minutes worth of commentary about:
- Conformity (and today’s teens)
- Why she hates i-Pods
- The government
- Mind control
- Computers and mind control
It was one of the most mind-blowing lectures I have ever heard. Almost 24 hours later I am still trying to understand it. Once she was satisfied that had given her two cents on all the previous subjects, the “niece” excused herself to go the bathroom. Once she was out of eyeshot, the uncle turned to his wife, gave her a “WTF” look and turned off his hearing aid. Turn off, tune out, drop out.
After coming back from the bathroom this fascinating woman spoke at great length about her upcoming trip to Japan. I have to say that I was pretty excited for her, a lot more than her dining companions were. The Japanese have long been the standard-bearers of insane genius and it made me proud to know that this woman would be serving as my city’s ambassador to the land of the rising sun. She’ll teach them a thing or two.
One awkward conversation over dessert later they left. It was probably just as well because that’s when my husband’s boss decided to call him on his cell phone. Just shy of 9:00 p.m. on a Saturday night. I ordered him not to take the call. My husband may be under her employ, but I am not. We were having a very nice sit-down dinner and it was going to stay that way. Had my new friend still been seated next to us, I probably would have seized the cell phone from my husband, hit the “send” button, hand it over to her and let her handle it. But I digress.
As we were leaving I noticed a lovely little floral bouquet sitting on the bar. Although it was hardly professional, it had a certain charm that appealed to me and I told our waiter so. That’s when he asked, “Did you see the woman wearing the kimono?”
Waiter: Well, she lives across the street. She’s an artist and has lived here a long time. She brings us fresh cut flowers from her garden every day.
Me: That’s really nice. Can I ask you a question?
Me: Does she always wear a kimono?
Waiter: Well, that depends. When she was in her Italian phase she dressed up as an Italian. When she was in her Mayan phase she dressed up as a Mayan. Now she is in her Japanese phase and has taken to wearing kimonos.
Maybe in twenty years I’ll have my Mayan phase. I can only hope so.