Susan's Blog

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Carping Diem

Now that I am in my 40’s, I have developed a strong sense of really wanting to take a good-sized bite out of life and tasting all (or most) that there is to offer. I do not want to have regrets; no “road not taken” for me. This applies even to minor things, like how I spend free time, or being sure that I have some qualitative interaction with my children at least once a day.

The other night, while out to dinner at a wonderful restaurant, I found myself compelled to apply my hard-earned carpe diem-esque attitude to a total stranger. My husband and I were seated one table away from a twenty-something couple. The man, who faced us, was a little portly, with longish hair and a very young face. The woman was lovely, with long Sarah Jessica Parker hair and a slim, straight back. I could only hear his voice, which seemed to ring across the dining room and hook itself into my ear. I did not like what I heard:

You’re festering, Hon, I can see it. You shouldn’t fester. Hon, nothing good can come of festering, you have to let it out…

We heard the odd word, “fester” about ten times, something which would have annoyed even Uncle Fester. Worse still was his use of the nickname, “Hon.” I doubt that was her name. Who calls their date “Hon” to the exclusion of anything else?

This continued and got louder with every new paragraph. The man ordered another martini, and began slurring his words, continuing to call the woman, “Hon,” and badgering her to do this, say that. Be different. Be like him.

Oh, I am definitely a Two-Coast Guy. I’m definitely going to have a home in California and one here. Oh, ya gotta live on two coasts. No way am I just gonna live on one…

And so on. As loud as he was, I never heard a thing that Hon said. All I could hear was him haranguing her, urging her to be different than she was, this beautiful young thing, to listen to him, to be like him, the loud lout — and it put me off my feed. Even with a Snickers Sundae on the menu, I did not have dessert. And I do not like missing out on tasty treats, as I have stated above.

Did I mention that I had had a couple of glasses of a delicious wine? I turned to my husband and said, “You know, life is too short to spend your time with a loser.” He smiled at me, paid the bill, and we rose from the table. Suddenly, I just knew what I had to do. I would show her the way. I waited for my husband to go ahead of me, and then I bent and whispered loudly to the woman, so that both the guy and the woman could hear:

You can do much better than this. Get out while you can.

I stood and smiled, and walked out, leaving the guy to sputter in his martini, saying, “Did you hear what she said?” And to my delight, he repeated it, in case she had not heard. I could not have written a better ending.

Maybe now she will take this opportunity to reflect on her situation, on the many other roads to be taken, and take leave of this dead end. Life is too short to spend time with people who don’t make you feel good.



I tried to write a coherent response to this post, because I thought it deserved one, but it always came down to….


— added by Kudla on Sunday, December 18, 2005 at 11:05 pm

You remain my heroine! Ned told this story at lunch, but I wanted to hear it from the source. You go, girl!

— added by Donna on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 1:32 pm

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