If ChaliceChick and the CSO found a day’s outing on the National Mall, Hubby and I spent the afternoon being kneaded and rubbed at a Chinese acupressure/acupuncture place at the Wheaton Mall, in the Maryland suburbs. (Metro accessable, of course.)
It, as they say, “hurt so good” and at the end our qi was in fine form. Jokes ensued. Me to him: “Do you know what would help my qi right now? A Dunkin’ Donut.” Later, when the subway car stopped short, lurching us in our seats, we wondered if our qi was all stirred up. And so forth.
Before we left Wheaton, though, we had a late dinner at a restaurant we like. By the time our meals arrived, there was only one other couple in the place. I had my back to them, but Hubby described them as “Takoma Park types.” Takoma Park, three stops closer to the city on the subway, was an Adventist settlement whose vegetarian culture attracted later-day Flower Children. Painfully pricey and liberal, but with a touch of mutual misanthropy, as the welfare of the neighborhood trees excites a kind of passion unknown for mere human beings. These are people who read The Lorax, and live it. (Atlantans: read downtown Decatur, the closer to Agnes Scott the better, with a touch of Little Five.)
Indeed, excusing myself on the pretense of going to the men’s room, I caught a gander of them: both were 50ish, with shapeless cotton clothing — the Woman was wearing one of those applique purple tops you see a lot of at General Assembly — and no evidence of conditioner or product at all. And they were figting about something.
Our dinner nearly over, but with half a beer each to finish, Hubby and I began to eavesdrop. Since the Man’s back was to us, we could only make out her stage whisper clearly. They were fighting about religion, and either whether they should get married or where. In high tones, she made it plain she was Christian; there was an exagerated and aggressive tone in his speech that made it clear that he wasn’t, and wasn’t going to have any part of it. The murmur when the Catholic Church came up was particuarly piquant.
Bored by this point, we were about to rise when the Woman said the loudest and clearest thing all evening: “The Unitarians? They’re not even Christian.” (Here, I went into CPE verbatim mode and wrote this out on the subway) “They’re, like, non-sectarian. [The Man interjected something.] They don’t believe in anything.”
We left. Well, if that’s not candid, unscripted feedback I don’t know what is. Not that it is at all actionable or even relevant, but it suggests to me the inescapability of our present public identity.
Remarkably, my qi was unperturbed.