Thursday, February 17, 2011

location: pho cali

I woke up this morning and really wanted a glass of "salty plum", a vietnamese drink they serve here. Today they are out and I have to settle for "salty lemon" instead. I've had this happen before. The salty plum and salty lemon aren't that different in taste. It isn't a bad compromise. Salty plum seems a bit more far removed from the norm though, salty lemon just sounding like lemonade with salt in it.

A woman just knocked the window pane accidentally as she shaded her face with her hands and peered into the restaurant. We made eye contact and she seemed slightly embarrassed. She then entered the restaurant.

My salty lemon was just delivered to the table by the man who I have always assumed owns the place. He's a friendly middle aged vietnamese man that is best described as adorable. A friend of mine and I come here often so I figured he would be the one to drop off my salty lemon in order to say hello. He said "always the salty for you" as he set the glass on the table. He then asked if I had graduated and where I am currently working. He asked where Jenny was and why I now come alone. Jenny is in Portland I say, teaching art to young children. She is happy there. He smiles and says that he is happy for the both of us and I say thank you and he then walks to another table to resolve an issue that has arisen between an old woman and a girl who I am assuming is her grand daughter. The old woman is complaining that she didn't get what she ordered. She says her pho was supposed to have shrimp in it and that she is very upset. Her grand daughter is loudly exclaiming that she is wrong. They are causing a scene now. The grand daughter makes the point that there is no way the old woman could have ordered the pho with the shrimp in it because she wasn't even turned to that page on the menu when she ordered. The old woman is not stepping down from her position in the argument, responding that whatever she read off to the waitress had the word "shrimp" in it. The whole restaurant is staring at them. This includes a couple seated near me who have been quietly arguing amongst themselves and it is obvious to me that they are going through a break up. They have got to be somewhere just over or under thirty. The young woman has barely spoken a word as I hear the young man state that he feels the two of them just aren't on the same page anymore and that clearly this is what's best. She isn't facing me. Her back is towards me but I can tell she is crying because I can see as she lifts her hands to her face that she is wiping away tears in her eyes. I never understood why it is that men break up with their girlfriends over dinner, in a public place. Perhaps it is seen as a great way to avoid getting slapped or hit with a household object, such as a lamp or a dish. They think there will be less yelling, things will surely be handled more calmly and rational if you take the girl out in public. She wouldn't dare start screaming at the top of her lungs in the middle of the restaurant. Beware young fellow. There is always the one woman who will not hesitate to sand up and dump a bowl of pho on you and leave egg noodles dangling off your forehead. Hell she might even chuck some silverware your way, or go for the common drink throw to the face as she shouts out everything she possibly can to humiliate you in front of everyone.

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