Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dinner with Dr. Whiney

Usually Dr. Whiney and I have a clash of palettes. He’s lowbrow with a champagne budget, I’m highbrow on a beer budget. He’d called me earlier this week and left a message on my answering machine. Which is pretty much like shooting craps. If I come home and find only one or two messages on there? I am fairly sure nothing urgent is occurring and I can ignore the calls. If there are 4 or more messages I figure there is a calamity or crisis going on – and I don’t want to be bothered ..... so I ignore the calls!

I felt guilty today on my way home from work – as my good intentions for sending an e-mail message on Monday or Tuesday acknowledging his call resulted in no completed action on my part. So I called. Leaving my own voice mail I said it had been a long frustrating day and I would be at home tonight – with a libation or two.

Shortly after opening a Peroni, the phone rang – and surprise of surprises it was Dr. Whiney. “I’m in the mood to drink too. Where do you want to go?” Now this too took me aback, as rarely is he “in the mood to drink”. “And let’s get some good food”, he suggested.

I responded with silence. Because once again his idea of “good food” and MY idea of good food are football fields apart.

“Helloooo??? Mit? Did you hear me, let’s go eat and drink, you up for it?”

“Uhhh, sure. There was a list in today’s food section about great sandwiches from around town – we can go to one of those places and drink,” I said.

“No, no, let’s go somewhere NICE.”

“Nice? Like …… handmade pizza type nice? Or not pre-frozen breaded-fish type nice?”, I asked.

“Like nouvelle cuisine type nice. How about that place over on Hillsboro Street?”

You could have knocked me over with a feather. The last time we went there I had to listen for at least two months about how that was not a “let’s go and have a bite to eat” type place. Did I see how much their hamburgers were??? And a beer for that kind of money?

“Really? There? Are you sure?”, I inquired, pressing the phone closer to my ear fearing I wasn’t hearing the full reply.

“Sure – or, what else is on the list? Pick a place!”

When he arrived at my house, I gave him a list to chose from. Much to my surprise he chose one of the higher-end suggestions.

“You are aware, right, that we’re not going to walk out of there for less than $X, right?”, I clarified.

“Yep, got it. It’s fine we’re celebrating!”

“Celebrating?? What are we celebrating?”, as this was news to me.

“I just finished two days of Family Practice recertification – we’re celebrating!”

So off we went. He in shorts and a polo, me in blue jeans and a cotton blouse. For our first course he had the Chilled Cucumber soup with heirloom cherry tomatoes and I had Fried Green Tomatoes with julienne greens and corn relish. One spoon full of soup and he declared it “cucumber slurry” – as he scanned the room. I’d just asked a question about a recent state legislature scandal and assumed that’s why he was scoping out the other dinners. But no, no that’s not why he was checking out the dark and intimate corners so closely. “Never know which “Inside the Beltline” tryst or dalliance could be here Mit,” he said as his eye continued roving over each female diner.

It must have been an off night, because there was not one former tryster (totally a word) in the whole place.

When the waiter brought us our main courses, Dr. Whiney declared his “proletariat palette” pleased with the smoked salmon with a balsamic vinegar and blue cheese glaze, goat cheese mashed potatoes, and medley of zucchini squash. That is until he tried my roasted pork shank with a port reduction sauce, cheddar cheese grits and pan fried spinach, which was immediately declared “the winner”.

Over dinner we talked about my day. I described a customer I’d interacted with at length for the last two days. A very annoying customer, who I am less than pleasant with, yet still insists I am the only one who can help solve any of his problems, or that of the company he works for. As I laid out the conversation, Dr. Whiney stroked his goatee – and finally said, “You know he just wants you to be his dominatrix, right?” I thought it was rather inconsiderate of him to utter those words as I was swallowing a very nice crisp Pinot Grigio.

“No, no I do not think that’s what he wants!,” I said.

“Sure, sure it is. Otherwise, as you point out, why would he insist on talking to you? Especially since you’re admittedly less than sympathetic to his plight, and downright irritable with him?,” he said looking at me through those probing brown eyes.

“In fact, what you should do is read my desk reference books on mental health disorders. That way when these people call you – the ones that immediately make you grumpy or feel creepy? You’ll know what their diagnosis is and you can then pick the appropriate tools from your arsenal to deal with them.”

“Oh please, that is not what’s going on here!”

“Sure it is, secretly, he just wants you to say to him, “Fred, ever worn a collar before? I have one I can send you.” If that doesn’t resolve the situation Mit, you can just say, “If you keep this up, I’m not spanking your naked butt – and I’m not going to solve your software problems either!”. Really that’s all there is to it, Mit. Trust me, say those words and your problems are solved.”

So yeah, that’s how I spent my evening. “Tips on how to provide Dominatrix Software Support”, courtesy Dr. Whiney and his credit card.

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