Katherine and I have little trouble finding things to talk about over dinner or a refreshment at happy hour. She likes to discuss books and philosophy—vis a vis the steps and missteps along life’s continuum—as well as lunatics she has encountered in her vast experience as a lunatic magnet. I end up talking books, philosophy—vis a vis what the hell vis a vis or continuum means—and the lunatics where I used to work because where I work now, in my basement, alone, there just don’t seem to be that many interesting nut jobs.
The other night the topic turned to movies, and I was waxing eloquent (not to be confused with waxing the elephant) about the characters and actors who play them in the continuum of Woody Allen movies. I mentioned a female actor in “Hannah and Her Sisters.” Here is the crisp dialogue that followed:
Katherine: “Well, Woody Allen always did like his women porky.”
A heavy silence fell over the table like a waxed elephant. A little voice within me said “What do you mean, right?” I then found myself pondering. Mia Farrow, porky? Louise Lasser, porky? And then I started to think, gee, porky is such a pejorative term and it is so unlike Katherine to be so blunt and unkind.
“Wait, a sec. Porky?”
“Porky?” she asked right back. “Who’s porky?”
“Mia Farrow,” I replied.
“You think Mia Farrow is porky?” She said this with the kind of biting astonishment that burns my leaves.
“No,” I continued, bristling at the sheer injustice of it, “you do.”
“Do too. You said he liked porky women.”
Now she bristled, which is when I knew I’d lost. Women always bristle better than men.
“I said quirky.”
I paused to reflect.
“Ah,” I nodded. “Oh,” I said. “Quirky,” I delicately enunciated.
“Not porky. Why would I have said porky?”
“That’s just what I wondered,” I said. “It seemed so unlike you.”
“There’s a big difference, you know.”
“Oh, thanks,” I said, not meaning thanks at all. “I did not know that.”
The conversation ended when Katherine asked “Have you thought of seeing a herring specialist?”
I was going to say something, but an inner voice convinced me to quit talking while I was behind. The next day I made an appointment with a specialist and we spent an interesting hour discussing the merits of salted, smoked and pickled herring. Though I much prefer walleye, I have filed this experience under “The things you do for love.”
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013, all rights reserved.