Friday, February 9, 2024

Still singin’ praises for the Eggplant Parmigiana

Have you ever made plans to get together with some friends to go out to dinner or see a show, but the day of the event got different “signs” you should maybe cancel?  But you went anyway, and wound up—well, I’m glad I still went.

This past Wednesday I awoke to my right cheek swollen and a bit painful (I’ve been dealing with a recent TMJ flare up).  I had plans to have lunch with my pals Evvie & Elaine (and some other folks from the Senior Center) at the Bravo Italian Kitchen on McKnight Road, and I wasn’t about to let this stand in the way.  I rubbed some Ben-Gay on it and hoped for the best. 

I showered and shaved and got dressed, then ran out the door (we were expected to be at the center by 10:30am for our road trip).  The entire walk there, I kept noticing a persistent perfume smell around me.  Where was that coming from?  Did one of the ladies from the center hug me the other day when I had my coat on?  I was half tempted to turn around and go home to change my jacket when it hit me—Tide Pods!  I washed my clothes with them on Monday and forgot I only bought them for my pillows and bed sheets.  Now I smelled like a basket of flowers.

I get to the center, say hello to everyone, there’s Evvie and Lady Elaine, thank goodness.  It’s soon announced the first of two shuttles is here, but I’m not on the list for the first one.  By the time the second shuttle arrived and brought us to the restaurant, I was dismayed to see all the tables had been filled except one: the one with Dennis, Paul & Gary.  The guy’s table.

Dennis is a nice guy (though he smokes a lot and reeks of cigarette smoke), and I like Paul (even if he is a sex maniac) but Gary—well, I’ve written about Gary before.  He claims to own 3 hearing aids but refuses to wear them, SO YOU HAVE TO SHOUT WHEN YOU TALK TO HIM.  REALLY LOUD.

I feel bad for him, but I’m also convinced he’s in the early stages of dementia as every time he sees me, asks me my name (over and over and over) then proceeds to tell me his entire life story.  When our server was taking my order, he kept poking me—“What’s your name again?  I weigh 286 but want to get down to 165!  That was my senior high weight, you know!  Guess how much I weigh now??”

Dennis returning from his 15th cigarette; Paul the Ladies Man; Gary

After I finally got my order in, Paul said “Want to see some photos?”  and showed me pictures on his phone.  “This is the first of my four wives, here’s my second wife, my girlfriend last year, my sugar lady who’s taking me to Tahiti next week, the woman I’m dating now who lives in Bobtown, oh here’s Wife No.4….” 

I said his wives were beautiful and his current ladies looked like fun, and Paul let me know what he couldn’t get enough of.  (Cough!)

My friend Elaine was at the next table, leaned over and asked what I was looking at.  When I said Paul’s stable of women, she said “His what??” and Paul turned and said “Oh hi there what’s your name?”    Back off Paul, Elaine is spoken for!

My friend Evvie and the Bravo menu 

When I flagged down our server (a very pretty young woman who seemed to be going out of her way to avoid the guys table) I pleaded for a glass of ginger ale.  She set one down then hurried off, I picked it up and took a big gulp and gagged—it tasted like a tumbler full of liquor. 

When I asked for a replacement, she said “Are you sure it’s alcohol and not just really old pop?  You might get the same thing again.”  I said “Please just bring me some water!”

The Herb Linquini was a little too al dente for me (and I realized when we were leaving I never got my salad), but the eggplant was crispy, hot and delicious.  And a good enough reason to get me out of the house!

 

41 comments:

  1. Sounds like Hell, but, what the heck, the eggplant looked delicious. Sorry you're in such pain. Hope it dissipates soon.

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    1. Thanks Gigi, and you're right--at least the eggplant was delicious! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Sorry your day was Murphy's Law Squared but I needed the laughs! Have a great weekend!

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    1. Haha thank you Bobi, you do the same ๐Ÿ˜„

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  3. Oh my goodness. Your 'table'! That made me laugh. Next time, I'd just grab my chair and dinnerware, and turn to the next table and say, 'shove over, I'm moving in...'

    Perhaps the solution is that the next time Paul pulls out his phone, I'd say, "I'm gay andI'm not interested in your pictures. I think you're hot though." That would take care of Paul.

    Perhaps the deaf man leaves his hearing aids out for a reason. Did you ever think of that?

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    1. And I have another idea. Give Smokey a box of Tide Pods!

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    2. Debby, you are really making me laugh out loud here! These are all good suggestions, you know! Haha thank you!!

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  4. I hope your jaw is feeling better? Does heat help, like one of those rice filled bags one heats in the microwave? The idea of ice around my teeth is daunting. And good eggplant - yum!

    Ceci

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    1. Thank you Ceci--oh trust me, I have heat packs and cold packs, I alternate them a lot! It's actually doing really well today and I am praying it holds. I think my title up there was a bit misleading, because the eggplant was the one good thing about this whole day. It was cooked to perfection!

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  5. Oh, Dug... so many little warnings to skip that outing... but as you said, at least you enjoyed your eggplant. And I think the deaf man may leave his hearing aid for a reason. I used to go to a lunch on occasion with my mom years ago when she would go with her friends from the Senior Center and to be honest, it was hilarious... the ladies on one side would answer things that had nothing to do with what was being talked about. I understand how that happens more now that I have hearing aids.
    As for that other man (and his pics), you need to be prepared to nip that conversation somehow. Maybe make sure that you sign up close to your lady friends?

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    1. Thanks very much Rian, well I admit I was pretty upset at the time but writing it out made me feel better and see the humor in it. And I had planned on sitting Evvie & Elaine, but another woman took my seat at the table. I don't want to sound grumpy, but for the price of these meals, I demand friendlier company :^)

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  6. ugh. I agree with you, Doug--you should have cancelled on this one. As much as I know we all need "socialization" there is a limit. I've also had those internal signals before a scheduled event that I should back out. Your description of the time in the restaurant is a perfect example of why I don't really like to eat our and ESPECIALLY with a large group.

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    1. Don--WELL SAID. Our last lunch out, there were only 6 of us and it was so much nicer. This one was around 20, leaving no room to choose where or who to sit with. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to go out to lunch, but from now on it has to be with people I can enjoy talking to. :^)

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  7. Oh Doug, you really are the king of character sketches!!! I love, love, love your descriptions. Felt I was right there with frisky Paul, chimney Dennis and spacey Gary. Including their pictures was icing on the cake. Sorry your lunch didn't go as planned, but sure enjoyed being a fly on the wall, so to speak! Twenty pounds, Gary! I think you weigh about twenty pounds! 'A' plus, plus for entertainment. ๐Ÿ˜„ ❤️❤️

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    1. Thanks Florence! I don't mean to make fun or light of anyone, just doing my best to see the humor in all of it :^) The center has been so nice, they offered to set up a smaller outing for myself and a couple of the ladies, like a quadruple date :^)

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  8. It makes for a funny and interesting story but what a bunch of frustrating circumstances. I would hate sitting with those guys and dealing with their tedious conversation. Poor Doug! "Just old soda?" OMG, that's nuts! I'm not sure I would even feel safe with the water. LOL

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    1. Haha thanks Margaret--well, I enjoy everyone's company for the most part (and I hope they enjoy mine) but I'm not a healthcare professional and don't have a lot of patience. I'm really trying! And yes, she really said "really old pop"!

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  9. Doug, what an outing you had! Too bad you had to sit with the three stooges. Your Eggplant Parmigiana looks delicious. I hope you get your date with the ladies soon!❤️
    Robin

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    1. Robin, you are too funny and gave me a real chuckle here, thank you my friend! :^)

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  10. I hope your TMJ is easing. It does sound like the universe was trying to tell you something ahead of lunch. At least a portion of your meal was good.
    I've no tips in dealing with men like Paul, though I have to think with this many exes, he might be getting what he wants but the women apparently aren't. Just sayin'.

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    1. Thank you Maebeme, you're very kind--the TMJ does seem to be easing (and I am very grateful). I hope I didn't share too much about Paul, I do like him, he's very nice. He also has a very deep voice, one of the ladies said "a radio voice". Maybe that's how he nabs all those women... :^)

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  11. Hope your TMJ has settled down and you feel better. As for that gang of guys you got stuck with, I have some suggestions:

    The guy who keeps asking your name, give him a different name each time. Just make sure each day you do this that you use the same letter of the alphabet, like that time, you could have used all D names. Next time he starts asking, pick a different letter, like S, giving him all S names. AND if he says something like, "I thought your name was..." just laugh and say, glad you were paying attention.

    I'm figuring these are not guys you want as best buds, so do weird annoying things to make them back off. I've had a woman trying to show me all sorts of pictures on her phone of all kinds of things, and I just start talking about something entirely different. She doesn't talk to me very much anymore.

    And next time, to make sure one of the women knows to save you a seat at their table, make a specific request. Trust me, if they like you, they will see to it that no one takes your seat.

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    1. Thanks dkzody! Well, the one who asks my name all the time already calls me Chuck, Stan & George without me saying a thing so I've given up and just play along! The other two aren't so bad, but I don't like tasting cigarettes while I'm eating. But you're exactly right about asking the ladies to save me a seat, I will do that for sure. I've always been better friends with women then men, I don't know why.

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  12. The guys you were forced to sit with sound outrageous. Mixed seating is always better. I would have been tempted to package up my meal, call an Uber and get out of there. Did you let the senior center know about your disappointing experience?

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    1. Susan you are pretty perceptive--I should've included another picture, i DID request my meal be boxed up and I ate most of it at home. (I had a couple bites there, but I could taste tobacco in the back of my throat.) As for the center, I love them. I did whine about the experience and they were quick to make some very good suggestions. They are good people. :^)

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  13. I'm so sorry. It is so disappointing when an outing doesn't go as planned. I'm glad the center is hopefully going to work with you next time.

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    1. Thank you Miss Merry, but I'm still glad I went--I still got to see my friends and took home some great food. The day just gave me something a little off the wall to blog about :^)

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  14. I have to say it, that photo of Gary looks like a thin man with cushions stuffed in his jacket. And I am so sorry you got the wrong drink, that must have been awful when taking a big gulp.

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    1. River, this made me laugh--you're right, Gary does look like that. Well, he said he was a skinny man in his younger days!

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  15. Hey Doug your descriptions of the guys were spot on. I find your stories hilarious and entertaining thanks for the laugh!!

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    1. Mary!! Thanks so much for your comment, I was hoping to hear from you! I should've told you, after a blog has been up 24 hours, comments don't get published right away (to make sure they aren't bots or spam). Thank you again, see you soon! :^)

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  16. I've just found you, so I apologize if you've said it before. Do you go to physical therapy for your TMJ? My doctor sent me to PT, I am seeing improvements in mine, and this last session they did dry needling which seems to have helped considerably.

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    1. Hi Plaine Jane, thanks for your comment and nice to meet you--and no apologies needed, I am sorry you're dealing with this too but it sure is nice to know another who does. I'm glad to hear the dry needling is helping, as a matter of fact I did try that 3 years ago when I had a long battle with it (that prevented me from even chewing). It wasn't effective ten, but this bout isn't as bad, Tylenol and hot and cold packs help considerably. Keeping my fingers crossed for you PJ, and please check in again. :-)

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    2. I wanted to tell you that I had such a laugh over your picture caption .. "Gary, the bane of my existence" (literally laughed out loud). And now the caption is gone! Geesh

      PS When you're writing about the senior trips, I feel like you're a roving reporter along for the ride, not one of them. Much too young for it. Though I'm glad to read all your stories.

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    3. Haha thanks Shawn, your input is ALWAYS appreciated--I KNEW you'd like that caption for Gary, but even though I was half-joking, I still felt guilty for saying it. I decided to rewrite most of the blog this morning and just make it sound more me. :^) I appreciate the roving reporter analogy too, haha--but the last 3-4 people who have joined the center are younger than me! Including Dennis!

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  17. I laughed out loud at the description of the "guy's table." You certainly know how to draw some great word pictures. And I am so glad to learn your TMJ is getting better. I read all the comments and had a good time once again. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks DJan, you're very kind! Well, I have no room to grumble here as I've been telling the center we needed more guys for the past year--so I got what I wished for, haha... :--)

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  18. What a cast of characters! I'm sorry it turned out bad for you. Maybe you should warn the ladies at the Senior Center about Paul unless they have already figured it out! At least your meal looks delicious. I'm sorry you are still having trouble with that TMJ, what a pain for you!

    Oh, I found your popcorn on sale for a dollar off and bought the last box of kettle corn. We haven't tried it yet but will soon.

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    1. Thanks very much Bonnie! Well, I did tell the ladies at the center that Paul was a playa, but they already picked that up! Everyone still likes him (me included), maybe he'll give me some tips :^) And that's awesome about the popcorn--you have to let me know how you liked it! (It doesn't have a lot of oil, so be careful with that timer) :^)

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  19. Ha ha. Funny for us, but I guess not for you. Anyway, bad lunch; but you got some good material for your blog!

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    1. Thanks Anon--well, the eggplant was still pretty good, but you're right--the whole time I thought "I can't wait to blog about this" :^)

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