Ladies Lunch

“Just the two of you?” asked the girl in the black leggings, black button down shirt and purple cummerbund.

“Yeah. JUST us.”

“Inside or out?”

“Outside, please.”

“Jenna will seat you. Have a nice day!”

Elizabeth and Sharon followed another legging clad nymph, this one also in black leggings and black shirt but with a red-orange cummerbund. “Will this do?”

“It’s fine,” said Sharon.

“Can I get your drink orders? Your waitperson will be Wesley.

“Sure, I’ll have a strawberry daiquiri and my friend will have…”

“A martini, please.”

“Perhaps you’d like to refer to our martini menu. We have a variety of martinis, strawberry martinis, sour apple martinis garnished with a Granny Smith apple curl. There’s our famous Abuela martini with Mexican chocolate and vanilla, or maybe my personal favorite, the Blood Orange which features two citrus juices, strawberry vodka and a splash of thyme infused…”

“A martini. Dry gin, dry vermouth, an olive. Do you have this?”

Jenna nodded. “We do.”

“Good. That is the martini I want.

Sharon raised an eyebrow, “Shaken or stirred?”

Jenna looked at the women blankly.

“Shaken or stirred. Whatever the bartender’s up for.”

As Jenna walked away with their drink order, Elizabeth shook her head. “Remember that Devo song, ‘Freedom of Choice’?”

“No. That kind of music never did anything for me.”

Elizabeth looked across the patio toward the fountain. At a small, intimate table in the corner an elderly couple sat holding hands across the table, staring stupidly into each other’s eyes.

“I just wonder why.”

Noticing the drift of her friend’s eyes, Sharon said, “You’re not going to make another foray into THAT are you? Jesus. You’re nearly seventy.”

“No, but looking back, I wonder why we were all so inarticulate.”

“Who’s having the martini?” Wesley appeared in a red-orange shirt, black pants and violet cummerbund.

“My friend,” Sharon gestured at Elizabeth. “The strawberry daiquiri is for me.”

“I think he could have guessed who the daiquiri is for, Sharon.” Elizabeth grinned. Sharon was the take-charge type, always organizing reality.

“Whatev’. You were saying?”

“Back in our fresh-blossom days, why were we so inarticulate?”

“I don’t think we were. I think we were VERY articulate. Way more than ‘Thx’ and ‘Ur wlcm’.”

“We didn’t have those options. I wonder if I’d been able to text I’d have managed to express more of my feelings.”

“Like what? ‘Luv u’?” Sharon laughed so hard that pulverized strawberries and rum nearly came up her nose.

“Yeah, maybe.” Elizabeth thought of at least ONE situation that would have been helped A LOT with a text saying ‘Luv U.” She took a long pull on her martini. “I don’t think we were all that articulate. Yeah, we could argue about shit, but self-expression? You don’t remember all those seminars, workshops, retreat weekends where couples went off to learn to ‘share’?”

“Oh yeah. Why I didn’t think of those? Those were SO helpful!”


“Well, yeah. I found them very helpful, now that you mention it. Didn’t you? Had a lot to do with LSD and self-discovery, if I remember right. It was about discovering our potential, sharing our authentic selves with others.”

Elizabeth shook her head. “I remember going to something at my church where we made collages from magazines to reflect our ‘inner selves’. To whom? All I remember of that collage was lighting a match, blowing it out, and opening the cardboard end to make a roach clip. I glued it to the collage, a 3D feature. As if that was information? It just said I was 18, and I’d smoked weed. I thought I was so cool.”

“Who had the braised veggies with braised mahi and braised vinegar and oil on a plate of braised air?” asked Wesley who’d returned with lunch.

Sharon had her hand upbraised. “I do and my friend is having…”

“He knows, Sharon.”

“OK, right there. A place where you DON’T communicate but you could. You could say, ‘I’m having the freshly smashed peanut puree with grape reduction on the housemade gluten free panini.”

“Esalen. That’s the place everyone was going to. What BS.”

“OK, Liz here’s the thing. You regret you didn’t communicate with the men in your young life…”

“Not as much as I regret they didn’t communicate with me. Now I’m older I get what they were trying to say.”

“…OK, you regret the poor communication, but you reject — out of hand — the things that were around to try to fix that. We were raised by people who didn’t communicate. They drank.”

“I still think those encounter group things are creepy, and I never did any drugs — well, weed. I guess the problem is I’m more Edward Abbey than a touchy-feely encounter group.”

“Edward Abbey? THAT was your model?”

“Maybe. You know what he said about that stuff? ‘Never did get to know those spiritual amphibia crawling in and out of Esalen hot tubs.’ That’s a great line. A Fool’s Progress.”

“Abbey didn’t do so well with luv, either.”

2 thoughts on “Ladies Lunch

    • I loved reading him and I enjoyed teaching him in Critical Thinking through Nature Writing a class I put together myself ages ago. It was fun and inspired the students. 🙂

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