I'm OK, You're ...well, I'm not so sure about you
Last night, I went with a couple of people to eat at Cochon, one of New Orleans' post-Katrina culinary success stories. (I was slow to embrace Cajun food -- boudin especially -- when I first moved to La., but honestly now I think I might need to form a Fried Boudin Balls-Anon. support group. They could do a drive-thru window and sell only that by the dozen, and I'd be there every day.)
Present at dinner were: my friend Stephanie, a former New Orleans resident who now lives in Michigan; her friend, Esteban, a native resident who also happens to be a medical resident; and myself, a perpetually fretting and on-the-fence resident.
The good thing about Cochon is that, for the menu-challenged like myself (Stephanie confessed to having this affliction as well), you really can't go wrong. That phrase -- "you can't go wrong" -- is often uttered by impatient waiters who don't know/don't care/don't respect patrons who can't make their own decisions, but it happens to be true in this case. Point being: we pigged out.
Sitting at one of the bench tables just behind us was the city's esteemed recovery director, Ed Blakely. I don't know too much about him other than that he has an impressive track record helping cities rebuild after fires and earthquakes (Oakland, CA; Kobe, Japan), although a decisive hurricane recovery plan has yet to emerge under his direction.
As he was leaving, Blakely came over to our table and shook hands with each of us -- his grip was certainly impressive -- and, looking each of us in the eye, and with that politician's trademark hand gesture (sort of a sideways fist, as though you were handing someone an invisible ticket) he said, a little too loudly, "We MUST Recover!"
It was deeply weird, and it made me nervous. I wanted to ask him something pointed yet encouraging, but I couldn't come up with anything on the spot, so I said "Are you doing OK?" which my friends and I agreed was even weirder.
I think what I meant was, "And how's the recovery coming along, from your seasoned perspective?" And maybe I was attempting to abbreviate that with something like "How are we doing?" but it came out as "Are you doing OK?"
I should have just said "You sure you're alright to drive?" and let him figure out what I meant.
Overheard in The Bean Gallery (formerly City Perk):
Man: Is that your biological child?
Woman: My husband is black.
(Really, who asks that of a total stranger?)
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