Out and About Town With Ahab

Cloudy one today, and sunnier tomorrow if the forecasting man has earned his keep for the week. But the clouds have done a half-baked job, for the town is all hustle and bustle at this hour — about 11:30 in the morning, though it feels very much like 3:16 in the afternoon. Not a speck of blue could be found overhead right now, but it’s still warm and just humid enough to expose those who dared go into town without antiperspirant.

Now is our summer of traffic jams. The invaders have done their invading, and they’ve done a fine job, as they invariably do. I don’t mind long lines and crowded streets, though. Sure, there are times when I curse these fair-weather gamblers and consumptionists. But, on the whole, their fresh, peeling faces are welcome. They spruce the whole place up, if not with their litter then with their vigor. Half of them won money at the races, so they’re all full of merry and are spreading equal parts good cheer and cash. The other half backed the wrong pony and came up in the red. But still, they’re nice to have around, for they’re always getting into hilarious little scuffles — sometimes with themselves, sometimes with we year-rounders. Keeps you on your toes, if nothing else. And that’s good for your calf muscles.

Last night had a fine date with a fine gal. We had dinner and talked about pocket square etiquette and veganism and hairspray. There was mention of mutual interests and shared passions. It was terrific fun. Later, we saw a new flick: The Big Sick. The crux of the thing is that there’s a Pakistani-born man who falls head-over-heels for this well and truly translucent American girl. This is just wonderful in a vacuum, but they live in Chicago (not a vacuum). This leads to a whole slew of troubles for both parties: His family disowns him; She slips into a coma. Well, the coma wasn’t a result of their romantic and familial woes, but I’m sure they couldn’t have helped.

In the end, she wakes up, and the two of them go the distance. He bursts free of the cultural/religious shackles (e.g., arranged marriage) prescribed to him. She overcomes illness and takes him back — he never told his family about their relationship; she found out; she left him after finding this out, feeling betrayed and slighted. It’s all very nice and admirable.

Watching our protagonist struggle not only with dating but with the expectation to partake in an arranged marriage struck me as a proper conundrum, especially when contrasted with my central worry of the evening: which tie to wear to dinner. I settled on a navy blue silk tie, patterned with little white whales. I feared that tie might give off Captain Ahab vibes, but all was right and amusing in the end — for both me and the coma gal. She pulled through and made a lovely little recovery. I wish I could say the same of our Pakistani-born man, that he made it out all right, but he’s a standup comedian, so we can only hope for the best for him. Though it seems prudent to expect nothing but the very worst.

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