I don't usually like talking with people when I dine out. I don't mean the people at my table, or even the opthamologist who gets around as much as I do and drops by my tables to chat.
I'm talking about talking with the people at the next tables. Not just the people who pardon themselves to ask what I'm eating. I mean anyone. I didn't invite you to dinner, and vice versa.
Last night was different.
My wife and I dined in Olympia on delicious Spanish cheeses. We sat next to a couple of granolas. He was a long-haired bald guy. He wore a gray beard and earth-friendly work-casual duds. She looked like a 1930s B-movie queen with a busted nose, platinum curls and sparkles on her face. She spoke in a cartoonish squeak through fire-red lips. What a woman.
With our respective old ladies taking a powder, the old granola dude struck up a conversation. I don't remember exactly how it started or what he said, because that's just how it goes sometimes when the vibe and the people are right.
After my wife and Greta Boop returned, we were up to our love beads in commiseration over our respective home remodels: theirs up, ours down. When we said we were from San Francisco, they said they were from New York. The way Greta Boop described 24-hour diners and triple-decker sandwiches, I wanted to spend the night with her and a Monte Cristo.
Our entrees arrived (no-flavor lamb and the worst gnocci I've ever choked down) and the conversation stopped. After we paid the tab, we bid them good night.
I wouldn't mind talking with them again.
Talk to me, people: Do you go to restaurants to eat or socialize with strangers?
My Oprah lines are open ...