There's a veg south Indian joint I frequent after work. Today wasn't a workday, but I was at Knitty City being initiated into the wonders of the integrated (aka attached) i-cord when I got a call from the department secretary. As it turns out, she was not calling to wish me a Happy Valentine's Day, but rather, to ask me why I wasn't at the department meeting. Oops. Bad untenured assistant professor. In the past, we have always gotten a email reminder, but for some reason this time the department head forgot to send one and I had written the meeting date in the wrong place in my datebook, and so I had to rush down to campus, feeling guilty the whole way.
After the meeting I went to this south Indian restaurant for a much-needed quick non-pizza lunch, and owing to the staff's peculiar insistence upon always seating customers right next to one another (even if the entire restaurant is empty), I ended up sitting practically on top of a couple on what was obviously a blind date that was not going particularly well. The boy, lily white as I am - though unschooled in the ways of south Indian restaurant fare - was gently guided through the menu by his lovely Indian lady date, and soon they had a table full of exotic food.
Lily White New York Banker Guy: What's that?
Indian Lady: (encouragingly) That's an idli. (She pauses to give LWNYBG a chance repeat the word. He does not avail himself of the opportunity. She moves on.) It's actually a breakfast food.
Lily White New York Banker Guy: huh - okay - which of these sauces is the best?
Indian Lady: Well, all the sauces are good. (takes bite of idli) mmm...they're the first thing I crave when I --
Lily White New York Banker Guy: (out of nowhere, the most he's talked the entire meal) When you're hung over?
Indian Lady: (carrying on valiantly) -- when I go back to India.