Chuck (charlesofcamden) wrote,

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Unexpected Dinner

I am presently basking in the afterglow of a lovely little dinner – a beautifully baked piece of whitefish accompanied by white rice, pita bread, and some radish & feta cheese garnish. It wasn’t what I thought I was going to have for dinner. I left work at 10 p.m. figuring I’d toss some dinner-sicle into the microwave and gulp it down without looking at it. But a distracting train ride changed all of that . . .

He was a clear-eyed, earnest fellow, probably in his 30s, and he was a motormouth, yammering pretty much non-stop all the way home at his elderly male companion. I was only a few seats over from him, so I had no choice but to hear what he had to say, though I was careful to never make eye contact with him, because I really didn’t want to engage him directly. His main topic tonight was African politics, particularly the situations in Zimbabwe and South Africa. He seemed very knowledgeable, or at least he believed himself to be so. Intertwined with his political discourse were multiple references to “my ministry” as well as a couple brief mentions of the fact that he had just been released from a mental health facility somewhere. He may have said that his problem was anger management, but I’m not sure and I wasn’t inclined to grill him on that point. But Lordy, this guy could talk! And there was nothing else there to distract me, so I let my brain get sucked into his often loopy but oddly compelling train of thought . . .

I looked up at the sign in the station as we pulled in. It read “Thorndale.” Crap! That’s the next stop after my stop! I jumped to my feet and darted out onto the platform. Looking back south, I could see that I had just missed a southbound train, so I decided to walk home from there. The route homeward was not the most inviting stretch of North Broadway, so I kept up a pretty good walking pace. What to my wondering eyes should then appear but a restaurant I’d never seen before – Paradise Authentic Persian Cuisine, at 5848 North Broadway. The sign on the door said they were open til 11 p.m., and it was 10:40, so I walked in. The first thing I saw was a pretty waitress in a clingy sleeveless top smiling at me. Now I don’t want to make too big a deal about this, but her hair was quite implausibly blonde – she’d have done better to go with her natural Middle Eastern looks. Though either way, she was a positive addition to my dining experience. But I digress. I perused the menu, quickly made my choice and placed my order. As I was the only customer in there, the man who turned out to be the owner beckoned me to come sit at the bar and insisted that we drink hot tea together while I waited for my order. He was a warmly affable fellow and we had a very pleasant chat. I learned that the restaurant has been there for only 5 months, which explained why I hadn’t seen it before. The décor is colorful, offbeat, and very informal, and I look forward to sitting down and having a proper meal there. I should also mention that my bill came to $11 even, which is a pretty darn good price for what I got!

I guess this means that I am now indebted to that strange man on the train. Perhaps he was put on this earth so that I might have a nice piece of whitefish tonight. I must seek him out and let him know. It will give him a nice sense of purpose . . .

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