I Saw “Bruno”, Then Went To Lunch


Ordinarily, that single sentence in the title would suffice in terms of describing my Sunday.    But here in Laurie Land, things are never as they seem.    I’ve been given the innate ability to be in a common, every day occurance and see the strangeness in it.    Is it a gift?   I doubt it, but it often makes for great blog posts.

A little bit about “Bruno”, if I may.    It had a few laugh out loud moments; which is rare for me.   But my guffaw moments weren’t always in tandem with the rest of my fellow movie watchers.   I found myself laughing at the little things in the scenes for which you had to look or watch and the movie is rife with these subtleties.  

If you were to ask me, I’d say go ahead and go – -to the earlier cheaper showings and do so because I doubt seriously if Sasha Baron Cohen can pull off another Borat.    Former 2008 presidential candidate, Ron Paul (R., Texas) has a cameo  in the flick and even though the whole thing was obviously set up, Ron Paul’s performance was delightfully uncomfortable, which completely worked considering the scene.

One would seriously have to believe that star cameos and each invidual reaction to their part in both of Cohen’s movies which focus on the tried and true “fish out of water”  genre,  are set up.   That’s fine;  it worked in Borat and  it works in Bruno, though I doubt if Cohen could pull a third (similiar) movie out of ass, which in this movie was well photographed.

And frequently photographed.

After attending the five dollar matinee, I decided to treat myself to French inflenced Vietnamese food.   There’s a restaurant here in Houston, on the near SW side of town,  that makes absolutely incredible Franco/Viet cuisine.  

It’s called Vietnam Coast and it has a pan sauteed garlic and onion        shrimp dish that makes you want to develop festering boils.   Yes kids…it’s that good.   If you’re ever in Houston and find yourself in this part of town, Vietnam Coast is on Hillcroft, in between Richmond and Westheimer.    Get the garlic shrimp but preface your meal with a Thai Lemongrass and Shrimp soup.    

Oy to the Vey, it is delicious!!    Seriously, to all my Houston readers:   go there, sample their delectable wares and tell them Laurie sent you.  They’ll have absolutely no idea who that is, but what a great conversation starter it could  be with any member of that crazy ass,  multi-ethnic  Benneton ad Vietnam Coast calls its staff.   

As I sat at my table, alone in all my solitude, I do as I always do:  I looked around and became bemused by who and what dines around me.   My table was smacked dab in the middle of the restaurant, so I had an almost 346 degree view.    Ok, so logistics, including  well placed urns containing bonzai trees and an oddly located cashier’s booth makes it impossible for tables to completely encircle me.

To my lower right, there were two middle aged therapists who over pot stickers and edamame, discussed their higher selves vs. their authentic selves.


My attention went counter clockwise.   On my upper right, there was a man also dining alone and  he sat quietly reading a book.   In fact, he only nodded and pointed when it came to addressing his waiter.  He was really into this book or at least, pretended to be.   Reading, I think, in a public place, not only “informs”, but it can be the perfect shield in terms of preventing you from conforming into a member of polite society.    They book presents a convenient barrier.    Keeping you in and others out.  I pictured this man living a very insular life.      

At one point he held the book in one hand as he stretched a bit.   I strained my eyes to see the title.   I couldn’t tell but it was written by either Tolstoy or Telstar—I didn’t have my glasses on.

Then, to my lower left, a mere two yards from me sat two couples.     One couple  dominated the entire conversation.    They talked pedantically about their dog child which apparently is compensating for her barren status.   It’s black and white and I think named Dora.   Then they went on talking about a recent trip to the Balkans or the Falklands…I also can’t hear worth a damn.     But whatever the location, I learned that the countries taxi drivers are    gruff and once you’ve reached your destination, they’ll 86 it right on our of there before giving you back your change.

Their audience who they were holding captive with incessant talking instead of bars, smiled politely and nodded polititely and feigned a laugh as if on cue.

I thought about the extremely vanilla looking couple sitting across from them…the talkative ones.   It wasn’t as though they dominated the conversation, they were despotic about it.    Their hostages checked their watches a few times, sighed, too and I knew that were at their wits end.   Yet the vanilla couple still blabbed on and on and when She stopped for a breath, He filled in the gap.  

I wondered if they were like this with each other.    Did they talk non-stop at home, or was it  just something they could do when other people were there  to there to talk to….that they listened or not, didn’t seem to matter. l   Perhaps they didn’t talk at all at home and this lunch served as a way to vent all that silence.

Then I wondered what life was like at home.   Would they tell the other couple goodbye and go home to a silent afternoon, an even more quiet dinner?   And would bedtime contain more things left unsaid?    Angry nights turn into angry dawns and everything in between  is inconsquential when a marriage is in peril.

“How said!”, I thought to myself.  

To this couple, I would imagine the sound of someone leaving and slamming the door behind them for the last time signals freedom.    To them, the sound of the click and dial tone, only means the much anticipated end of yet another meaningless phone call.

Did they fall out of love?  Did they just stop trying?

Maybe,  they just stopped talking.

They paid their bill and one couple when their way and the talkative couple went theirs.  I watched the talkers walk to their car, where they stopped  and chatted a bit.   She picked some lint off His shirt.   He never stopped talking;   She never stopped listening.  She folded Her arms, looked down and kicked a pebble near Her foot; He stood there, hands on His hips a la Yul Brynner.

Then all of a sudden, they looked at each other, smiled, embraced and gave each other a brief but passionate kiss.   He moved His hands down her arms; She cupped His face in Her hands.    They broke their embrace, then He got into the driver’s seat and She want to Her side of the car.

They drove off with Her hand, rubbing the back of His neck..

I took a long sip of my tea as the waiter placed my check and a fortune cookie in front of me.    I opened it, but I have no idea what is said.  All things considered,  it could easily have read, “Dumb ass.  Wrong again.   Stick to making fun of Helen Thomas”.

Whoa….could my impressions have been more wrong????

I left a $20 on the table and walked out the front door  to my car with my head down  like a despondent Charlie Brown at Christmas time.



One comment

  1. do do dooo, do do do doo. CHARLIE BROWN!!!
    at first i wasnt sure if this was your website. but then i saw the charlie brown. and i was like… uh DUH! haha.
    i miss you terribly. love the blog!

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