Reply Sat 3 May, 2003 10:42 am
This story is based on a true event at a small theater, with one broken film projector, in Southern California, where I enjoyed the film with a friend.

For those who have not seen the film 'My Dinner With Andre":


have not read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:

(A spoof of the babblegab of artistic producers and art critics)
By BumbleBeeBoogie - January 1994

She was always slightly out-of-sync,
not quite in the main stream.
While everyone else echoed the obvious,
she seemed attracted to subtle nuances.
That's how she became the film critic
for Bon Appetite Magazine.

Her first film assignment was
"My Dinner With Andre".
She viewed the film at a neighborhood theater
with one of its two projectors broken,
creating five-minute breaks between the reels.

The film's dialogue was brisk and sparkling,
with Andre's charisma and raconteurial talent
vibrating from the screen.
She empathized with his dinner companion,
the introverted Wally, the extrovert's classic foil,
in the style of Abbot and Costello or Laurel and Hardy.
During the reel reloading breaks,
when the houselights came up,
she began to write her Bon Appetite review:

"Andre's eyes followed the candle smoke
curling and dancing through the dust beams,
shimmering through the rays of the candle flame.
It swirled and drifted down to the table
where the golden champagne's dying bubbles
clung to the sides of the crystal glass
as if they were swimmers grasping at life buoys.
Their struggle splashed beads of opalescent light
across the table to the china plate
where the congealed blood from once-juicy,
but now cold slices of roast beef puddled;
their dried edges starting to split and curl."

"Wally sniffed, trying to resuscitate the savory aroma.
A glutinous mound of mashed potatoes still held its shape.
But the mountain of dun-colored gravy
surrendered its hold on the gritty peaks
laying defeated in its valleys
among the foothills of wilted pale green peas.
Unable to keep pace with Andre's flights of vision,
Wally picked at the rose petals that had withered
and fallen on the snowy linen.
He lifted a heavy silver spoon, tested its weight
and examined his distorted image in it's gleaming bowl.
Wally leaned forward. His breath whooooshed
out the flames of the platoon of candles,
standing like sentinels in silver boots guarding the roses,
as if he needed to shield himself from the
penetrating glow of Andre's life light."

"Embarrassed, his mouth twisted in a pained smile,
Wally muttered something about his family responsibilities.
He picked at the little beads of candle wax
that had spilled from the silver holder,
and rolled them into a ball between his fingers.
He turned to look at his image reflected in the window
lighted by the glowing candle, nervously toying with his food."

What is this verbal game that Andre and Wally are
playing with each other, she wondered?
From somewhere, in that off-center recess of her mind,
she sensed a glimmer of an ancient nuance
pulsing in the right side of her brain.

It must be a dialogue between Plato and Aristotle;
there's no other explanation.
That's why she can't concentrate on the food.
What brain cells stored memory of the Plato and Aristotle dialogues?
She'd never read the ancient texts.
It must be from that other out-of-sync mind, Robert Persig,
in his "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance";
the book he wrote with the left side of his brain
before he killed himself with the right hemisphere.

Then she understood her uncertainty.
The mechanics of life were meant to be out-of-sync,
the subtleties discovered, the nuances noticed.

Casting human relevance aside,
she recorded her final comments about the food,
noting the dinner ended with Jamacian Blue Mountain coffee
and a crystal snifter of swirling amber cognac,
and closed her notebook.

On her way home from the theater,
she stopped for a Big Mac, large fries,
and a medium diet cola.
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Reply Sat 3 May, 2003 03:03 pm
WOW!! BBB, have you published any of your work? If not, you should.

Your descriptions of the uneaten food on Wally's plate was wonderful. Then, as the food writer gave up thinking about the human relevance of the movie and concentrated on the food and wine as she ended her piece, I couldn't help wondering if she left in the congealed gravy, the crusted pool of blood from the meat and the withered rose petals. I hope she did, but fear that she didn't; reverting to the familiar, not wanting to be distracted from the narrow focus of her job.

I look forward to reading much more of your writing.
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