My favorite diner, tucked away on a semi-busy street in my neighborhood. I came in for soup but the soup special was beef noodle. Not savory enough. I was hoping for creamy red pepper, or the amazing black bean soup, or even cream of asparagus or something. Not a staple like beef noodle. So I allowed Ayesha to talk me into trying the taco special. She’s persuasive. Seems straight-forward and goofy sometimes, like when she sings a little song as she delivers the bill to my table.
After I ordered, I decided I needed to wash my hands. Up, past the kitchen, and to the doorway between the dining room and the lounge. In the archway separating the two rooms, Ayesha and the bartender, another woman, fairer skinned and multi-colored long straight hair, were both leaning against the wall, eyes focused upward and their hands tucked into their chests and under their chins, almost, but not quite, as if praying. They unconsciously leaned into each other, sharing the experience of watching… something.
I muttered and smiled an “excuse me” so I could slip through the doorway and on the other side I could see that they were watching a TV hung near the door. “What’s on?” I asked. The lounge was much darker, except for the pools of light created by the several TVs and a couple of lights near the pool table.
Ayesha focused back on me. “Food Network.” The scene was some Asian city, ornate and antique looking, with glimpses of plates piled high with some exotic meal. “It’s the dude that travels around and eats…” she looked at her co-worker as she searched for a word… “everything.”
The other girl nodded, and with that curious arms-tucked-in pose, took a sip from her glass of water, through a straw. She did not take her eyes off the screen.
“Anthony Bourdain?” I asked.
“No… the other guy.” Ayesha laughed and kept staring at the glowing box hung above her.
I didn’t know any other guy that travelled around and ate food, so I started to step towards the restroom, but keeping an eye on the screen to catch a glimpse of this other guy.
Ayesha ran a hand over her long, black curls. “The… bald guy.”
I smiled but had no suggestion. I turned away, but as I did I was caught, again, by their rapt attention and tense posture, leaning against the wall and, nearly, each other, for support. Something didn’t jive. It was almost as if they were watching an accident.
“Food porn!” I blurted out. “You’re watching food porn!”
Ayesha nodded and kept watching.