Seen & Heard

I haven’t had TV for 15 years, ostensibly so that the kids wouldn’t grow up with seeping, rotten gourds for heads but actually because I’ll watch anything that’s on with the mindless interest of a goat. It worked; the kids got into college and I can have TV again. And so there I was last Saturday evening, figuratively munching on grass and ruminating in the living room while The Real Housewives of Orange County blared from the set. I have no new insight to add to this horrific display of American consumerism nor any fresh comments on the housewives’ disfigured faces and bodies, dysfunctional relationships with their husbands, children and physical selves, no pithy observations about their furniture, cars, “sculpted” carpets or swimming pools. I frankly can’t tell the wives apart from each other except that one of them is fat and just spent $8,000 on new bedding. The husbands are embarrassed nonverbal ciphers who somehow make big large bucketfuls of dosh. I was beginning to doze when two of the wives and their hubbies upped and went to Napa.

There, they tasted wine at Grgich and St. Supéry, took a limo ride, trod upon grapes and imitated a rooster before one of the wives donned a new transparent negligee set, the better to lure her husband into having 10th anniversary sex. (Marital Tip: She also gave him porn.) Thus refreshed, the  couples set off for dinner at Etoile in  Domaine Chandon. And this is where it got interesting.

Seated in a private dining room, the couples were given menus for the chef’s seven-course tasting menu (with wine, $180 a person). Trouble first arose when it appeared that they were going to have to decide together on the food. Fat, salt, red meat, shell fish and butter figured prominently on the menu. One wife couldn’t possibly eat the foie gras, not because she had any idea where it came from or how the animal was treated. Oysters? Ick-ee. Maine skate wing? Fish have wings?! Gross! Marrow and marrow broth figure prominently on Etoile’s menu; so does quail. So do sea beans and sunchoke, foodstuffs unknown at the Olive Garden. Nimbly navigating around the food, course after course after course of it, the two couples gulped down the carefully chosen wine accompaniments while one wife longed out loud for a more typical Orange County restaurant. They had no idea what they were eating or why, and that made me feel actually sad for them.

Pumped, primped, plucked, shaved, pinched in, pushed out, rubbed down, buffed up—these four souls had no interest in their surroundings or experience other than as a reflection on them. You go to Napa, ride in a limo, drink a buncha wine, mock a rooster, get your feet all dirty, push around some expensive weird food and go home again. What ev.In happier news, what station plays a live Warren Zevon cover of Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” followed by Sly and the Family Stone‘s “Thank You” followed by Billie Holiday? Why, little KWMR 90.5-FM straight outta West Marin can be heard loud and clear these days over the hill. The eclectic programming reminds of another small Marin station KTIM and the golden days of FM.

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