Friday night was our last alone-together evening of vacation week, so my husband and I decided to go for the all-out romance and go for dinner at the local authentic Mexican restaurant where they have cheap, delicious food and wondrous-to-behold margaritas and then home to watch Slumdog Millionaire, a movie I have been urging my husband to watch ever since I returned from CousinFest.
To be honest, the Mexican restaurant is usually a bomb, and the only reason we continue going there is because it's so inexpensive. Let me explain: It's owned by members of the same extended family, all of them eye-achingly beautiful and as friendly as a pack of chupacabras. After you're seated, a waiter eventually comes to your table and slams down a basket of tortilla chips and a bowl of homemade salsa without comment; fortunately, the chips and salsa are good enough for you to overlook this surly behavior.
After a good, long time, a time in which I imagine a group of handsome servers are huddled in the kitchen drawing straws to see which of them has the misfortune of taking your order and suffering the unimaginable misery of refilling your Diet Coke, a fabulously beautiful young man with melting brown eyes and a curled lip will approach you with order pad and pencil held at the ready. If you have any questions about the food, he will answer them in the bare minimum of words, albeit in delightfully accented English, somewhat in the manner that his Spanish ancestors may have had to answer Torquemada. If you require an extra slice of lime in your margarita, a dish of the salsa caliente or a fork to replace the one you clumsily dropped on the floor, forget it.
On one memorable occasion, my mother was able to obtain a dish of the extra-hot salsa, but I attribute that to the fact that the waiter could see that she was fully capable of not stopping talking to him about what part of Mexico his family was from and how she'd once gone to Cancún and stepped on some coral, cutting her foot rather badly, and how much she'd enjoyed the missions trip she'd gone on, that he relented and brought the salsa, scurrying back to the kitchen after practically hurling it like a frisbee at our table from a distance of ten feet. But that's the only time I've ever had it. It was good.
This restaurant creates succulent beef tamales, the meat as tender and deliciously seasoned as any I've ever eaten. They can take humble foods such as rice and beans and turn them into masterpieces of ethnic culinary art. Their way with guacamole must surely be magic. But if you go there hoping to find mariachi and shining white teeth beaming from smiles in faces the rich color of café au lait, forget it. The atmosphere is brisk and businesslike with a vague underlying hint of irritability and you just have to get used to it because the food is so good.
After we were given the bum's rush from the restaurant, we came home to watch our movies, both Slumdog Millionaire and the Liam Neeson movie, Taken, about the man whose lying little poophead of a daughter gets kidnapped into a middle eastern prostitution ring while in France. We were going to watch both, but my husband ended up being too tired, so we watched Taken first. It was actually a very good action movie and the perps were given a very satisfying beatdown by Neeson's character, a ex-CIA agent who took early retirement in order to move to California to be closer to his teenage daughter.
We watched Slumdog Millionaire yesterday evening while waiting for the call from Pop, Nan and the girls that they were within an hour of New Castle so that we could go get Meelyn and Aisling. Our longing to see them had progressed to the point that my husband and I were both fidgeting and trying not to look at the DVR's clock every single second, so it was a good thing we had this movie to distract us.
Slumdog Millionaire was every bit as good the second time around, with Jamal once again proving to be the romantic hero of every girl's dreams, and maybe even some who couldn't really be classified as "girls" anymore. *ahem* ("Mr. Big," I thought scornfully. "Mr. Bug, more like.") Just as I did the first time, I spent the last ten minutes of the movie in an absolute storm of weeping, but my husband? What did he do?
Oh, nothing much. Just sat there in his seat, just at the point when Latika answered Salim's cell phone as Jamal's Phone-a-Friend and said, "I have never known," talking to the dogs.
"For twenty million rupees: Who. Was. The. Third. Musketeer," said the slimy game show host.
"I have never known," said Latika.
"Do you have to go outside again?" said my husband, causing me to erupt in an explosion of outrage.
A few moments later, when Jamal finally reached Latika's side and embraced her, she said, "I thought we would be together only in death."
"No," Jamal said quietly, kissing the scars on her cheeks. "It was our destiny."
"Here, boy! Want a cookie? Sit!" said my husband and then I strangled him. It was his destiny, for being such a...such a....MAN during the final moments of what is possibly the happiest ending in the history of film.
When "It was written" appeared on the screen, I was using the cloth off the dining room table to staunch my flowing tears and my husband was looking at me, all, "What is your damage?"
Hmmmph. Wait until Meelyn and Aisling see it. They'll be able to appreciate it. Showtime starts after lunch this afternoon. Then we shall see, my fine man.
Here's the video for "Jai Ho," complete with stills from the movie.
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