Archive for May, 2014

John Bohannon Featured in New York Newsday

Monday, May 5th, 2014

On May 2nd, New York Newsday published an article on John Bohannon in their “Act 2” series. You can read the article here.

jnb newsday

Photo by Heather Walsh.

 

The Dinner Party

Monday, May 5th, 2014

It was the dinner party from hell and I was there.  Carol, a friend of mine, loves to host elaborate dinners, and she invited me to one recently with a dozen guests that included family and friends. She had planned this event carefully for months. The invitations clearly stated that it was an adult gathering, but Carol’s sister brought her kids, three and four. A friend brought her four year old, and another friend arrived with her sulky teenager who made it clear that she was being forced to associate with adults, like, you know, strange beings from another planet? The unexpected guests meant extra chairs at the dining room table, but Carol was unflappable. Everyone gathered near a well stocked bar and settled down, balancing drinks and fancy hors d’oeuvres. An intense woman dressed entirely in black and wearing no makeup said, “Well, who’s ready to start a good convo?”

I had never heard anyone in real life use a made-up cyber word, so I said, “Hey, how about those Mets?”

“Oh, puhleeze,” Ms. Convo lady whined. “Sports is boring.”

“Shouldn’t it be sports are boring?” I said.

She heaved a sigh. “Look, I just got back from a vaycay. I’m still relaxed. Don’t stress me with a tude.”

“Well,” I said, “we could always discuss the merits of trying to round off infinity.” This resulted in blank stares all around. The sulky teenager was listening to her iPod while she popped her gum and nodded in time to her secret melodies. Two of the younger children began playing with handheld games, and one kid without a game wanted to have his turn, but the other kids refused to share. They got into a raucous argument, but no parent intervened. The children eventually tried the hors d’oeuvres, but immediately spit them out because they were yucky and gross. Various convos had broken out among the group and everyone, except iPod girl, seemed to be having a good time.

A guest named Bernice waddled into the kitchen and asked Carol when dinner would be ready.  When told it would be about an hour, she said, “Oh, no. My Harold needs nourishment right now. Make him a grilled cheese.” Carol reminded Bernice of the snacks, but her Harold needed something more substantial. Bernice opened the oven door and tried to figure out what was in there. “It’s a roast,” Carol said, closing the door.

Bernice opened the door again and sniffed. “My Harold don’t eat roast beef. I can’t see in there. This oven have a light in it?” She started pushing buttons to find a light while Carol put some final touches on side dishes. A guest came in and suggested that Carol hurry out to the living room because one of the children was urinating in a planter. “Oh that’s Spencer,” his mother said, smiling. “He’s just expressing himself.” Somehow, Carol maintained her composure as a gracious hostess, even when a guest reminded Carol that he and his wife never eat anything prepared in a microwave because of the dangers of irradiated food.

“It’s not being irradiated,” Carol said, “just reheated,” and returned to the kitchen. Bernice popped back in and asked if her Harold’s grilled cheese was ready. A loud crash from the living room sounded ominous and Carol rushed in and saw that one of the kids had climbed onto a bookcase, which had fallen down on top of him. He wasn’t injured, but several guests berated Carol for not making her house childproof. No one offered to pick up the books or the bookcase, and Carol hurried back to the kitchen.

A guest came in waving his empty glass, “You’re out of ice cubes.” Carol told him there were plenty of ice cubes in a huge container in the corner, and he helped himself, but didn’t take some cubes out to the living room for others. A woman wandered in and wondered if Carol had any computer games that would keep the children occupied, because they were bored. Carol said no, and the woman said, “Well, you’ll have to find something for them to do.”

“Excuse me, but my Harold’s grilled cheese? Where is it?”

Moments later in the living room Carol said, with a slight edge to her voice, that dinner would be a little delayed because someone had inadvertently turned off the oven while looking for the oven light.  The hors d’oeuvres were gone by then but no one seemed to mind that dinner would be a little late, except for Bernice, who was outraged that her Harold’s grilled cheese was still pending. The woman who had brought her four-year old, abruptly bundled him up and said they were leaving. She had a large bulky package with her, and said goodbye rather quickly.

About ten minutes later Carol, looking distraught, came into the living room, and explained that dinner would be a little changed because the woman who had just left, the one with the large package, had taken the roast beef with her. Bernice wanted to know how this would affect her Harold’s grilled cheese, the children were demanding cookies and computer games, and Spencer had to express himself again.

Carol said dinner would be served soon: Green beans almondine with wilted spinach and garlic, baby red tomatoes with goat cheese, zucchini with porcini mushrooms and balsamic vinegar. And, she gave me a quick glance, grilled cheddar panini. I joined her in the kitchen and handed her the processed cheese slices and slices of white bread, along with a double martini–hold the vermouth–and a reminder that mass murder would be quite unseemly and most likely illegal.