This little martini glass is gracing the counter of the Bella Vista in Providence, which last night was the scene of a book signing for Ruth Rogers, author of Italian Easy: Recipes from the London River Cafe .
Corb wouldn't eat any of the food samples being offered from the cookbook. He kept staring at the waiters as they mingled through the crowds, and at the assembled guests picking over the food being brought out on silver trays. They would sort through pieces of wild mushroom risotto or lemon almond cake, touching here, touching there, until they found just the right item with which to stuff their face.
"No thanks," said Corb.
Did I worry about things like that? Of course not! Bring on the food! Between that and my trusty cosmo, I was feeling quite content in short order, as I stood in the back by the bar, with Corb by my side, listening to the invited guest drone on about her culinary adventures for half an hour.
In fact, the liquor made me so bold as to introduce Corb as my partner to a few of the guests assembled, which was a first for me, in a crowd with no name. Of course, I picked the right people. I was in pretty safe quarters, as the signing was being held as a fundraiser for a local charity that I participate in.
One person I chose to introduce Corb to was my friend Lorraine, an attorney/mediator with a warm smile and wicked sense of adventure. I knew that she'd be fine.
Later that night, Corb and I were walking through Providence, and an Explorer pulls up to us. It's Lorraine, her husband, and her sister. "Want to go out for dinner?" she asked. They were heading for Bugaboo Creek, because her husband needed meat and potatoes after all that fancy Tuscan cooking.
We talked about the cookbook signing. Lorraine's husband, whose father had been a butcher, agreed with Corb about all that food touching. "People touching food, sneezing all over the place," he grumbled. "You wouldn't catch me placing that stuff in my mouth!" He said this was the same reason he wouldn't eat at Fire and Ice, a place that I know Corb has a particular fondness for. Corb was good enough to keep quiet on that point.
We talked shop, we exchanged stories, we talked about my book and the play. Her sister's an artist, and I had a good feeling about her. I made plans to send a few chapters of Amelia to Lorraine. Who knows what could happen? But that's my next focus, now that the play's over.
On the drive home, I started to feel carsick in a big way. But I smiled bravely and kept on trading small talk with the sister. Suddenly, I realized that they weren't anywhere near the Providence mall, where we had left our car.
"Where are we going?" I asked.
"We're dropping Lorraine off in Cranston first," said her sister.
Somehow I managed to endure the half hour detour, even though my stomach was totally off. After we were dropped of, I sat in my car for fifteen minutes, trying to recompose myself.
"That was a nice dinner," said Corb. "They were fun. I liked that part of the night better than the Tuscan cooking."
They were fun. It was nice, just being myself.