Last Friday night was turning into another typical Friday night.
"What do you want for dinner?" turned into "I don't know, what do you want for dinner?" turned into "How about Mexican?" and devolved into, "I don't feel like Mexican, what do you want for dinner?"
I short circuited this rerun between myself, my wife and my daughter with, "Let's get on the train and head to Santa Monica."
Not that we couldn't have driven there. By 7:30 the rush hour traffic had cleared. But we like to support the public transportation, if for no other reason it gives us a sense of schadenfreud with regards to the privileged classes in Cheviot Hills who fought tooth and nail to stop the Light Rail construction.
The night was uneventful. We didn't want to wait an hour and a half for a table at Oysterette, so we snagged an open booth at The Independence, which I would give one star if I were to take the time to visit Yelp.
The food sucked. And the portions were tiny.
Then we visited Dreams and Creams and dropped more than twenty dollars for three small cups of ice cream. It was damn fine ice cream. But twenty bucks?
On the train coming back to Culver City, my wife and daughter grabbed two seats. I sat directly in front of them. And, seconds before the train departed, a drunken, homeless man, with all his earthly belongings, sat in front of me. He cracked open a plastic bottle of Sprite (yeah, right) and started drinking.
Then, and I knew this was going to happen, he turned his attention in my direction. I don't which was worse, his rummy breath or his 6 month old B.O., which could easily knock a buzzard off a shitwagon.
I made the mistake of cracking a small joke with Mr. SmellyPants and it was On.
You can learn a lot from a stranger in 35 minutes. Turns out he was a Woody Allen fan, a Jeopardy aficionado and a former native of Teaneck, NJ, just a stone's throw from my hometown of Suffern, NY.
All of this delighted my wife, who could not stop laughing at my predicament. While my noxious train mate regaled me with his in depth review of Hannah and Her Sisters, my wife was busy texting...
At one point in the conversation that ricocheted from topic to topic, he actually blurted out a line that I have said many times while sitting in my own living room. When contestants on the show get the wrong answer...
"That Alex Trebeck can be a real douchebag."
I know it's not a pretty picture, but the inordinately expensive ice cream my wife and daughter were enjoying, came shooting out their nose.
The NIMBY people in Cheviot Hills might not agree, but in my mind the entire hilarious exchange was worth the 2.5 billion dollars spent on the Expo Line.
That, and then some.