“God, I hope they don’t play another James Taylor song,” she said.
I was sitting outside at the Village Bistro (my dining room, basically) enjoying a spinach salad, a glass of fruity Pinot Grigio, and the sounds of the acoustic trio on the patio when I overheard these words from my table neighbor. I was disappointed since I dig his music so much. It was a nice piece mixed between a Nickleback tune and a Dave Matthews classic.
Her date said, “You don’t like James Taylor?” I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, but I could help but lean a little to catch her response. “I used to” she said, “but ever since I found out he supports Obama I decided I don’t anymore.” At first I just shook my head, in my head. Then I thought about it…then I started shifting in my seat…then my breathing got a little deeper…and the voice in my head said, “DON’T YOU DO IT.” I couldn’t help myself. There are times when my tolerance and appreciation can only go so far, for crying out loud. James Taylor is at stake here!!!
Yes, sarcasm can slither its way into my conversations now and then, and with the wine and the tough day and need to express, I went for the jugular.
I called my waiter over and asked if he would make arrangements for me to pay their bill. He smiled and said, “Sean, what’s up with that?” I just asked him to go with me and bring me their bill when it was time to wrap it up. He obliged.
Ten minutes or so later they were ready to leave. They sat only 3 or 4 feet from me. Jason pointed to me from their table and said, “The gentleman here would like to pay your tab.” I raised my glass. “Huh?” the woman said. Jason repeated the offer.
Her date politely invited me to join them. They denied the offer for me to pay the tab, but did suggest we share a drink. The woman asked why I made the offer. I said, “Well its not as nice a gesture as it is a charity case.” They both looked confused; understandably. I continued. “You see, I overheard you talking about how you really didn’t like James Taylor music anymore because he supported President Obama. Frankly, I was so shocked to hear of that level of ignorance (pardon my candor) and just felt like I should contribute because I kind of feel sorry for you.”
Her man immediately burst into laughter. No chivalry here, he was cracking up. She curled in her bottom lip in preparation for what was sure to be a verbal left hook. One I deserved. Instead, she began to laugh too. She lowered her head and raised it back up along with her Corona with lime and said, “Touché.”
We sat and talked about our President (although she says he isn’t “hers”) and about the general state of things. I expressed my views and my support of him – although I disagree with much of his policy right now – and, more importantly how James Taylor’s music has stood and will stand like a rock through presidencies past and those yet to come. On that, we found common ground. We laughed more than we argued. We found we had more in common than difference. We moved on to more delightful topics like our kids and the new wine list. We became friends.
I excused myself and walked up to the band with a request. “Will you guys play Shower the People?” The vocalist said, “Here is another from Carolina’s own, JT. This goes out to the fine couple right over there.” I raised my glass. When it was time for the chorus, the whole place sang together. My new friend, while wildly off key, was the loudest in the bunch.