The latest installment of the Real Life Survival Guide took place at Caseus Fromagerie Bistro in New Haven where the conversation was like fine, aged Roquefort. The gourmet assortment of guests paired well with each other and brought unparalleled flavor to such topics as gardening, dating, money management, computer hacks and cleanliness. The discussion was sharp, bold and rich, never bitter, acidic or dull. But like a cold, hard, brick of Velveeta here I come to sully the cheese tray and wrap it all up. So grab your crackers and open up your finest box wine, it’s time for the breakdown.
The first course was the spicy question; Will Don Draper from AMC’s hit show, Mad Men, cheat on his new wife? Duo rightly pegged Don’s extreme self loathing as the indicator of his future behavior and Liz Larkin felt that this is the biggest question of the whole season. So,Will Don Cheat on his new, French Canadian wife, Meagan? Does a Gibson have Vodka and a pearl onion in it? Is Lucky Strike tobacco toasted? Should Christina Hendricks be considered a natural wonder of the world? To all these questions, I answer a resounding, Oui.
From a fictional, drunken, lothario, the chat turned to real life romantic relationships. The question was; how can someone be really clear about the kind of person they are looking for? Janice Christopher felt that people too often just wing it when choosing a mate and don’t think hard enough about what they really want. Bruce felt that you should try to know who you are before deciding what you want and both Janice and Bruce agreed that personal authenticity was the key to finding a mate. Jason Sobocinski, the proprietor of Caseus, believes that dating has become over thought and that on-line dating is destroying excitement, reducing chemistry and taking away the fun of meeting someone new. How do you decide if the person you just met is right for you? Do what I did. I call it stress testing. Trap your significant other in an elevator, hike the Grand Canyon without water and tell them you’re going on a beach vacation but then make them drive through the jungle so you can see Mayan ruins instead. If after these, and many other torments, they still want to marry you and you still want to marry them, you might just be perfect for each other.
The next serving was a healthy helping of fresh herbs and vegetables. The group talked about growing food on your own. Janice proffered that technology makes people long to return to the soil and to grow things but Susannah Bailin and Elizabeth Larkin must have missed the calling and steer clear of gardening. Duo finds great joy in picking potatoes, Jason has an herb Garden on the roof of Caseus, and Bruce finds growing vegetables extremely gratifying. I quit farming when my beautiful bacon crop was decimated by pork weevils.
Next up was a little something for the pallet; house cleaning. Who should you clean for? When should you do it? What does it say about you? Who is better at cleaning, men or women? Should you use a leaf blower? How about a tiny leaf blower? If someone made a tiny leaf blower what would it sound like? Yes, that was an actual question.
For the entrée; the question was, what advice should you give to young people about handling money? Duo just wants his kids to get some money and start from there, Jason said, “stay out of debt”, Janice advises researching the range of prices on an object, Elizabeth uses commitment devices to take the money out of her check before she can spend it and Colin Caplan launders his money. I taught my kids the fine art of being a grifter. If you’re driving a Mercedes Benz in New Haven and you “run over” a redheaded kid, don’t worry. Just throw him a few bucks. He’s one of mine and he’s fine.
Lastly, the nerds served up their best computer shortcut dessert. They started with a bowl full of bookmarks and RSS feeds, filled it with Google reader, drizzled Safari over it and topped it off with a heaping of iCloud. With everyone full of knowledge and information they went to go home but The HAL 9000 wouldn’t let them. “HAL open the doors.” said Bruce, HAL spoke in a smooth, soulless monotone, “I’m sorry Bruce, but I can’t let you leave, you’ll have to stay here…forever.” “Noooooo!” Bruce’s cry rang out into deep space. They are still at Caseus, eating an enormous monolith of cheese and solving all of mankind’s problems.