“Raphael, oh Raphael, oh, untimely death, oh unjust persecution of the nouveau artiste, appealing in its melancholy, aged testament to the woebegone swan aflutter, gliding past what was once cobalt blue, a regally shining Egyptian pyramid luster painted on the golden plain, no moss, no jungle, no karmic vines cloistering, and obstructing and obfuscating light now lost within the smokescreen of denial, such denial, for so long now, too long to tell the substance from the smoke and the shadow from the self vestiges only of gladiator champions once upon a time we can no longer now recall astride the colosseum field where now a sorry semblance of knaves make their way down to the river Styx to gather discarded feathers for haphazard pillows on which might be dreamt alabaster dreams of those even bluer and towering in having reached their pinnacles, so that all who might wear the toga and wreath succumb to the inevitable dissolution and dust and eventually naught but smoke on the water and not even then does anyone remember what a great concert that was as the yogi sits on contentedly while eons rush by and the internet becomes a burgeoning burden of malfeasance and malapropism letting even the cost of incense skyrocket and she wants to come down and he wants her to come down and they want to be together in the deep blue sea and survey the skyborne free seagull champion of the air of the blue cobalt air incognizant of any man-made temples arches or yurts even the yoga mat will slide from sustenance in our tableau and tapestry of temporal space and time for we are here Lafayette pin my feather to the heavens.”
Clearly, my dinner companion had gone mad. Prior to opening that particular website on his phone, he’d been charmingly cogent. But now? The waitress, a comely brunette named Katie appeared. I feared for her sensibilities to be suddenly, shockingly offended by what Sir McElroy might say. Yes, a sir, a knight of the realm, in all its archaic absurdity, for which, nevertheless, the lack of the same offer to myself had been deeply offensive.
Katie was predictably, formulaically pleasant. Such becomes the habitual requirements of customer service. I could tell by her expression she was already home from her shift, drinking wine, reading her novel, while the Katie before us fulfilled the functions that financed those comforts.
“Can I get the two of you something to drink to start?”
Sir McElroy responded to her polite greeting thusly;
“Oh, dear Katie, can you believe that I have been knighted by her majesty and yet still must work at Wal-Mart as a greeter for minimum wage with no benefits?”
“Oh, that’s terrible, sir, so sorry to hear that,” she came back without missing a beat. Sir McElroy came back on cue as well.
“I have a co-worker from India, claims to be a God-intoxicated yogi, experiencing bliss in every breath as he says, “can I see your receipt? Have a nice day and thank you for shopping at Wal Mart. “
Katie at home drinking wine and reading her novel suddenly showed up at the waitress shift, intrigued.
“Maybe he’s actually a multi-millionaire,” she asks, “after all, what might be the difference between being a multi-millionaire and a God-intoxicated yogi, really?”
Now Sir McElroy was intrigued. Not to mention myself by the way things were going even as I salivated over the burgers delivered to the next table.
“Are you a student of philosophy Katie?’ he asked.
“Graduated with honors two years ago, did my dissertation on Kierkegaard. Now I get to work a double shift. So, fascinating as this is, I better take your order and move on.”
Sir McElroy smiled more broadly than I had ever seen anyone smile, I suspected he might have become God-intoxicated himself in that moment as he said,
“I would like a villa in the Italian countryside built between Roman arches with a meditation room that never runs out of incense, where we may watch the swans and discuss philosophy, champions of all the universes. But for now, I’ll take a diet Coke.”