Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Surprise!

Last Friday I pulled a good one! I absolutely love surprises. Love them! On other people. I am no fan of being surprised (and thus, rarely am). In fact, I usually read the end of a book first just to make sure I'm going to like the ending (sacrilege to my literature professors) and because I don't want any unpleasant surprises ruining things. But for other people, I love them! I have been trying to surprise WH for years, but never seem to be able to do it. For his birthday and Christmas he asks, very specifically, for things that he wants which I dutifully purchase for him. So he's been sadly surprise-deprived lo these many years. Until last week . . .

A colleague at work had forwarded along an email that Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert were going to be doing a talk at the Warner Theater, and knowing WH's love for Tony, in particular, I promptly purchased tickets. I waffled a bit when it came to choosing the ticket level, because for a mere $100 more, we could attend a "meet and greet reception" with Bourdain and Ripert. I opted not to purchase this option, as we were saving for vacation. I told WH to reserve the date, but nothing else. For a month he's been fuming over what we could be doing.

That night we went to Ceiba for dinner, starting with cocktails and appetizers at the bar. WH was about to start twitching.

WH: Who are the other six people?
WT: What do you mean?
WH: When we checked in at the desk, you said, "WashingTina for six."
WT: Six o' clock.
WH: Oh! Okay. Is this an intervention?
WT: Yes. In a bar.
WH: Is Arnold having dinner with us?
WT: Arnold? No.

And on it went. Finally, I had to tell him to just chill out and enjoy himself, otherwise he'd spoil his dinner. After dinner we walked the two blocks to the theater and there it was on the marquis, plain as day. WH's face lit up like a Christmas tree. But he was still unsure of what was going on. "What does that mean? Are they going to be showing the show in the big screen? I just don't understand what it means?" I refused to say. As we were getting our tickets taken, there was some problem so we were sent to Will Call. This is where our luck turned. 

We were given a form that listed our seats and would suffice as a ticket. The ticket taker back at the door looked at the ticket for a minute and then asked what I paid for them. When I told her, she promptly gave us both wristbands for the "VIP meet and greet after the show." Score! We had lucked into the special reception! WH, already having gotten the surprise of his life, didn't realize this wasn't part of the plan. It was my turn to be surprised, which I explained to him. We really enjoyed the talk.  Bourdain and Ripert were a perfect compliment for each other (more on this to come in future blogs). 

 Meanwhile, the "reception" consisted of $7 glasses of wine and a line to wait in for a book signing.  I was sure glad I hadn't forked over the extra $100.  As is the way it goes with these things, we were unprepared: no camera. Why would we have needed one? Fortunately, a nice lady in front of us had a camera and a little bartering later, she agreed to take our picture if we'd take one of her (she later emailed it to us).  We got our picture taken and had our book signed.  WH asked Tony if he had any tips for our upcoming trip to Prague.  "Pork," he said, "eat lots of pork."  And with that it was over.  We were on our way. 

As we left the theater that night, I reflected on how great it felt to do something so unexpected for WH.  And maybe, just maybe the universe provided the extra treat of meeting two of our food heroes to prove to me that I really do like surprises after all . . . for myself.

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