Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


What I'm going to do today. Teach a class I'm not totally prepped for, but will no doubt improvise my way through with my usual aplomb. See my shrink, and probably wind up talking about my social anxiety and why it means I'll be alone forever. Go back to L.A. and stop in at the perfect Greek deli, where I'll acquire frozen pita, tzatziki (which is a yogurt/garlic/dill sauce) and taramasalata (which is a caviar spread.) I will go home, nap, maybe read a little. I will then prepare dinner--I will marinate chicken breasts in a Southwestern dry rub with brown sugar and fiery spices. I will bake said chicken breasts, avoiding over-baking them so that there's still that tender, savory quality to them. I will then slice them into thin, not-quite-fajita-sized strips (and chunks). I will put the pita in the oven and toast it ever so slightly--just enough crunch, not too much. I will then place the sliced, spicy/sweet chicken in said pita, then slather it with the tzatziki, creating a taste sensation that surely must approach that of the ambrosia of Olympus. I will open a bottle of cheap red wine, and with laden plate in hand, I will go upstairs and watch something--not a romantic comedy, I don't need that s*** today--on DVD--maybe Eddie Izzard. I'll watch House, which I love. I'll eat this wonderful food (which is suprisingly not horribly bad for me), and drink the...well, palatable wine, and be alone, and enjoy it. I will, in short, forget what today is, and what it meant a year ago, and what it means now. And for some reason, I will be thinking, as I have all day, of another of my favorite poems:

Why so Pale and Wan?
Sir John Suckling

WHY so pale and wan, fond lover?
Prithee, why so pale?
Will, when looking well can't move her,
Looking ill prevail?
Prithee, why so pale?

Why so dull and mute, young sinner?
Prithee, why so mute?
Will, when speaking well can't win her,
Saying nothing do 't?
Prithee, why so mute?

Quit, quit for shame! This will not move;
This cannot take her.
If of herself she will not love,
Nothing can make her:
The devil take her!

Love that. A perfect antidote to the waves of bathos that threaten all sane people this day, yes?


Blogger La Lecturess said...

I actually overheard a student--a MALE student--in one of my classes today talking about how awesome Valentine's Day was and how it was, like, his favorite holiday.

Luckily, his groupmates shouted him down before I had to.

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two-buck Chuck?

3:47 PM  
Blogger Yr. Hmbl. & Obdt. said...

It's all I can afford...

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I adore you, Dryden.

4:18 PM  
Blogger phd me said...

After a bottle of wine and a tasty dinner, even this dreaded holiday pales in its obnoxiousness, I hope. I survived the day without any scars (my only pang came with an email from Sam reminding me to have a nice day. Yes, I'll do that...alone.) And hey, Anonymous adores you, so it's not all bad!

9:50 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

You know, Valentine's Day can be depressing to married people too. I studied hard and thanklessly all day, and Jason had to take a job candidate out to dinner with several other faculty. I gave him a wine corker so he can expand his brewing hobby. How romantic is that? Not very.

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, I've got to call you on this fantasy about baking chicken breasts and toasting pita in the oven.

You've actually figured out how to use that beast in the kitchen that the owner calls an oven? Nevermind that, you've picked up some culinary talents and not shared said talents with your hungry friends?

8:53 AM  
Blogger Yr. Hmbl. & Obdt. said...

Goodness--so many responses; must've struck a nerve, what? It's odd--I think that Valentine's Day is a day most of us view with conscious skepticism and unconscious idealism. Like all holidays that get introduced to us when we're young--Christmas comes to mine--it's something we can grow jaded about as years pass, but when it finally rolls around, somewhere inside all of us, there's an 8-year-old kid with a construction-paper mailbox taped to his desk, hoping that the girl he really likes will be one of the ones who drops one of those playing-card-sized valentines into it. (She never does, of course. Tease.)

Anyway--La L., it's good to hear that the student got shouted down. Frankly, if I'd been there, I'd've suggested a blanket party.

Anonymous #1, I adore you too. Assuming you're who I think you are. Uh-oh, did I just tell a total stranger...nevermind, nevermind, moving on.

Anonymous #2--I hope you're *not* Anonymous #1, because if you are, we've strayed into BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN territory, and I look terrible in chaps.

Abd, I don't know who Sam is (should I read back over your blog to answer this question?), but that does seem a bit...cruelly polite.

Lisa, just be glad you have Jason. Lord knows, I dream about finding someone just like him--whoops, still in BROKEBACK mode. I just wish I knew how to quit him...

10:26 AM  

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