Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Little Men on the Wall Are Always Right

I hate being quizzed. I hate being made to guess at something by some person nearby who knows the answer already and who's smirking and twirling on one foot while waiting for me to come out with the magic words.
    This happened to me recently, in my lifetime. I was at a restaurant that thought it was Greek or Italian or Greco-Roman or something, and like many such places, it had some funny and yucky "decadent" ancient Roman-style schlock on the walls, as "decor." Good for scaring the little ones, I've always thought. Lots of eyeless masks making capital-T Tragic faces, hanging here and there, and lots of plaster or plastic bunches of grapes. Very cute, in their way. Makes you not want to eat the table cloth so much.
    But the centerpiece of this horror extravaganza was a mishmash mandala of relief figures on the wall you see as soon as you enter the place. There are smallish nude male figures, about to throw the discus or something, and a massive, barfy mask of a bearded man who appears to be screaming. There are plaster worms coming out of his mouth, coiling up around his beard and intertwining with the disproportionately tiny man bodies. The little men don't care about the giant worms, of course. Too busy doing track and field events. I guess the mask is supposed to be the face of one of their displeased gods. It really tends to erode the appetite, this centerpiece.
    And not only that, but also the waiter gleefully tried to goad me into guessing what other picture was hidden in the thing.
    "Turn your head and look at it sideways, and see what you can see," he said. So I turned my head, and I looked and looked, and it still looked like ugly plaster mush, and I turned my head another way, and also saw this restaurant refuse [that's the noun REF-use, not the verb], only sideways. Maybe the giant tragedy mouth looked a touch more obscene this way, but not enough to say it was a hidden picture. Was this some kind of sex thing? The way Waiter Guy was acting, I should have either gotten a big chuckle or been deeply offended by whatever I was supposed to see.
    These games irritate me, especially when the person keeps telling me I'm doing it wrong even though I'm following all their instructions exactly. I wanted to whack this guy in the head-- only very gently, of course-- but you can't do that. It just isn't done. We weren't even friends, and I only whack people I'm close to.
    Anyway, I just kept seeing the same ugly face, the same athletic little Olympians, and the same feeble, pudgy worm-snakes. So what did I do? I left. No, wait-- before I did that, I just lied to the guy.
    "Oh, yeeeeeeeeeaaahhhh...," I said, as if making a great discovery. Like it was the dawning of a new era in seeing things on restaurant walls, things that had always been hidden before.
    "Uh-huh," said Waiter Guy, with a bigger, more annoying smirk than before.
    Wow, I thought. I just made his night.
    So then I left, feeling dirty, as usual. I hate how agreeable I am with people. I could really have some awesome disagreements, maybe even some fistfights, if I just had the heart to be contrary in situations where it doesn't matter one bit. Other people seem to do this really well, making a big deal out of trifles and causing bad feelings needlessly.
    OK, that'll be my New Years resolution. Disagree more for no reason other than just to be right. I'll get working on it right away.
    Maybe.