an Online Journal of Sorts

By Alyce Wilson

February 15, 2005 - Dali In Your Pocket

Dali self-portrait (Click to enlarge)

Although we could have slept in Sunday morning, we got up fairly early. We cooked breakfast at home instead of doing the diner, like we had the day before. Another leisurely morning, as I listed more books, before we both got ready to go see the Salvador Dali show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

I wore the black tank top sweater and black skirt from New Year's, along with a wrap that was black with designs in deep turquoise velvet, held together with a faux diamond brooch.

The Gryphon wore his new silky charcoal shirt, black pants and his dress shoes. He looked sharp.

The show itself was fantastic. I'd never seen so many Dali paintings in one place, and I enjoyed learning about the symbology of his paintings and how he progressed as a painting throughout his life. We gained a lot of terrific information, primarily through the audio tour.

However, the exhibit was packed, and it was hard to get up close to the paintings to really see all the intricate details. You could eventually get up to them, but then you felt pressured to move along quickly to let others see. I was surprised how many people had children there, though, given the explicit nature of some of the works.

I found it interesting to learn about Dali's philosophy of painting. He dealt with his fears and insecurities, manifested in his dreams, by painting them and then figuring out what they meant. Recurring symbols like keys (sexuality), insects (decay), and lions (his father) manifested like his own personal dream dictionary.

Some might think that a retrospective of Dali's work was not the most romantic way to celebrate Valentine's Day, but we got a lot of conversation out of it and truly enjoyed ourselves (the crowds excepted).

We had reservations afterwards at a restaurant in Chinatown, Joy Tsin Lau. The Gryphon had gone there once before for a group dinner to celebrate Chinese New Year. The restaurant was very ornate and had New Year's decorations up, but there were some strange aspects of it.

For one thing, they seated all the non-Asian people in the front and the Asians in the back. I'm not sure why. It could be they had a very good reason: the Asian diners might have been large groups who were together and were naturally seated further back where larger tables were available. Or perhaps some of their wait staff is better at English, so they tend to seat people in their sections who are likely to order exclusively in English.

We were seated next to some older women who were talking loudly about a daughter (or granddaughter) who had been dating a guy for several years and who hadn't been asked yet to marry him. They were going to advise her to drop him and find someone who would marry her! But she was only 26 years old; there's plenty of time for marriage still. I had to bite my tongue from telling her this.

I wasn't sure what to order, so I got a dish with crab meat, mushrooms and broccoli, figuring that with two vegetables, it would be pretty healthy. But I didn't anticipate it would be cooked in a clear sauce which has a very odd consistency. I wasn't sure what to make of it at first, but it was tasty and the broccoli was cooked to perfection.

The Gryphon ordered a beef dish. We each ate about half of our meals and had the rest boxed up.

We'd wanted to make a night of it, which was why we'd taken a cab into the city instead of driving. We decided to get dessert and drinks at a place called the Continental, sort of a space age eatery/bar. They seated us at a corner booth, so we sat next to each other. Our waiter, whose name was Henry had blue gelled hair.

I ordered an espresso martini and a chocolate confection, and The Gryphon got a Love Stout, which is a chocolate stout, along with a banana wonton dessert. We took tastes of each others' treats.

I was in high spirits, teasing The Gryphon that he had a Dali in his pocket, because the museum ticket was poking up. I turned it so you could see Dali's face, peering over the pocket edge.

After the espresso martini, I ordered a Hawaii 5-0, which was a pineapple drink. The waiter told me that he'd choose the third drink for me. I took him up on that. It was another fruity drink, a Squirt. Quite yummy. For a final drink, I was going to have a white chocolate martini, but Henry said that wouldn't be good because of the others I'd had. He suggested something called a Wink instead, which was another light, fruity drink.

I was feeling a little self-conscious at first, thinking the waiter was implying I'd had too much to drink. It was a lot, I'm aware, but I drink this much only about once a month or every two months, generally on a special occasion. More often, the most I have is one or two drinks an entire week. But The Gryphon assured me that the waiter was probably just concerned that the flavors wouldn't work well together, after having had two fruity drinks in a row.

We were seated next to a couple who seemed to be getting to know each other. She had ordered a dish that was fried and huge. I think it was fish and chips. She wasn't touching it at all. Next to the plate was one of the fruity mixed drinks, which she also wasn't touching. But they were having a great time, talking a lot about music and their families and such (it was hard to hear over the sound system, which played a lot of '80s favorites). They actually outstayed us, which was surprising, because when we left there was almost no one else left in our section.

The Gryphon finished up with coffee, and then we got a cab home, holding hands the whole way and gazing into each other's eyes as if we'd just met.

More from Valentine's weekend:

February 14, 2005 - Love Times Two


Even Dali can be romantic.

Copyright 2005 by Alyce Wilson

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