May 28th, 2008

Why is eating outside such a pleasure? I feel that I can ask this question as if it were a universal fact, in spite of my knowledge of the existence of people such as my very own sister who, when forced to consume a meal outdoors, sits tensely, examining each and every ant that should happen to cross her field of vision. Still, the abundance in the world of outdoor cafes, the popularity of the picnic and, of course, that great American staple, the barbeque, help me to feel justified in classifying her as the minority and asking again why it is so very nice to dine in the open air. Maybe there’s some great primal explanation. Or maybe I can just make one up! Here goes: The need for food being one of our most basic ties to our animal nature, what a great relief it is to the primitive being that still lies in all of us to be able to step outside of the manmade confines born of the technology and philosophy and sociology of recent centuries, and just feed this body. Sounds pretty good to me! Unfortunately, I think that if I decided to try to stay with that to its logical end, I would have to end up by saying that people like my sister, and so, therefore, even specifically my sister, are more evolved than the rest of us. Which makes me see very clearly what a bad theory it is and so leaves me with no explanation for why I look forward every year to our hotel’s barbeques. Every Wednesday evening through the summer months steaks and chickens are grilled poolside. The nights are long and warm here in the Silicon Valley summer and a cocktail and a steak by the pool after a long day’s work is just lovely, for some reason.

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