My sister and her family were here on another whirlwind weekend visit. The occasion was to take high school senior Maddy on a tour of the Claremont Colleges. And while they were here, my brother-in-law visited his mom, my older niece visited friends, and my sister also dropped in on her sister-in-law.
As all of the adults in the group had to put in a full day of work on Friday, they did not arrive at my house until very late that night. They left early the next morning on their various journeys, reconvened here for Saturday night dinner -- and drove back up to Sacramento on Sunday.
But first: we decided to go out for a nice breakfast. My sister and I first thought we'd head down to the Farmers Market and Grove -- but decided that would take too long. "I'd really like to have some deli," my sister said wistfully. Northern California is foodie country, and where she lives she has easy access to wineries, charcuteries and fabulous restaurants -- but for some reason, it's hard to find a good Jewish deli up there. And we happen to have a great one here in Northridge: Brent's.
Brent's gets crazy-crowded for Sunday morning breakfast -- so Gareth and I decided to go separately and grab a table while Linda and Mark finished packing up their things. As we arrived, I realized I was wearing one of the many Rachel Maddow t-shirts I wear when I'm just hanging around the house. I briefly wondered if maybe I should have changed -- but what the hell, it was too late to worry about that.
The hostess at Brent's was helping other customers. There was an older man standing at the hostess desk, who took one look at me and spat out, "Rachel Maddow? You WATCH that?"
I glanced at my husband, who is British and doesn't like it when I get all loud and American and really doesn't like any unpleasant confrontations deriving from unpopular political stances.
"Yes," I said. "She's smart."
"She's a liberal," he snarled in the way Wally George used to make it sound like a bad word. "And she's a lesbian."
My husband may have said something like "now, now." Or I could just be imagining it. Frankly, I was trying to figure out what this man thought was worse -- being gay or being liberal?
The hostess looked up at us and continued with whatever it was she was doing. I was hoping she would hurry up and seat us.
"She's a liberal lesbian," the man said again.
"So what?" I answered. I'm pretty sure now my husband just wanted to get us out of there - but most of all, for me to shut up.
"Party of two?" the hostess asked.
"Four," my husband said.
The old man was still agitated. "She's a LIBERAL!" he repeated. "A liberal LESBIAN."
"I'm proud to be a liberal," I said.
"Are you all here?" the hostess asked.
"Let me know when the rest of your party gets here."
The man seemed ready to go off on me some more for my offensive comments (you know - that I'm a liberal and that I think Rachel Maddow is smart and admire her so much that I wear a t-shirt advertising her program). "Let's sit outside," I suggested to my husband.
He followed me out - but not before making a gesture to defend my honor. He called the old man an asshole.
Normally, I would not approve of calling a senior citizen names -- and neither would he. But this time: I heartily approved.