Seeking to bolster the illusion that we are social sophisticates, Judy and I ventured out last week to a community-theater rendition of Mister Roberts. Before we took our seats, we bought the obligatory little plastic cups of wine. The wine came with plastic lids and tiny straws, since open containers are banned from the seating area. And for good reason, it turns out.
The highlight of the evening should have been the actor playing Capt. Morton and channeling James Cagny with all his heart and soul, and pretty effectively at that. But the good Captain was upstaged before the curtain even went up. By the guy sitting in front of us.
He was regaling the lady next to him with photos of his recent trip to an exotic location he had long dreamed of seeing: eastern Maine.
Lenny - that's what the lady called him - apparently started his visit in Portland, because that was his first photo. "This is a guy posing in front of the Portland Light," he reported. Who was the guy? "I don't know, but I thought he looked pretty good posing like that." Judy stifled a giggle, but poorly.
"Here's one of me and Lucille-somebody." The photo showed Lenny and a large, ornate granite tombstone. The lady emitted a tiny gasp. Lenny moved on quickly.
With Lenny, it's not just all about the strangers, because he also shot lots of pix of a comely young woman holding up a big lobster. "I don't know who she was, either - I was looking at the big lobster." That was when Judy snorted wine out her nose.
Luckily Judy was drinking pinot grigio and the lid stayed on the plastic cup, so clean-up was easy. I covered for her deftly by exclaiming, "Gesundtheit!"
After a time, the travelogue resumed.
"Here's a picture of me standing on the 49th parallel, exactly halfway to the North Pole." The didact in me ached to correct him - assuming he started counting his parallels at the Equator - but he was so pleased to have been to that magical location, I remained silent. Actually, Judy and I have been there too, and we remain very proud of that.
"Next is a picture of Canada. Over that water, there. This was taken from Lubbock." For the record, Lubbock is in Texas. Lubec is in Maine, and the locals say it "Loo-BECK." You can't see any of Canada from Lubbock. Luckily, Lenny didn't visit Pennamaquan or Mattawamkeag, but then you can't see Canada from either of those towns.
Lenny finished up just before the curtain rose, with a dramatic shot of a brightly lighted L.L. Bean store in Freeport. It was surrounded by profound darkness. "I took this at 3 in the morning to show that it really is open all night." Judy excused herself and stepped out to powder her nose.
The play was very good, too.