I'm never one to eavesdrop, of course, but noisy lunch talk cranks up the volume at even the best eateries, and next thing I know, conversation at the next table becomes my main course.
Take the fine fall day that I stopped by the Capital Grille for lobster salad. The Grille's leathery, big-steaks, old-money feel makes it a true nosh spot for power brokers.
Imagine my surprise when two Brooks Brothers at the next banquette ditched the iced teas and demanded very nice scotch and waters.
“Here's to the end of the world, my friend,” said Blue Tie. “My stocks are in the toilet, and my job's not far behind. The bank that'll ‘watch-ova-ya.' They can kiss my ass.”
Red Tie took a long draw from his single malt. “Things could be worse. You could be a mortgage broker or have to sell Bobcats season tickets for a living, or, you could be in Sallie Saxon's Rolodex and your wife doesn't know yet.”
Blue Tie chuckle-snorts. “Life is really going to change for a lot of people.”
Juicy ribeye sandwiches arrive.
“The country clubs will suffer, the good restaurants, and how about all the real estate people who'll have to sell those houses in Piper Glen and Quail Hollow?” Blue Tie says, mouth too full.
“Quail Hollow will be fine. Quail Hollow is always fine. Maybe they'll set up a bankers' refugee camp on DeeDee's big weed lot on Park Road,” Red Tie laughs. “‘Ken's Camp Subprime.'”
“I'm glad you think this is all so funny. I have a wife who shops at Capitol like it's Target,” says Blue Tie.
Red Tie's chewing slowly. “I don't mean to make light of it, but you gotta either laugh or cry… We'll probably skip the Aspen trip at Christmas, and we may even get out of the Kiawah house.”
“You're kidding! The Kiawah house?”
“You know, simplify and be thankful for what you've got. Another drink?”
“Make it a double,” Blue Tie says.
Cami Boudreaux is the nom de plume
of a serial Charlotte luncher.