The London Review of Breakfasts

"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." (Francis Bacon)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Breakfast from America: Christie’s Cabaret, Cleveland, Ohio

Christie’s Cabaret
1180 Main Avenue
OH 44113-2325
+1 (216) 574-6222

by T. N. Toost

Gina sat down with us and immediately started talking about her life – how she taught mentally disabled kids, how she had a very smart 11-year-old son, how she picked up a couple of shifts here on the weekends to make ends meet. She made more here, she said, than teaching. I thought she was bluffing about her Masters degree until she started talking about taking her son to Occupy Wall Street because it was a unique opportunity to show him what could be historically important protests – “sort of like the real Tea Party, Hoovervilles, or any of the Marches on Washington over the last fifty years.” To her, all of these protests were about normal people with normal lives who did something extraordinary (“in the real sense of the word”), then went back to their lives, thus truly participating as Americans in the Washington/Cincinnatus mold. OWS was something that she wanted him to experience, and as she talked her leg pressed against mine and I commented on it.

“It’s not rocket science,” she said, leaning in and grinning seductively in the half-light.

Then we talked about the restaurant, and America. Like she said, it wasn’t rocket science. Everything was thoroughly considered and organized for specific reasons, each of which understood and manipulated human nature in order to get generally predictable results. One group, generally the minority, took advantage of and exploited the masses, but the masses only subconsciously felt their exploitation. Indeed, most of the time they thought that they were privileged just to be there. I was surprised; as a woman, then, did she ever feel exploited? Never! Nobody, she explained, could ever be exploited against his or her will. It was people like me who were the dupes, she and her peers were the ones in charge, and we, as dupes, didn’t even realize it. She was part of the ruling class, taking peoples’ money at will, struggling, getting rejected, and, when someone owed her money, an entire phalanx of hulking brutes existed solely to materialize out of the shadows and bully debtors into coughing up cash.

I felt my eyes opening.

I was about to ask her about the Greek debt crisis and whether she thought Perry or Cain had a chance against Romney when our Christie's Omelets came. Beau was talking to an Asian girl, an accountant, and she and Gina got up to powder their noses while we ate. The omelets glistened with grease, looking like monstrous wet burritos. At first bite they were amazing. The thick-cut bacon came in curled-up squares, spilling out of the sides; the vegetables were pliant; it exploded with cheese and the eggs – of course we had to get eggs – were wrapped tightly around the filling, keeping everything hot and moist. The second bite, though, was a little less impressive, the third less still, and after the fourth bite I was starting to wonder if I could eat any more. Five minutes later I pushed the plate away, leaving a good quarter of the omelet on the plate along with a thick layer of orange grease.

Then there were breasts in my face, Gina’s breasts, and they pushed against my forehead, my nose, my chest, my stomach, my legs, leaving a trail of perfume which washing could never expunge. It only lasted a moment, though, and I left unsatisfied. They promised much, but in reality we were the ones being impoverished by a minority just for the privilege of chasing a dream. Feeling slightly nauseous, we paid and walked out; the entire way home, my bowels rumbled, dissatisfied with the omelet and with something less tangible.


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