The desire for a treat steals upon me, wickedly, in every dutiful day. A day of rehearsing, some practicing, and of course strike-related walking, left me vulnerable in the final minutes of my favorite show, House. Though I had eaten wisely, with perhaps an excess of conscious prudence, the grocery downstairs beckoned; my stockinged feet were shod, a jacket donned, and I was out the gloomy entrance of my building in a flash.
Newly expanded, Barzini's is even more of a pleasure dome. Its single automated door is now cruelly, Satanically stationed before a barrage of cheese; though I had intended to pass by, it was as though I were suspended, held, in the very idea of cream. My meals of the day, I realized, had been so fat-free as to leave me morally ill-equipped for a night in the Valley of Temptation. My eyes even lingered on the pates, for a moment of aspic desire. No no! And I would have made it, too! except just as I turned the corner, the dust of other customers' impatience kicking beneath my heels, a hidden bank of Shropshire Blue met some inner feast of my imagination in a field of joy, and I snapped up cheese and crackers without a further qualm. On to the ice cream freezer, my original target. Cunningly some organic English Ale (perhaps the perfect mate for my Shropshire Blue?) caught my eye on the way and it too was gathered up into the folds of my now burgeoning winter coat, and then just as I rounded the home stretch and approached the cash register and opened the door to the adjoining freezer, just as I felt the first frost on my bare fingers, twitching to choose a flavor, I heard a horrible sound. The very symbol of perversion and guilt. The Dominican girl with dyed blonde, curly, greasy hair at the register began to dance along to the rockin' beat. She understood it better than I! As my hand further froze, and my eyes tried to distinguish Homemade Ice Cream Ben & Jerry's from Frozen Yogurt Ben & Jerry's through the now-misting glass (through a looking-glass, darkly), I realized it--the horrible sound--was a ringtone, and Beethoven's four fateful notes had filtered through two centuries only to be slapped together with this horrendous rhythm section, to indicate and signify nothing except to the owner of Barzini's that someone, anyone had called. I marvelled briefly at Beethoven's universality, and then fell morose at the sheer horrible cooption of it all, the way in which anything can become anything. Hadn't I just yesterday taken a little cheap shot at the Fifth Symphony, here on the blog? And here it was coming back to haunt me, perhaps--even?--to dissuade my gluttony. But I paid it no mind; I chose my flavor, paid my tab, and shunted back out past the cheese to the cold lanes of Broadway.
And let that be the lesson. At two in the morning, when the combined forces of cheese, ale, and ice cream awakened me unpleasantly, I was confronted both with the discomfort of my stomach and another mysterious sonic sensation, emanating from a screen at the other side of the room which I did not quite yet understand. The screen said: "Mulder, be careful." Believe your omens.