I loved the sunsets in NYC.
The neon lights flickered on as the sky grew darker.
In La Jolla, the sky flickers on as the trees grow darker.
When someone asks me the dreaded question: “Who are the three people you would like to invite most to dinner?” it is a no-win situation.
I feel like an uneducated, narcissistic jerk if I don’t answer: Gandhi, Einstein, or Jesus. You know, people of that ilk.
This question, when asked, is intended to reveal some insight into whoever I am. Then, the questioning person can categorize me. Qualify me. But the problem with asking me this question, is that my opinions change wildly from second to second.
But today, at this very moment, I’d like to invite this guy:
Would he growl at me? This guy feels things strongly. I like that quality—passion—in my dinner guest. Also, I think he is from Baltimore; I bet he is polite. He might even send me a thank you card afterwards.
Who else would I invite? Two more spots at my hypothetical dinner table… .
Gosh, what pressure. Maybe my contractor? He and his wife are expecting the first baby. I like them. I don’t know them very well, so it would be a chance to make new friends. Also, his wife is an accountant. She, I think, has a fascinating job. Accountants are intimately involved with all kinds of people. She has some good dinnertime stories to share.
Who else? Michelle Obama? But, so much secret service. Would I have to feed all those people, too? Could I ask them to take off their shoes?
And, hypothetically, are we allowed to invite dead people? For example, Kate Sessions or Emily Dickinson? Emily Dickinson probably wouldn’t come anyway. You know her whole “shut-in thing.” I could serve her food on a dumb waiter and we could pass notes, while I sit outside her home. Her notes would be beautifully written. Mine—not so much.
There are so many people I want to invite that I never get to see. I am always rushing to get to dinner onto our table so I can talk with my kids or my husband or my parents (when they give up going to bed early and stay for dinner.) Not to mention, whoever is visiting us, also sits at our table.
By living in San Diego, we have a bevy of out-of-town guests. When he hosted our friend Adam (he was in San Diego attending a conference) we learned that his ex-girlfriend was dating someone else. My daughters were horrified. Who would do that to Adam? Is Adam’s heart broken? They asked me later.
But if I really was truthful about whom I would I like to invite to dinner tonight, my answer is: a chef. Any chef. A healthy chef!
My life could be a TV show on the food network called: “It’s 5:45pm at Dina’s house. No one is yelling or rushing. It’s all goooooooooooood. We’re eating Thyme-infused endives. Playing Uno. Again, it’s all goooooooooooood.”
Alice Waters, you game? My fridge is packed with all the ingredients you could ask for. I simply lack the organizational skills to prep ingredients, talent to actually execute recipes, and ability to manage time.
But this question makes me ask myself: do I have an unspoken list about what I look for in a dinner guest? I suppose I do. Passion. Humor. And the ability to unwind.
Ghandi has all three qualities. I don’t think pestering him with questions about civil wars would be relaxing for us. Or inquiring about how he would deal with Isis?
Is there a burning question from me to ask Jesus? I would be too gobsmacked to talk. I mean, he is the son of G-d. Or is he? I can’t ask that question.
So, I like to invite people that, you know, can handle when my youngest daughter yells from the bathroom: “I am done pooping!” which is code for “it is time to wipe me!” Jesus would be okay with that. He was born in a stable after all.
Einstein was likely Aspergers. Could he handle my spontaneous breast-feeding of my infant son at the table? Or, would he be overwhelmed by my dog’s incessant and peculiar trait of licking of our toes? How about our singing along to Katy Perry’s Roar at the top of our lungs?
I guess all three guests could participate our family’s nightly ritual of answering: “what did you like about your day and what did you not like about your day?” That could be cool. I’d like to hear their answers for that.
p.s. I already changed my mind. Now, I want to invite my husband’s deceased grandfather. He seemed hilarious—speaking with a faux British accent, running for town mayor, all while wearing wildly patterned, silk shirts.
Grandpa Bob is fabulously talented with the gift of gab! Perfect! He, values above all, impeccable grammar and perfect penmanship.
He can ask Jesus, Ghandi, Michelle Obama, Einstein, Kate Session, Emily Dickenson, Alice Waters and the singer from Future Islands really good questions. And, he can ride the waves of our loud and unpredictable family. He is the perfect dinner table moderator.
Oh, this is going to be an interesting evening! Now, I am excited.
“People are always saying you should be yourself, like yourself is this definite thing, like a toaster. Like you know what it is even.’” — Angela Chase (Claire Danes’s character) from My So Called Life
I have magical breast milk.
Being the sole proprietor of Le Mammary Mythique has its price. I am committed to udder secrecy; however, today, I rip the tape from my mouth! My nipples are silent, no more!
So, here’s how it went down.
One average Tuesday afternoon, when my breast milk was just sitting around on the counter looking ordinary, forgotten, and partially separated, I heard a sultry man’s voice with an Italian accent: “Bella?”
I was measuring flour. “Yes?” My name is not Bella for the record. But you know Italian men.
“Don’t worry that you forgot to buy white radishes for your recipe. The bambino sleeps. You are tired. Use me instead.”
“What’s your name?”
Just like that. Manna from the heavens. I listened and poured my breast milk into the metal bowl. My homemade vegetable ravioli was saved.
Weird, you say, because who has ever heard of an Italian man named Terrance? Or weird, that I make my own ravioli?
My breast milk, for you naysayers:
And let’s say, you had:
Adult acne? Create a wonderful, antibacterial breast milk face mask. Skin clear and free of zits in less than 10 hours.
Filmy car windows? Magical Breast milk cuts through dirt.
Ebola? Breast milk is the only known cure. Pharma companies don’t want you to know.
Need paint primer? BM
Can’t remember your neighbor’s name and don’t want to steal his mail? Drink cold pressed breast milk with cayenne pepper and you will remember his name is Allen; wife’s name is Jennifer.
His prosthetic arm? My boobs knew you were going to ask that next. He fought a bear in the Army. See? Breast milk is your jam.
It’s a big conspiracy. Insurance Companies. Home Depot. Amazon. Google. Congress. They don’t want you to know about the powers of my breast milk. If this information were to leak out (literally), who knows what chaos would ensue.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you see it, I detest the breast pump.
Here’s a letter to my breast pump named, Nelson Medela:
Dear Nelson, My Medela Style Pump and Go,
I hope this note finds you well. You’ve been a loyal friend. I’ve admired for many months now, your easy-on-the-eyes design. Your motor is also quiet. I appreciate these qualities of yours.
But, I am over you. Hang yourself by using your own tubing.
Dina Koutas Poch
Unless I pumped non-stop day and night (which would look like a scary illustration from a Dr. Seuss book entitled “The Breast Battle Book”), I just can’t make enough milk for all the world’s woes, whilst fending off evil companies conspiring to steal it and expending 800 calories a day.
Selfishly, my tatas’ tonic juice is for my baby. I know, so boring, so bourgeoisie of me to keep my magical breast milk to myself. Like a hoarder with a hundred chap sticks in my nightstand. IT’S ALL FOR ME! NONE FOR YOU!
Hey, it’s a lot of work. Making magical breast milk is exhausting. Sometimes, it’s a herculean effort for me just to shower every day. Like, Frodo, I feel forced to carry the ring, alone.
I will wean soon to become like regular folk. You know, regular Joe’s working a regular job, eating regular food in front of their regular TV’s. Because, right now, I am staying up all hours of the night nursing and designing systems of secret undersea turbines, set in geo vats to farm thousands of gallons of breast milk — as an idea to unite La La Leche to a clean energy solution?
I know, great idea, huh? It wasn’t mine.