Teri and Joe, two of our dearest friends, invited us over for dinner tomorrow night. We were asked to bring only ourselves, and — if so inspired — a topic of conversation.
Marta had almost finished remodeling the mid-level bathroom, and so our minds were both stuck in a bit of a rut somewhere between Home and Home Depot. Marta asked me what I thought would make a good topic.
“Parrot green, ” I answered without hesitation.
“Parrot green? What are you talking about?”
I drew my attention away from the Funny Times and looked up. “Uh, you just asked me what would be a good color to pick? Right?”
She rolled her eyes. “I asked what would be a good TO-PIC. To discuss. At Teri and Joe’s.” She spoke loudly and distinctly.
“Oh.” I thought for a moment. “Parrot green would be a fine topic of conversation.”
“I just covered apple-green walls with two layers of Kilz. We’re not going with parrot green.”
“You’re still thinking that yellow-thing.”
“It’s a very nice yellow. And I’ve already bought the paint.”
“But the kitchen is yellow. We need some contrast!”
“We are not going to our friends’ house to talk about parrot green!”
“Why not? I want a second opinion, and who better to ask?”
The conversation went downhill rapidly from there. Since we couldn’t decide on either a topic or a color, we decided to bring wine instead — in vino est veritas — so we headed out to the big wine store. By the time we reached the parking lot, we had come to an agreement that both parrot green and yellow were topics that were far too risky for dinner.
“Mauve,” I said. “Everyone likes mauve.”
“Fine,” Marta replied. “That’s a kind of pink, it will go well with the wine. We can talk about mauve.”
“No, it’s more of a purple. Or maroon.”
“It’s dark? I thought it was a light color.”
Inside the store, I went up to one of the clerks, fixed him with my eye, and asked, “Do you know a lot about wines?”
He hesitated. “I know a bit,” he said cautiously.
“We want a mauve,” I said.
“I beg your pardon, sir? A mauve?”
“Yes. Preferably a wine named Mauve, but we’ll settle for just the label.”
He blinked. “Uh… I’m afraid I don’t know that vineyard. Or varietal. I assume it’s a red?”
“No, it’s more of a purple. Or a maroon.”
“I think it’s more of a pink,” Marta added.
The clerk shook his head and made a slight choking sound. In the end, we had to search through the racks ourselves. We came up with several bottles that looked about right, including a wine called Purple Cowboy.
“That’s purple,” Marta complained.
“It’s just called purple. That label is definitely mauve.”
We paid for the wine, and as the checkout clerk was boxing it, I stopped her.
“Which one of these labels is mauve?” I asked. She bit her lip and considered, then pointed to the pink one.
I scowled. “What about that one?” I asked, pointing to the Purple Cowboy.
“That’s purple,” she said.
Tomorrow night I’m going to eat dinner, drink my Purple Cowboy, and let other people talk.