Monday, April 11, 2005

A Balmy Sunday, During Which I Wear A Very Large Hat And Go Out With The Girls

Despite the fact that I had the day off, Sunday was balmy and generally gave one a full sense of joie de vivre. To celebrate, I donned terribly exciting stockings and my second favorite hat before trotting on over to the Vinoy for brunch with the girls: Debbie, Bill, and Carlos The Puerto Rican With A Twist.

Brunch was lovely, despite the fact that I may physically be unable to ever eat anything again; I am quite sure that we consumed at least thirty five pounds of fresh crab, ostrich, cheese, berries, fresh cream, pate de foie gras, Eggs Benedict, berries, teensy tiny little mushrooms, mimosas, berries, oysters, mangos, and yummy little fruit tarts that were covered in berries. Not only was the food wonderfully delicious and full of yummy berry-ish goodness, but we also had a wonderful time being horribly catty and princess-y. We debated the merits of Mr. Right vs. Mr. Right Now vs. Mr. No Way In Hell, gossiped about people we didn't know and traded various sordid and naughty innuendoes in a terribly sophisticated manner.

After brunch, we waddled on over to the the Florida International Museum, where Carlos and I ogled obnoxiously opulent jewelry while discussing the benefits of owning our very own personal tiaras. While I firmly believe that one tiara is really all that one needs, Carlos felt that a larger number might be more appropriate. The friendly salesclerk at the giftshop assured us that multiple tiaras are quite the thing, as she owns 78 pairs herself.

After the jewelry, we tottered over to the Princess Diana exhibit, because we just haven't seen enough overhyped media tributes to Royalty living in such incredible opulence. I looked at her moldy old tap shoes, her suitcases, her grammar books, her ceramic animals, her photos, and the endlessly looping film of her fantastically expensive funeral procession -- next to which the staff had thoughtfully placed a rather large box of kleenex for those who were feeling very emotional about the whole thing.

They also had The Wedding Dress, which took up an entire room with the grandiosity of its billowy poofy puffiness; we could barely squeeze in against a wall to peer at its heaving swells of frothy lace, poofy silk, poofy crinoline and overwhelmingly huge fluffy puffiness. It constantly rippled and heaved in an alarming manner, covering wheelchairs, suffocating tourists, and blocking the exits; we barely emerged alive.

Of course, the immensely glorious and meringue-like puffiness of The Dress reminded me, as it does almost everyone else, of Plato and his Allegory Of The Cave from the seventh book of the Republic.

As everyone knows, Plato used this allegory to depict the multitude of mankind as sitting around in a cave with nothing to do and no television to watch. They sit facing away from the entrance, but towards the shadows thrown by a fire onto a wall; these shadows are cast by artificial objects being passed back and forth, their images greatly distorted by the flickering flames. The majority of mankind gazes at only these shadows all their lives, but a few enlightened ones switch their gazes from the shadows to the painful light emanating from the cave's entrance. Dazzled and blinking, they emerge into the world of nature, where they learn to ignore the shadow images and only see the real objects that transcend the shadows. Absolute ideals of Truth and Beauty are then revealed.

The Princess Diana wedding dress represents the Absolute Ideal of poofy fluffy puffiness, transcending all other billowing fluffy things, which are as mere shadows cast onto the wall of the allegorical cave. Nothing can even begin to compare to the swelling immensity of its Royal frothiness, which eclipses all else. It truly stands alone: ideal, perfect, complete -- the epitome to which everything else must strive.

I am truly humbled.


Anonymous Ian said...

Somewhere, a college philosophy professor just felt a great pang of existential dread.

9:40 PM  
Anonymous april said...

wasn't that the most god-awful dress ever? i was young when they got married and never witnessed its awfulness live, but up close and personal it's hidious. some of the dresses were cute though, in that early nineties sort of way.
and the jewelry was luverly and ... large.

9:41 PM  
Anonymous weary hag said...

A dress by any other name is still a dress. Or something like that.
Sounds like a fun way to spend some time on a Sunday!

9:41 PM  
Anonymous mark said...

Wow, a dress made you think of Plato! I'm suddenly appreciating all your blogs in a whole new light. As for spending a day at a museum staring at tiaras, dresses, and everything Diana...sigh, I really do believe there is medication that could help you.

I enjoyed the post, especially the creative use of descriptive words. You rock!

9:41 PM  
Anonymous rhodent said...

Another fine observation in the life of "L"

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Larry Jones said...

I will not be drawn into a discussion of girls named Bill and Carlos, but I do have two thoughts. 1.) I wonder what that dress would look like cast as a shadow on the back wall of Plato's allegorical cave. Probably scary. and 2.) Diana's dress is in your town? What the heck?

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Ron said...

Plato was no fool. He pops up all over in modern circumstances.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous glomgold said...

I feel buoyed having just read a synopsis of a Plato story I never knew about but now may go searching out! On the other hand, if after thousands of years, people are still doing the same thing perhaps it'll just depress me.
And what was the deal with that Turkish guy on your sunday post?? He must've learned English from watching old black & white films!

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Vile File said...

Even the mental image of Diana's Dress casting shadows in an allegorical cave cannot distract me from envying piteously your lovely brunch. Mmmm.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous La Chavelier said...

I think of Plato's cave whenever I am confronted with desert at the end of a meal. Then I savor it and my double espresso and, like yourself in front of the dress, am humbled. Mainly I'm humbled at the part I have played in this universe of devouring the delecious desert. Who knew philosophy could wet one's appetite so?

9:44 PM  
Anonymous jim bliss said...

Y'know the thing that most puzzled me about The Republic was Plato's insistence that the Ideal Society is one governed by Philosopher Kings. For, he claims, only Philosopher Kings can truly understand how best to govern an Ideal Society.

But... given that Plato wasn't a Philosopher King himself (which he acknowledges), then how can he possibly know how best to govern an Ideal Society? Eh? Get out of that one Plato! It's very possible that were you to actually ask a Philosopher King how best to govern an Ideal Society, that he'd respond with "For a start, make bloody sure Philosopher Kings have nowt to do with the decision making process. Seriously. They're a complete bunch of ivory-tower-encased bastids! Not an ounce of common sense between the whole lot of them."

9:44 PM  
Anonymous mark said...

After reading all the comments, I read the blog again and I've been wondering what Plato would have looked like in the dress. It might have changed the whole outcome of his allegory. Just a thought.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous happy and blue said...

Did Plato wear dresses? I am confused by the big words and the girls named after boys and all that food you consumed.
I wonder now if people who new Plato called him poindexter a lot..

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Larry Jones said...

Bliss - I think Aristotle would be the one to challenge with that. He was the logic guy. But, of course, he never espoused the Philosopher King deal, either, so he's safe.

9:46 PM  
Blogger L said...

yeah, that dress was, um, interesting. I'm not really sure why it's in Tampa of all places... but it was definitely a very fun way to spend a Sunday :)

9:46 PM  

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