“So,” said Frank, “how has it been going?”
Tipsy, for some reason, wasn’t in a good mood and decided to not play along with the trite. “Frank, you know very well that the last time I was summoned into existence, by the writer that be, I was with you. We have both been wallowing in nothingness for some time and now suddenly we are called into existence. To ask how it has been going is absolutely and completely irrelevant.”
“Wow, looks like you haven’t been drinking for some time, it’s just that I couldn’t find anything else to say and not saying anything seemed more impolite than mouthing triteness”
“When did you start to care about being polite?”
“I am sorry, it’s been so long that I have forgotten what I am supposed to be like”
“That’s the problem with us, we never remember what we are supposed to be like, and I don’t like it. When I emerge from nothingness, I find that I still don’t have anything- I am still nothing, and this saddens me. It makes the nothingness unbearable.”
“So, you would rather not exist than exist in nothingness.”
“Unfortunately, to not exist, is not an option given to us- remember Nausea – remember the meaninglessness of the mortal remains”
“Tipsy, what do you have against nothingness, I love you, I can still look into your eyes and say that nothing else matters!”
“Oh, Frank! In this reincarnation you have been consumed totally by the trite, or else you are pretending, for you have loved me, but that never relieved the burden of the mundane.”
“Very well then, we’ll just sit are curse life again. I just wanted to talk a few pleasantries before we started being puppets but it seems the writer has a more powerful hold on you this time.”
“Frank, I love you, you know that I love you as if none else existed, as if not loving you was an option as inadmissible as not existing. You know that, but you are not satisfied with that. You want my love for you to prevent me from wanting anything else. But I want it, I want it desperately. I want to feel, I want to belong to this world, I want to feel something besides just loving you. I want an anchor in my life. If I say your love is all I have and all else in nothing, it seems that I am belittling our love. If I have only mashed potatoes in my house and I eat it, it wouldn’t mean I am very fond of mashed potatoes.”
“But I know you are fond of mashed potatoes!”
“Frank, my dear Frank, how can you be so irritating and so lovable at the same time,” said Tipsy with a merry laughter.
With Tipsy finally recalling that her role was also to spurt merry laughter into the world at periodic intervals and not merely to paraphrase Sartre, the stage was set for Frank and Tipsy to walk into the bar. So arm in arm they walked in, trying to look like and feel like any other ‘normal’ couple. The looking wasn’t too difficult and the feeling wasn’t too easy.
“Madam, Sir, what may I bring you today?”
“A bottle of whisky, two glasses and some mashed potatoes please,” said Frank.
“Sir, mashed potatoes are good but most people would ask for French Fries and Masala peanuts in this place with their whisky”
“When you say most, dear waiter, do you realize that ‘most’ is not ‘all’, in fact the makers of the English Language went to the extent of making two entirely different words for it. Look at these two words there is not a single letter common in the two. So please do honor the makers of the English Language and get me those mashed potatoes”
“Very good Sir, perhaps in some time and place I would like to discuss your obsession with the mashed potatoes. I have seen many kinds, I tell you, but I have seen none that were so touchy about mashed potatoes, perhaps your esteemed mother met with an accident making mashed potatoes (though I find it difficult to imagine what sort of an accident one can meet with while making mashed potatoes). And another thing which just came to my mind, if, and pardon my insolence, your esteemed mother did meet with an accident while making mashed potatoes why would you like mashed potatoes? Most people would actually start disliking mashed potatoes were such an occurrence to infringe itself on their existence. Though that can get you started on your ‘most is not all’ speech once again but I am willing to take the risk … ”
“My good waiter, no mother of mine met with any accident while making mashed potatoes, but I do know of a waiter who is going to meet with a very unfortunate accident while taking an order of mashed potatoes if he does not proceed immediately to get the mashed potatoes”
“The point that you are trying to make, although in very oblique terms, is well taken. I will do as you say; your wait time will be approximately 17 minutes. Thank you Sir.”
“Frank, I was wondering that myself, why are you so touchy about mashed potatoes today?”
“ Aha – I am glad you asked it – for I was going to explain it myself. You say that the fact that if you have mashed potatoes as the only option and you eat mashed potatoes does not imply that you are fond of mashed potatoes. My point is that it also does not imply that you are not fond of mashed potatoes. I was just trying to elucidate it by ordering mashed potatoes even when we had the option of French fries and Masala peanuts.”
“What about those that have eaten only mashed potatoes all their lives?”
“Tipsy, my dearest, it has been my contention that there are no intrinsic values in different types of foods, and it is wrong to say that French fries are better than mashed potatoes. In fact I would go to the extent of saying it is wrong, even to say that they are different. For they serve the same purpose- to fill up your stomach.” Frank was talking animatedly now, he seemed to have recalled what he was supposed to represent. “I am toward life what my friend, so and so, is toward food, place horse meat or a Masala Dosa or chowmein in front of him and he will proceed to eat the item with the same indifference that he would show the other items, but eat, he will, for that fills up his stomach.”
“So Frank, you make the choice of being indifferent toward the varieties presented before you, to the extent that you deny that varieties exist. But still you would grant that people may recognize the existence of varieties and may choose to choose one over the others.”
Thus, Frank and Tipsy rambled for a few more sentences and understood each others’ position in literal terms, and yet, were further away from understanding how a different line of thought from their own was possible. The mashed potatoes, perhaps having a volition of their own, chose this moment to make their presence felt, and appeared on the table alongside the whisky.
“No matter whether there are choices or not, no matter whether you chose mashed potatoes or not; mashed potatoes are what you are going to get,” said Frank triumphantly.
“As long as they come with whisky, I don’t really mind,” concluded Tipsy.