We meet four Ladies Who Lunch in an Upper West Side New York bistro.
“Martha!” cooed Sarah.
“Sarah!” cooed Martha. “Janet and Catherine late as usual, I see.”
“Never mind them. Have a sip of this exquisite Cheval Blanc.”
Martha drained her glass. “It’s darling. Organic?”
“Oh, I know where Janet is. She and Robert just returned from the islands. Lots to take care of.” Martha checked her makeup with a small mirror. “This snow isn’t helping, either. My Fendi hardly blocks out the cold!”
Sarah refilled both glasses. “I don’t see how Janet’s busy. Robert has the company jet.”
After drinking, Martha nodded and said, “But when she returned there was some sort of difficulty with customs. They made her stand in line with a non-charter flight from the Dominican Republic! Simply took her hours.”
“Don’t turn around, but here they come. Ah,” Sarah used the glass to hide her lips, “Catherine has another new bauble. Just watch her not show it off.”
“Janet!” cooed Martha.
“Catherine!” cooed Sarah. Janet and Catherine cooed and sat.
Martha signaled for another bottle. As it was being poured, Janet found a water spot on a fork and she asked that a new set of cutlery be brought to the table.
Catherine reached for her glass the same time the waiter was clearing her setting, knocking a plate to the ground. “Sorry!” squealed Catherine. “I keep catching this thing on everything.” She gestured with her wrist.
Sarah whispered, “Oh, God” and emptied her glass. Janet pretended not to have heard. But Martha said, “Wherever did you get it! That pink coral is hard to find.”
Catherine held up the trinket to admire it in the light. “Oh, Jimmy’s latest movie has done rather well. This was to celebrate. He said…”
“Martha mentioned you had a vacation, Janet,” Sarah interrupted. Martha sent for a new bottle.
“It was a carbon-neutral vacation!” Catherine couldn’t help herself. “Janet hates global warming.”
“I’ll drink to that,” said Sarah. And she drank to it. Martha drank, too. “I despise global warming,” she said.
“It was wonderful. A small place in the Bahamas—an entire island where you can relax in the sun while saving the planet. They have marvelous technology.” Janet drank to the happy memory.
“I think I read about it in the Times,” Martha remembered.
“I did, too,” Sarah was an expert. “They use a special kind of platform built right into the roof that overhangs the porch. It blocks harmful solar radiation. You use thirty-two percent less electricity.” Sarah cooled herself with more wine.
“They also save all the rainwater,” said Janet. “It goes right into the fountain by the clubhouse. It looks beautiful at night; so colorful. Something about lasers.”
As Martha poured out another bottle, she said, “What I can’t understand is how some people can deny the truth of global warming. Comedian Bill Maher can’t believe it, either.”
“It’s those Republicans. They can’t—they refuse!—to understand the science,” said Janet.
“Jimmy doesn’t like Republicans, either,” said Catherine. “One time…”
Sarah jumped in, “The whole issue is settled! Yet by trickery people are forced to believe what isn’t true.”
“The real trouble is that these deniers aren’t smart enough. The concepts are too sophisticated,” said Martha.
“I know! It’s just so simple,” chided Janet.
As she asked for another bottle, Sarah said, “What can you expect from the party of big oil? They lie in the name of profits.”
Martha noticed the waiter hovering. “What are we having?” she asked the table.
“Jimmy always said to order the Wagyu beef,” advised Catherine.
“That’s for me,” seconded Martha.
“You always have the same thing,” Sarah tsked. “Donnez-moi les Côtes d’agneau aux herbes et foie gras.” Sarah spoke French, which shows sophistication. However, the waiter did not, so she had to reorder.
Janet had the Almas caviar and wild salmon poached in truffle butter. “And bring us some more wine,” she added.
As they ate, the conversation ranged over important topics. Janet announced that her husband had set up a tax shelter while in the Caribbean designed to trade carbon offsets. When the bill came, Sarah took it because she was good at math. She divided by four and told everybody the amount.
“I forgot to ask Jimmy for any cash,” said Catherine, managing to look shy.
Janet said, “I’m offsetting this meal to fight climate change.”
Sarah drank the rest of the wine to drown out her grumbling. Martha reached into her bag, pulled out money and as she handed it over said, “But Sarah, honey. This won’t be enough to cover the tip.”
“Tip after being sat at a table with filthy silverware? Never. These people need to be taught a lesson.”