A Nora Ephron scene from a life

I’m in the kitchen. I’m making a hot dog, I have bought the buns and the sausages just an hour ago. They’re the Swedish style, in which the bun is only about a third of the length of the dog so when you eat it, you invariably have to start by biting off the ends that hang outside the bun on both sides. And then I hear the horns of the song, and my feet begin to tap. Then comes Dean Martin’s rich voice, and my feet start to sweep the floor in front of the sink.

Baby, baby.

I don’t care if the sun don’t shine
I get my lovin’ in the evening time
When I’m with my baby

I do a pirouette and open the fridge door, to get the ketchup and the mustard. I throw the ketchup bottle in the air, so it flies behind my back. I extend my left arm and almost catch the bottle. I do the same with the mustard bottle, and it’s even closer to land on my hand.

I pull a knife – a small one – out of the holder and open the sausage package, then pull out a long hot dog. My upper body makes dance moves, while my feet now stay in place. This is a trick that a friend of mine taught me years ago, probably having first witnessed my “dancing” at a company event. “Never move both upper and lower body at the same time,” he said. “Just pick one, and you’ll be fine. Either just move your arms and upper body while keeping your feet bolted to the floor, or make some fancy footwork – only,” he said.

It’s no fun with the sun around
But I get going when the sun goes down
And I meet my baby

The sausage is in the bun, and the bun is in the microwave oven. I tap dance to the fridge to see if we have any onion. And yes, we do. Because my baby has made sure that none of the onion I chopped the other day got thrown away, it’s sitting in a beautiful glass jar in the refrigerator’s big, plastic box.


I moonwalk to the microwave, take the hotdog out, and place it onto the kitchen counter and close my eyes, focusing on the task at hand. I pick up the ketchup bottle from the floor, and give it a nice shake, like Martin or Sammy Davis Jr would to a cocktail shaker, then put a perfect, curvy line of ketchup on my hotdog. I hold the mustard bottle in my hand like it’s a microphone, and I sway from left to right, and right to left, as I add some mustard on the dog. Then I snap my fingers, and open the onion jar.

That’s when we kiss and kiss and kiss
And then we kiss some more
Don’t ask how many times we kiss
At a time like this, who keeps score?

Fifteen years ago, I would leave work early to make it home in time for Matlock. He would always get his hot dogs with onion, and he was very specific about his dogs, as he, and any man, should be. I made it home just ten minutes before the show started – about the time I should have left work – which gave me enough time to get my TV dinner ready every Tuesday. Hot dogs, with ketchup and mustard, and onions.

But no baby.

So I don’t care if the sun don’t shine
I get my lovin’ in the evening time
When I’m with my baby

Ironically, the sun is shining today and my baby is nowhere to be seen, but right now it feels like she’s right here, right here with me – or at least on the other side of the split screen that is this scene in my reality-TV version of a Nora Ephron movie. And she’s laughing, at me and with me, looking all cute and smart, and gentle and girl-next-door. She then puts her hand across the split-screen to wipe the ketchup off my cheek, and she points to a mustard stain on my white “I ♥ NY” T-shirt. And we laugh as I take another bite of my hot dog.

At a time like this, who keeps score?

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