Monday, October 16, 2006, 7:19 PM
Practice safe eating - always use condiments
As soon as I walk into the place, I can smell the fish. Not breaded and fried, not buttered and broiled, but the old fashioned fishy kind. As in … recently alive and now naked, sans skills, gills and frills.
Where am I? Tokoro in Pasadena, California, which serves up sushi and rolls. And I’m ever the gamin dare devil, but I'm still going to need a drink, maybe two, to counteract the sushi? sushi! scream in my brain. I hope they have something other than sake because the one time I tried to drink sake, all the hair on my body stood up and my toes curled until my foot cramped. And maybe it’s just me, but I prefer a slow body burn or a light my fire kind of drink.
My companions and I slide into a booth and the first thing L wants me to do is to read the bottle on the table. She has trouble reading without her glasses, so I pick the bottle up and give it the once-over. My brow furrows as I look for something in English. L giggles and does a forehead-to-the-table kiss. “I knew you were going to do that,” she said. Meanwhile, C is doing the mad dash back from the car because she forgot her wood engraved chopsticks. She’s a pro. Been here, ate most of it.
The menu is like trying to read a football play, it makes no damn sense to me. I have no idea whether I'll prefer squid over octopus, eel over albacore, or yellow fin over squid, but I know I want a glass of wine.
“Wine doesn’t go well with sushi,” L tells me gleefully after my glass arrived and I sucked down a healthy portion of it.
I have a nagging suspicion that for me, dead fish isn’t going to go with diddlysquat, but I decide to try her beer. And then C’s. Hot damn! Perfect. It must be because beer is made with wheat and hops and corn (veggies) and compliments the, er … fish. (Yes, I know all fish we eat is dead, but for some reason raw fish is dead fish to me. Otherwise it’s broiled, baked or fried.)
You know how at some restaurants they bring you crackers, bread and olive oil, or chips and sauce while you linger over drinks and the menu? At Tokoro, they bring you pea pods. I try to eat the outer casing that houses the sweet pea, but the skin is unusually thick and won't give. When I give up and take it away from my mouth, there's a neat outline of the vegetable’s spine. The rest of it is being ground between my molars. Crunch, crunch, gulp, like swallowing a piece of gum.
That’s when either L or C tell me the correct way to eat this thing, which isn't a pea pod at all, but a soybean. I'm supposed to dip it in the low-sodium soy sauce then eh-scrrrrrape my teeth along the green, forcing the beans inside out onto my tongue, leaving the thick green hide intact. Just like squeezing a blackhead out of a pore.
When the sushi arrives, I look for the noodles, the rice, the mashed potatoes. There's nothing on the plate but clean-looking, raw flesh in tones of pink, white and tan. But I'm in for a grin, in for a hee-fricking-haw. I’ve never tried dead fish before and tonight is the night I'm going to, for better or for worse.
My first bite is of albacore, something I'm familiar with. I prefer Star-Kist Albacore Tuna. Charlie, you know? The raw meat is cool and smooth in my mouth. Chewing it is like something I’ve never tried to chew before. It isn't exactly chewable. I think it's supposed to slide down my throat. It almost melts against my tongue and maybe it would have (and I could have enjoyed the sensation) if I could get past the idea that I'm eating raw fish.
Before the night was over, I tried yellow fin (my favorite), tuna tuna, albacore and something else that I can’t remember right now. Scallops. Lobster. Wasabi (I know it's not fish, it’s a nose-hair stinger). It was interesting and I’m glad I experienced it, but for me sushi is like nearing Gack City and having to pay $200 as I pass Go. And since I live in LA, I need that $200 bucks, thank you.
After Tokoro’s, we went to McDonald’s and I inhaled an order of small French fries. Isn’t that what all sushifites do?
Public restroom indignities
All of a sudden I’m slammed with a smell, an oh-gag-me, oh-kill-me-now stench of diarrhea times twenty. The person in the stall beside me has just got started. The sounds are awful, but the smell is awfuller, and I still haven’t gotten my damn safety pin undone.
Stupid fat gut!
Stupid vanity that makes me wear a pair of pants that need to be safety pinned!
I’m finally successful n getting the pin loose, and sink down onto the tissue papered toilet seat with a strangled sigh. I concentrate on breathing shallowly with my hand over my mouth. I'm peeing out a fourth of the Mississippi River because I’ve been drinking lots of water lately.
And I wonder why people don’t poop the way I do. I’m seriously considering a campaign.
1. If you know you’re going to have to, create a seal across the toilet lid with your butt cheeks and thighs. No cracks. (Pun intended.) Let no air escape.I’m still peeing when my stink bomb-dropping stall mate bursts out of the stall, ignoring the sink on the way out. I imagine chasing after her to demand that she wash her hands before she poisons anyone, the gross-sick-pig-hog-sow-cow. I’d at least have liked to see who she was so I'd know to give her a twenty-foot berth from now on, so I can give her the Miss Manners Look of Distaste.
And then I’m hit by the thought that anyone entering the restroom will think that I’m the one who’s filled the restroom with unholy funk, and I’m pissed. (Hah! Another pun!) I’m cursed and trapped for the short long run because I have pants I have to safety pin back on, plus a wrap-around skirt that I have to re-adjust. Mother Nature and Murphy of Murphy's Law must be busting a gut. Me? Not so much.
Someone else does come into the restroom. I cringe in my stall while I fight with the safety pin, and I want to say I only peed, I didn’t do the funk. The lady in the next stall snappily undoes her pants (kaboom, zip), falls heavily onto the john (with an attitude of distaste), jerks off the toilet paper (lo, impatience), and gets the hell out of the dodge, all the in space of 75 seconds or less. As I flush the toilet, she’s doing the fast chug-chug-chug on the paper towel dispenser. She’s no more than the sound of the closing door when I take my place at the sinks.
Bodily functions and bodily expunging is normal. I get that. It doesn't mean I'll excuse you for being a Neanderthal about it, though.
Courtesy flush, ya'll. Learn it, know it, practice it.
A flush in the middle of the toilet-sitting process in order to reduce the aroma...usually performed on a "foreign throne" as a courtesy to the owner of said throne... in other words, to be polite and not stink up the host's crapper too much.
Pain in the butt advertising
Who is Brad Lenz?
The first time I saw this message last September, it was taped to a utility pole. I wondered briefly about who Brad Lenz might be and then went on with my life, but I began seeing the question everywhere. Sometimes it’s scratched into the cement: Who is Brad Lenz? I’ve found it spray painted across a bus bench, stapled to a utility pole, somehow adhered to the ground, and on the sides of fences. And then I saw www.bradlenz.com and said ah-hah! because I could now discover who this argen fargen person was and who cares who you are, Brad Lenz?
But I forgot. There was always something else to do online and I never have gotten around to listening to that tape on how to increase my memory. Besides, I’m mad at this guy for wasting so much of my time making me wonder who he is. I don’t care, but the question isn’t letting me forget that I don’t care. Who does he think he is? Creep.
I saw the question again tonight. Who is Brad Lenz? So I went to the site and all I have to say is you make me ill, Brad Lenz.
Laziness. Notice how I’ve listed this first? I get home after work and usually the last thing I feel like doing is sitting down at another computer and staring at another monitor. I’d rather eat a can of lima beans without anything to drink.
Depression. I’ve been feeling it for what seems like forever (not just since my divorce, state-relocation, new job, or scary new life adjustment), but since about birth, I think. It’s just that it all seemed to come to a head this year and when I’m depressed, I’m Silent Sally, not Chatty Cathy. Which is probably a bad thing, but I yam what I yam. I’m much more likely to get drunk with you and fall on my head and barf than to bawl on your shoulder, even though the bawling on the shoulder part seems like it would be much better for both of us.
Things going south with LA people who probably still read this blog. It doesn’t feel quite so liberating to share anymore, ye ken?
Sun, moon and star mis-alignment, otherwise known as biorhythms.
Booze. Up until 11 days ago, I used to make myself a drink, sometimes two, by six o’clock every night. And that pretty much robbed me of all creative and productive energies. So I was there, did that, and am now trying to get past that because I don’t want to call my sister some night at one o’clock in the morning and cry-scream at her about life like she does to me. My life turns even more topsy-turvy after she calls. It's disturbing. It's scary. And I don't want to do that to someone else.
And there you have it.