duck-shaped pain


Where I Defy Astronomical Odds

How weird is it that I found two books, one called The Zen of Cooking and one called The Zen of Eating, both in different thrift stores, and both on the same day? It must never happen (except to me, the other day), I'm convinced.

Speaking of, I almost forgot to eat today. I just didn't, for whatever reason, until around 6 when I realized that, oops, I didn't have breakfast or lunch. That's also something that never happens. Anyway, I used the opportunity to try out a new peanut sauce recipe I found on VegSource yesterday, and it was pretty good. Not as good as my usual spicy peanut sauce recipe, which I got out of Fields of Greens. [1].

I went to the bookstore for a bit, because I hadn't been there in awhile. I didn't really want to buy anything, but I went anyway. I ordered a raspberry Italian soda at their little cafe-like area, and it came to me all opaque and creamy-looking. I know it's theoretically possible to have Italian sodas with cream in them, but the whole idea is sort of repulsive. Like milky Sprite -- bleah.

"Hey, I didn't ask for cream in this," I told the sodarista behind the counter.

"All of our sodas come with cream in them. We're not supposed to leave it out," she replied.

Stares, back and forth.

"Well, I don't know if I can drink this. The people here usually ask if I want cream in my soda, and my answer is always an emphatic no."

"Well, our policy changed."

"You know, I don't want to get you in trouble, but can you please make me an Italian soda with no cream in it? You see, I'm allergic." [2]

"Oh, okay! I can make you one without cream if you're allergic!"

Hmm...I guess I shouldn't expect better from B--- & N---, but I do.

An unforseen advantage to still having out-of-state plates on my car is that I can claim to not be from around here when it's to my advantage to do so. While I was getting gas tonight, I as approached by a woman who wanted to know how to get to a certain destination from that particular gas station. Even though I've lived here for a total of 18 years, I had no idea how to coherently explain to this woman how to get there from here. I could visualise the route in my mind, sort of, but I had no idea what street names I could give her.

Part of the problem is that I've lived here long enough not to need street names anymore. I navigate by landmarks, and when I try to think of where some place is, I have to go through the route in my head, using these landmarks. As a result, I give the crappiest directions possible.

"Uh...go to the car wash, take a're going to want to turn on that big road after the hill, go down a bit, make sure you cross the canal, and then go past the bingo hut. Turn. Pass my aunt and uncle's appliance store, go by the place where all those cars are parked, and it's almost right after the DerWienerschitzel. I think." -- me, giving you directions to the dollar-a-scoop Chinese restaurant from my house.

So I tried to explain to this woman how to get where she wanted to go (why she wanted to go there at night when it was dark was beyond me), but didn't manage to do a very good job. So, I told here, "Well, I'm not really from around here, so I don't exactly know." It was easier to explain than what I just explained above.

The weird thing is that I know street names in Denver and Portland, both of which I've spent much less time in.

None of our grocery stores carry chai anymore. Not even the natural food store, oddly enough. One of them used to, but it stopped, as I found tonight when I was hankerin' for chai. I ended up buying soy chai latte stuff, which I am drinking right now. It's okay. It tastes a little too soy and a lot less spicy than I like, but it will have to do.

I also bought one enormous sweet potato. The guy at the checkout commented on how large it was, although he incorrectly called it a yam. I could have told him the truth, but I didn't. I was feeling generous.[3]

He asked me what I was planning on doing with the sweet potato, since, as he put it, "it's not Thanksgiving yet." I told him I was going to make soup with it, and he looked at me sort of askance.


[1] This is my favorite cookbook, and it's probably the only one I can think of that I'd give to other people as gifts. It's a lot better than the first Greens Cookbook, which is a wonderful book until you actually try to cook out of it.

[2] Always the shameful last refuge of the determined food avoider, and one I have to resort to more than I'd like. Half the restaurants in town know me as the Person Who's Allergic to Guacamole, an "allergy" seemingly so terrible that people look at me with extra pity.

[3] For those of you confused, what are generally called "yams" in American grocery stores are really sweet potatoes. True yams are rarely found in the U.S., but are common in Africa and South America.

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