How to Fake it

Ever eat at an upscale restaurant only to find yourself in the uncomfortable position of being the person to taste the wine? They uncork it and pour a tiny amount into your glass and then just stand there expectantly. I never know what to do in that situation. Thankfully I’ve learned how to fake it as of late.

First, you must make a display of examining the bottle.  Remark out loud in a somewhat stuffy fashion about the maker and the year.  When the small helping has been poured into your cup, check the color. If it is totally clear, it’s water, if it is any other color, it’s probably what you are looking for.  Here comes the fun part, the swirl.  Go crazy with this!  Apparently the swirl releases the smells of the wine.  My theory is that the harder you swirl, the more smell will come.  I get pretty into this part; with considerable gusto, I swirl my glass until the contents almost reaches the rim, then my Mom slaps my hand and tells me to knock it off.  But I’m not done yet, oh no.  I proceed to the wine sniffing step.  Observing the subtle smells and odors wafting out of my glass, I start to list off the smorgasbord of flavors I am smelling (that I had just read off the wine description in the menu).

It is time for the first sip.  I saw in a movie that you’re supposed to slurp and so slurp I do (I tried to add a gargle once but it went down the wrong pipe and I coughed it up all over the table).  After making as many offensive noises as I can muster I swallow the substance.  “Excellent!” I declare knowingly.  The waiter looks satisfied, slightly disgusted but satisfied nonetheless and dinner carries on.



When Adventure Becomes a Journey

Away from noise, away from stuff, away from dishes, away from love.  Making a commitment is such a final thing to do; it’s easy to sign-up and start running a marathon, it’s hard not to stop for a hot dog 20 minutes into it and even harder to even get half way. I started this journey to fulfill it and… “journey”…this is a far more negative word than the previously used “adventure.”  Adventure implies excitement, fun and a nearly avoided disaster whereas a journey brings to mind a long, unending, poorly-lit trail possibly with a heavy burden to carry and no companion, or an irritable one for that matter.  I’m trying to read the book of James but my eyes glaze over and my heart beats like it always does, nothing changes. I must journey on and trust God!  It’s so easy to claim that I will trust God, but is it true in my heart?  If I think real hard I realize this is what I want but I hardly believe it is possible.  I feel guilt wash over me as I try to excuse my lack of faith, like God doesn’t know already.  It seems like failure becomes a sort of personal identity for me.  No, I must press on.  I will stand on the well-lit stoop in front of that door and knock until the Lord opens it. He will open it, He promised.  I will always look to him and know that he loves me and he loved me first.  I am a little child running to him, sobbing, and wanting to be hidden. 

I just remembered that He is God, and he’s got this.  


It’s a bit morbid

It’s a bit morbid, but I wonder how I’m going to eventually end up dying.  Will it be painful or one of those dying in my sleep cases?  What will I feel in that moment between life and death?  I mean, it’s not like we can ask someone about this …  I told my husband that it’s my dying wish for my ashes to be turned into a giant diamond which is then to be made into a belly button ring that I expect him to wear on a regular basis.  He showed no interest for the idea.  Weird.  He’s the guy who thinks it’s acceptable to dip the spoon into his coffee and then into the sugar dish because, “it sticks really well and it’s the perfect amount of sugar.”  I’m really getting to know this guy, he’s a dedicated infantryman of the United States Marine Corp and at the same time I see a guy with an admirably consistent flossing habit.  I’m coming to understand a certain undying hatred he has for an alpaca named Carlos and  have also begun to mimic his usual idioms and have lately taken to calling anyone who annoys me a “farm animal.”  People really are disgusting.  It is my regular experience at the gym to be taking a shower only to terribly interrupted by the sound of the lady next to me conjuring up a viscous substance called “loogie.”  I hear it hit the wet tile and the SPLAT is quickly followed by a fierce nose blowing session.  This brings me back to death.  It really is quite morbid, I guess I’ll have to wait and find out.



Vietnamese Food: Friend or Pho?

We bombed the crap out of Vietnam in 1956 and Vietnamese chefs have come to America for revenge.  Their feature dish is called Pho.  I didn’t know that Vietnam had food and yet here they are ruining the wonderful experience of public dining in my country. How to even describe my experience… the “best” Vietnamese restaurant in my area was found in something like a ghetto within middle class suburbia; the crappiest, dirtiest, hoodest, scummiest strip mall in this town.  We (husband, myself, brother) parked the car as close to the restaurant window as possible; our car had already been broken into once this week in the same area.  If the outside of the place wasn’t a deterrent, the inside should have been. We managed to get to the door without being jumped, passed a gnarly looking cork board covered in what looked like 2 years of junk mail from Mexico, the second door appeared to have an accumulated 1000 years of germs.  The decor was minimal, not in a cool chic IKEA way but in a we-don’t-give-a-crap-how-dumpy-this-place-looks kind of way. Totally acceptable…if you have the food to back it up.  DIRTY DIRTY DIRTY!  Tables, worn out and sticky. Chairs, sticky. Walls, dirty and sticky.  Condiments holder, dirty and old and sticky.  Serving counter, dirty, disorganized and cluttered and probably sticky.  There’s was this display case with canned goods and such inside that really looked like supply closet overflow.  Ghetto TV.  Oh my word the windows… filthy and smeared with an unknown substance that causes unwanted items to stick to it. If that wasn’t enough to make us leave, which for some reason it wasn’t, the food did the trick.   

 Appetizer: the pork eggrolls were dry, flavorless and way too flaky. I couldn’t find the pork let alone taste it and I have no idea what I would equate their appearance to, dog treats? Pho: basic broth, a stuck together hunk of noodles at the bottom of the bowl, thin dry pieces of meat, and none of the veggies on the side were fresh.  Now my husband especially is very open to trying new foods; it wasn’t a good sign for the Pho when he started loading it up with every condiment he could find on the table to give it SOME flavor.  

 I am bewildered by how many people we were dining next to us that Saturday night and am convinced that they must have all been paid to be there.


Can’t Write

Ever sense that you can’t write about anything because you feel that in order to be credible and sound knowledgable, you must do scientist-style research on even the most minuscule subject for a few decades? For example, if I wanted to write about “Kids Nowadays,” would I have to research every facet of what it is to be a child? Interview every doctor of the mind, heart, and eyes, question every grade school teacher, study economic and demographic diagrams, and interview parents? It sounds ludicrous, but that’s how I feel every time I’m about to attack a huge subject. I feel the eyes of my English professors reading over my shoulder as I type my thoughts.