EDIT: You’ve probably noticed that the Playmobil Advent Calendar has gone MIA. Yeah, I’m canceling it, sorry. Should have originally. My heart just isn’t in it this year. I had a long talk with a chair last night, and that chair made a lot of sense. I should be doing what I want to do, not just what I think I “should” do.
I’m still doing the videos, because they’re fun even if they’re the greatest offenses to mankind ever. My apologies for hope-building and flip-flopping on this the past few weeks! I'll post a more detailed explanation in the comments.
We went out for sushi tonight.
I needed it. Not so much the sushi, but the “going out” part.
I’m a freelancer. That has upsides and downsides. One of the upsides is my ability to strategically devise “lulls” so that I can write about pink bunny slippers more often. One of the downsides is that I sometimes forget to have any life at all during those lulls.
It’s probably why I’ve seemed so cranky, lately. I’ve been staring at my computer screen since early September, nonstop. We’ve become like an old married couple. I take its quirks as grand offenses. It never shuts the lights off, and it’s always messing up my things.
It’s not like I never go out. Just not enough. I can’t consider a restaurant visit some great achievement in breaking bad patterns, but it’s something.
Baby steps. It's not like I'm ready to join a club that goes on weekly hikes through the woods just yet. Giant spiders live there.
Sushi was our decision. Now we just had to pick the right restaurant.
Not easy to do. Our local sushi joints have completely different attributes.
There’s the really nice one, but that shit’s expensive, and besides, I won’t go to the “really nice one” when I haven’t shaved in a week. My face looks like a mammoth’s crotch.
Then there’s the mid-tier one, which is perfect except for the manager who likes to stand three feet away and watch you eat the entire time. I’ve never eaten sushi without incident, and I don’t want people seeing that. Plus, one time, the California roll had a gnat on it.
That left Option #3. The bad sushi place.
It’s not that the food is bad. It’s actually pretty good. There are, however, three big faults:
1) Despite the restaurant being small and almost always empty, the service is awful. I’m talking legit 45 minute waits for the check. Need extra wasabi? Clear your fucking calendar.
2) The music. My God. It’s a tiny place, but they absolutely blast it. And it isn’t any of that fun, ambient music that’s all the rage in Staten Island sushi joints. It’s Kelly Clarkson and Rod Stewart, and pretty much nobody but them. Nothing against Rod or Kelly, but they don’t mesh with raw tuna. Especially when they’re being broadcast loud enough to shatter adamantium.
3) This is the big one. The restaurant has a television high up in the corner. You can't miss it. Every time we’ve gone there, there’s been some fucked up “adventure food” show on, where people eat things like crickets, cow brains and fried anole. Picture eating sushi while Rod Stewart screams over a shot of a guy eating lizards. It's hard.
Why would we choose Option #3? Well, it’s cheap, and for once, its considerable dinginess worked in my favor. After all, I had a face full of pubes, and I probably haven’t showered since their last salmon delivery.
So that’s where we went. And what happened there was a minor miracle.
The restaurant was all done up for Christmas, with a big tree, lights everywhere, and even a few of those cheap fake cardinals that I adore so much. It was just perfect. Everything was dressed so messily, as if they hired a decorator who was more famous as a live bear.
Now we’re up to the point of this entry, so I hope I don’t blow it:
I love eating in restaurants that are decorated for Christmas.
Maybe I lead too simple a life, but few things make me happier. When I’m at one of these places, I feel like I’m in a movie, or at least a December episode of a bad sitcom.
What is it about them? It’s not like there aren’t decorations hanging in every store in the country. Why is it so different with restaurants, and in particular, Japanese restaurants? What’s the secret? Why do their lights always seem warmer? Why do those empty boxes wrapped for effect under their Christmas trees always have me convinced that there’s actual, honest-to-goodness stuff in them? Is this how sheltered people who hate racism go about their stereotyping? Maybe I’m part of the problem.
And what luck! My miso soup wasn’t ice cold! It’s always been ice cold before. I’m one of those people who hates sending food back. Honestly, there needs to be snakes crawling on my plate for me to make any fuss. I’m just meek that way. Still, this miso soup thing has been stuck in my craw for a year. I was *this close* to punching everyone who works there, like a real paying customer. Now I could go about my passivity with glee.
Maybe they sensed it. After all, we had the same waiter from our previous visit, when the service was so ridiculously bad that we stiffed him on the tip and stole two forks. That’s what he gets for bringing us utensils. I know how to use chopsticks, you tardy, condescending prick.
Tonight, he was great. He was fast and cordial. He told us the specials. He brought me hot soup.
I like tobiko. That’s fish eggs. Little ones, sometimes dyed in neon colors. I don’t feel bad when I’m eating them, but it seems worse in retrospect. Especially when I’m publicizing it to total strangers. Some of you are vegetarian, and my behavior assuredly disgusts you. Hell, eating tiny fish eggs might disgust you even if you’re devouring pork ribs while reading this. I’ve decided not to care. This is my night, and I like tobiko.
The real Christmas miracle? Nobody was eating insects on television. The tip was destined to triple as soon as I noticed this.
I went into that restaurant with the words “fuck December” on repeat, wearing a face full of grouchy pubes. Still had the pubes when I left, but December was good again. I dined on unborn fish under the glow of blinking holiday lights. If genies decided to extend their graces to ten wishes, that would be among mine.
The only thing missing was some kind of Christmas-themed roll. Like maybe a Santa Roll, composed of raw tuna and topped with, I don’t know, cake frosting. But whatever. If you expect everything, you’ll usually be disappointed.
Thank you, Option #3 Sushi Joint. The perspective you gave me was worth $50.
We took the long way home, so we could look at everyone’s lights. (And peek through their windows, because I studied Rear Window in college cinema and have never forgotten that fact.)
Loved it. Some of the houses were obviously decorated by professionals. Others, maybe that live bear I mentioned earlier. All were sweet in their own way. I wanted to run through the streets and regurgitate Frank’s speech from the end of Scrooged. Instead, I horrified old ladies by taking pictures of their front windows.
I’m trying to come up with your takeaway from this post. Let's face it, you’ve just read a thousand words about me eating dinner. If I don’t give you something to work with, some lesson, you might start to wonder why you bother coming here.
Try tobiko? It’s loaded with Omega-3.Posted by Matt on 12/02/2011. E-mail me!