Day 31: A Whole Month of Olives

Month of Olives, Mount of Olives. What have we learned? What have we given?

Da da da. Dada.

Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.

Like T. S. Eliot wandering through The Waste Land, I have to ask myself–

These fragments I have shored against my ruins.

All these littered crumbs of breadstick, half-empty bowls of marinara, and leftover leaves of browning lettuce mark a trail. But where does it lead?

Eliot’s way through the wasteland was a simple quest: the desiccated man just needed a drink of water.

What do I need? Obviously after eating so much sodium this past half year, I, too, require a big glass of hydration. One breadstick the other night was so thoroughly coated in salt as to almost eclipse the point of edibility. “It’s one stick,” somebody in the kitchen must have said, clutching a salt shaker (or, more likely, a salt-shooting rubber hose). Without remorse, the cook probably shook out a little more from the salting nozzle before throwing the bread in the basket for our server to collect. “One stick of salt won’t kill nobody.” Nobody but Lot’s wife, I guess.

But when you’re walking through the wasteland and living in the drought of the ages, you have to start to wonder after a while about whether or not that’s true. It’s like the straw and the camel’s back: which salt crystal will be the one that pushes your blood pressure over the edge? Which drop of oil will shut up the last artery? Which modified synthetic animal protein will scream its way up your bloodstream until it reaches the center of your brain and explodes impossibly, inevitably?

Maybe this breadstick is one too many. Maybe this is the last one.

The wasteland is where we realize that death will cure us, that drought can end and be born unto the waters, but it’s also the place where the first drop you drink is the last one: the refreshment you find means you have died and resurrected.

Like everything else in life, if it’s good for you, it’s going to hurt.

What do they feed you after you cross the wasteland? Apparently it’s some chicken gnocchi soup. It’s not bad, exactly, but there’s a ton of grease that, when left to cool, begins floating at the top, like the evil in men’s souls. I’m picking on it here, but really what I’m saying is there were only four of those little gnocchi guys in there and that felt super weak, despite the fact that I could have asked for a refill. I didn’t, out of principle (What principle, you ask. At this point, I have no clue.), but in retrospect that was probably a good idea, considering how much sodium I was getting elsewhere from the meal.

After six months of olives (in the salads I order each time), tonight was the first time I ordered the soup instead. And as disappointing as it was, I think I’m back to salad.

As per the last post, my photography sucks, but I mean look at that mess. So much pointless oil rising up to meet you.

That’s not a blessing, but a curse.

Also, here’s the weird picture of some kid that was behind me. He’s holding a paper (?) balloon at a fake (?) gelato counter. I’d love somebody to explain Olive Garden decor to me someday. Somewhere there’s a massive warehouse full of the sets they used for this crazy, crazy photoshoot. At least I hope so.

And it’s either found in the Twilight Zone, or at the far, far end of the wasteland.


1: Linguine, meat sauce, breaded chicken (don’t ask)

2: same as it ever was (see above) (This was an experiment to see if I’d get the entire breaded chicken breast that they obviously had to microwave. They cut it in half, as per orders. I don’t recommend the breaded chicken unless you’re feeling about five years old which I am most of the time.)


Breadsticks: 2

Weight: I ran this morning!

Waste Lands: only one but that’s plenty, it turns out.

2 comments to Day 31: A Whole Month of Olives

  1. Melissa says:

    he is holding the “ice cream” from the other photo you took back in like september? I think . . .

    • Stephen says:

      Yes! I think he is. I’m starting to realize there’s this whole alternate universe Italian childhood thing within the photographs all over this place. I still haven’t found how to pass between the worlds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *