Big day today: signed a contract to return to my alma mater. Exciting and exhausting. I start tomorrow. Yikes. I think it will be good.
This year has been a blur: like the bicyclist in this photograph. And, like this bicyclist, I feel like we weren’t supposed to be at the center of it all. Like we accidentally happened across the place where others had plans, and instead of their own landscape of conversations and meetings and moments, we’re the tourist hurtling obliviously through the foreground, coming from who knows where and aiming for the same. All these plans are drawn up, and then this person shows up and changes everything.
But, like that rider, I’m trying to zone out the problems and hang on to the possibilities. Don’t go looking for trouble, simply ride on to the next place and see if things make a little more sense there. This is quite literally what I’ll be doing starting tomorrow. And though I won’t be commuting by bike initially, it might not be out of the question entirely, as my car finds new ways to limit its functionality. So far these are mostly aesthetic limitations, but you kind of have to wonder.
Also, they messed up Chrissi’s salad, and then tried to take it back, and I said, “No, no, I’ll certainly eat that one, too.” That is the secret trick to getting two different salads.
Good news about this year of pasta: James has learned how to eat at restaurants like a professional. He orders his own kids’ pizza with grapes on the side, he calmly asks for water instead of juice because he knows he doesn’t need the sugar hit–and because he’s concerned about the bottom line–and he has his camera with him at all times to capture the most important parts of the meal: the food. Although he seems to be picking up some of my storytelling legacy, he has yet to start his own blog or instagram, so I guess he’s still learning.
This is a photo of the fruity drink I purchased. I don’t remember what it was called but it was one of those made-up corporate labels for drinks that is just so much the hybrid of descriptive words that you can’t even tell if it’s a real name or not anymore. It took me forty-eight trips to my Italian kitchen to order a drink for myself. I’m definitely from the James school of water-preference. It’s not even about the cost, entirely, it’s just that I’d rather eat my calories than drink them. I want credit for chomping them down, rather than to see them mysteriously appear around my middle out of nowhere. This was all right, anyway: sparkling water and strawberry and other juice, I guess? I wasn’t too focused on taste, but mostly on having something to photograph. Part of my legacy is be refusing to order drinks when dining out, and I think that tells you a lot about who I am, what I believe in.
Our final piece of the visual tour is this salt shaker from the table. I’m of the opinion that, chemically-speaking, salt is salt. It’s just that simple. However, the salt shaker out our table proudly heralded its European origins. Presumably, like me, the salt did one of those Ancestry DNA tests, and found out that it’s ancestors were Europeans, maybe some of them from the coasts of the Mediterranean. That’s great, and all, but I don’t think Italian salt–if it’s even from Italy–taste any different than American salt. But then, I suppose that’s the point of those DNA tests, too. If you’re European, you’re not taking a test like that: you know exactly where you come from. We Americans are the ones desperate to figure out who exactly we are, where exactly we come from–especially if we didn’t immigrate very recently. Yet, no matter what the percentages come back as, no matter how “European” your salt is–you’re still just an American looking for a home.
Item 1: linguine with meat sauce and crispy shrimpy