This brother sister combo is going to point out everything that’s ridiculous about cooking competition shows, but they’ll never stop watching them.
Seriously, who am I? Who am I to give this guy any shit? We’re all on this train alone, I’m gonna judge this guy? I’m gonna judge this guy because he’s old and fat? I’m gonna judge this guy because he’s old and fat and looks homeless and has a jug of pink lemonade? I’m gonna judge this guy because he’s old and fat and looks homeless and has a jug of pink lemonade that he knocked over while he was sleeping? Who the fuck am I? I’m gonna judge this guy? Because he knocked over this pink lemonade and it’s flowing down the entire length of the train and looks like the Nile River? I’m gonna judge him? Because the pink lemonade split the train in two? Have I seen the Nile River? Has he? I don’t think so, so neither of us has seen it. So who the fuck am I? I’m gonna judge this guy? I’m on some kinda superior Staten Island train? Some higher train than this fuckin guy? Why? Because I’m younger and thinner and have options in life? Do I? Is that why? What, I’m gonna judge him? We’re on the same train. So what’s the difference, really? I had a lemonade stand when I was younger, sure, it wasn’t much money. Now I’m grown, and not a whole lot is different in that regard. I’m on the train, and I’m not going back to my own place, and I’ve never seen the Nile, and I bet he’s never seen the Nile, but who am I to judge? Maybe he has, I don’t know this fuckin guy, I’m gonna judge him? Sure he spilled a jug of pink lemonade, sure it split the train in half like the Nile, sure he’s old, and fat, and looks homeless, and he spilled the pink lemonade, sure. But who the fuck am I? I’m on the other side of the river, I’m taking train too at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday. I’m going somewhere. He’s going somewhere. And who the fuck am I anyway? Get real, we’re both going somewhere, and it ain’t the Nile. I got off before him, by that time he picked up the jug of pink lemonade, but who cares, it left a stream, like the Nile River, but who cares. I got off before him, and he got after, and we both had less lemonade, so what did it matter.
It’s that thing, it’s like that thing. You know the feeling, you know, you’re at a party or at work or some shit, and you meet this person and you’re like “fuck, woah, what the fuck is this about.” And you get excited, you get too excited, but you play it cool, because you have to. You have no other choice but to play it cool. Not playing it cool would mean losing that feeling. And let’s face it, that’s the best feeling, you’re talking to this person and you’re like “wait a minute…” That’s the best.
But let’s face it, even if it goes well, and you play it cool, you don’t know this person. You like to think they’re thinking “holy shit,” but the vast majority of the time they’re thinking, “I wonder what’s the quickest way home if I leave in a half hour,” or “how late is that taco truck open,” or they’re thinking “holy shit.” But it’s usually the taco truck. And you can’t really blame them, because they don’t know you. Not that it would matter if they did.
That’s the thing about that thing, that feeling. Even when the stars align and all parties involved are feeling that thing, and they have that feeling, sooner or later they’re going to know you, at least some of you and that’s no good, because you get too excited. And “wait a minute…” turns into “can you gimme a fuckin minute!” it turns into “can I get a fuckin word in!” it turns into “you’re putting words in my mouth.” And nobody is playing it cool anymore, everyone is playing a game of is this still worth it, and even when it isn’t, you still hold on, because who wants to wait for the next time lighting strikes and you get that feeling. The next time you think “woah, what the fuck is this, wait a minute.” Because even if you do think that, they’ll likely be thinking of tacos. And you don’t want to wait for the stars to align, and why would you. That thing doesn’t happen very often, and time alone is mostly spent drifting towards and around insanity. It’s mostly spent drifting around thoughts of that thing.
It felt like you were doing something, and at the end of the day that’s all you were looking for. You just wanted to feel productive, like you were contributing to the greater good in one way or another. It was something you could put on a resume, so fostering dogs wasn’t nothing, however it rarely felt like work.
It beat drinking by yourself, that’s for sure, you did that for long enough, and sooner or later you had to start asking yourself some tough questions. And let’s face it, you’d rather stare at these pups than stare in the mirror.
It may not have felt like work, but hey, they weren’t gonna let themselves out of their crates to piss. You got thumbs, and that was something.
It wasn’t like they were plants or robots, these guys and gals had personality, hell, you could call them guys and gals. Fritz, the main guy, your permanent one, was a real shit. Cute as fuck, but a real shit. But you loved him, and you forgave him for being such a shit. But if ever it did feel like work, it was usually because of him. He was the jealous type, and small as fuck, you never saw a dog who hated other dogs like Fritzy hated every other dog he came across. You would say to him, “why can’t you just play like every other dog on the god damn planet, why are you such a shit?” And he would jump up and lick your face, and keep licking your face. With some dogs it went beyond hate, the second he saw them all his hair would stand straight up and he wanted to kill them. But he wasn’t killing anything, because he was a little shit. He would bully the smaller fosters, and try it on the bigger ones until they eventually had enough of his shit and would beat his little ass. You would say to him, “how many dogs need to beat your ass before you get that you’re a little shit?” And he would jump up and maniacally lick your face.
Patches, the latest long term foster, put Fritz in his place the other day after Fritz was bullying a little guy. Fritz yelped and bared his teeth, but Patches just calmly held him down as if to say, “look at you, you’re such a shit,” and you laughed and sipped your beer, because Fritz had it coming.
Patches was choice, he’d seen some shit in his day, was locked in a trailer somewhere in the sticks with a bunch of other dogs. He was scared shitless of you when you first got him. You couldn’t go within 5 feet of him or he would whine out of pure fear, shake uncontrollably, and his stomach would make this crazy rumbling noise. You didn’t know exactly what the previous owners did to him, and you didn’t really wanna know. But now he slept on your head at night and he’d whine when you weren’t petting him.
Outside of work, you spent about 87% of your time with dogs. And not at dog parties with other dog owning humans. Only dogs. You felt justified for talking to yourself so much. You just said all the bullshit that came out of your face to them, then told them how cute and stupid they were. So it felt more like a give and take. And if they barked you would say, “shuttt upppp,” then you would pet their faces. They would keep you up sometimes with their barking, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
You’d call all of them “buddy.” You’d say, “hey buddy,” “what’s up there buddy,” but then you took in a dog actually named “Buddy,” and boy, was that a confusing couple of days for everybody involved.
Patches recently got himself a little girlfriend, you teased him mercilessly, but it did’t phase him. They run around the yard, biting each other’s necks, while you’d leave Fritz in the bedroom. Fritz wouldn’t stand for other dogs enjoying themselves; Fritz the Fun Police, you’d call him.
Fritz loved eating shit. At first it was just his shit, now it was everybody’s shit. You’d catch him in the act and yell, “HEY,” and he’d get the last few bites before you ran over to stop him. You’d say, “Stop eating shit, you fuckin’ weirdo,” and he’d jump up and try to lick your face, but you’d swat him away because his breath smelled like shit.
Fritz and Patches tolerated each other, sometimes they’d attempt some form of playing, but Fritz was dumb and a shit, so he didn’t know exactly how to play. They were indifferent towards each other, but that’s all you could really hope for with Fritz. But they were your core crew for the time being, until Patches eventually gets adopted, but you didn’t want to think about that. For now, they were your guys, and you weren’t alone, ever if you were the only one drinking. Patches slept on your head, Fritz curled up at the back of your knee, he’d contour with how your leg would bend.
I was at the point that when I woke up, I felt every single beer from the night prior. Even if I just had like one or two with dinner, it weighed me down a tad the next day. So when I would have one or two an hour, while out with friends for hours on end, I felt like throwing myself off a bridge for the next three days. It was like someone laid concrete in your stomach and your head, and filled your pockets and shoes with wet sand, then chuckled at you for moving so slowly. And then forced you to re-watch your actions of hours upon hours of one or two beers an hour.
Last night was a one or two an hour nights, and I was driving across a bridge earlier today to another friends surprise birthday party. I wasn’t going to know anyone at this party except for the surprise-ee, so essentially I wasn’t going to know anyone there. I was feeling every single hour and feeling shaky, I crossed the bridge and had to pick up some beers, couldn’t show up empty handed. I hand to keep my hands occupied. It was like when you’re dancing and you’re white and you don’t know what to do with your hands, so you have one or two beers an hour, but just to keep your hands occupied.
So it was starting soon and I had already crossed the bridge. I went to a coffee shop to kill time and try to look interesting while reading a book and drinking a latte, but I was filled with dread and concrete and wet sand and replays of my actions. It was like when you’re having a forced conversation at a surprise birthday party, and you can see the disinterest in the person’s eyes, and you know you don’t have anything to say after the next thing you have planned to say, and you can feel their eyes kinda looking through you to see who they’re going to talk to next. So after you say the last uninteresting thing, you ask them if they want one of the beers you brought, but they say no thanks and pity you with a sigh and a smile, and you walk over and get a beer and mercifully let them go over to whoever it was their eyes drifted towards.
The last panic attack I had was on Mother’s Day, well technically Mother’s Day night, well technically it was past midnight so it was the Monday after Mother’s Day. I was about to fall asleep, I went to bed. I was living with my sister and we had a few brews while watching the Yankees and at some point I said, “I’m so excited to sleep tonight, it’s gonna be great.” I had a few brews and I was so tired, I had far too many brews the night before and was hungover all of Mother’s Day. I had too many brews the night before and stayed up until 6 in the morning. I woke up a little before 11 and went down to where our childhood house used to be and picked some wild growing flowers for Mother’s Day. So me and my siblings went to my parents house and we all gave her flowers, separately, we had never done that before. She said “wow! I’ve never had so many flowers!” We never got her much of anything for Mother’s Day, just our presence and my dad would make a cake or something. But this year we all got flowers, separately, unplanned. So take that for what it’s worth. And we did that and it was fine, we gave her some flowers and ate cake and talked about stuff and it was fine, the cake was quite good, cheese cake, my mom put the cake dishes out and attempted to serve the coffee, but the coffee wasn’t ready yet, so we had the cake without coffee, but it was still quite good. Blueberry compote on top, it was warm and the cheesecake was cold. My dad thought he fucked up the graham cracker crust, but it held just fine. My sister left because she had dogs to tend to. Me and my brothers hung around for a little while longer, but eventually left. I left and headed to my sisters, I was staying in the basement. A few days earlier I roasted garlic in olive oil at my sister’s house, so now I had a jar of garlic flavored olive oil and roasted garlic, in the same jar, it was fantastic. I used it with almost everything. I went back to my sister’s and I made some biscuits, and I made some eggs, and I used the garlic oil and some garlic cloves to fry the eggs, and put them on top of a freshly made biscuit with some kimchee. It was quite good, almost as good as the cheese cake with the blueberry compote. The blueberries were warm. I worked with a chef who showed me the roasting garlic in oil trick, I loved it, used it with almost everything. He said “make sure you refrigerate it, because it can actually cause botulism if kept at room temperature. And that’s actually pretty serious.” So I made a bunch a few days before Mother’s Day, and put it in a jar and forgot about it for 10 minutes or so. No big deal, it had to cool down anyway. I used it to sauté some kale a few days before Mother’s Day, and it was quite good, and I didn’t get botulism because I was keeping it in a fridge, except for the 10 minutes I forgot about it. So I was at my sisters and I fried some eggs up with the garlic oil and a few cloves and had a few brews and watched the Yankees and I was so excited to sleep. I went down to the air mattress in the basement and I was so tired, I laid down and my stomach felt a little funny, almost as if I’d been drinking for two days, or I was dying of botulism, the disease thing I vaguely remember hearing about a few months prior. I decided it was botulism and forced myself to stay up, because otherwise I was going to die in my sleep, I was sure of it. My sister was a nurse, but more importantly she was no stranger to panic attacks. So she could easily talk me off this irrational ledge. I went upstairs and she was asleep on the couch. I got some water and went back downstairs, I was laughing to myself, I was laughing at myself, I knew I didn’t have botulism, but I was certain that I most definitely had botulism. It wasn’t Mother’s Day, well it wasn’t Mother’s Day anymore technically, but it was, because I hadn’t my slept yet. I felt myself drifting off, but I forced myself to stay awake. I googled “botulism in…” and garlic oil was one of the first things the search engine guessed. I was justified. The first words that I read in the search were “extremely rare,” but I was sure I was going to have all the symptoms. I researched for 10 minutes, I didn’t have any of the symptoms. I was laughing to myself, at myself. I was drifting off to thoughts of my own wake, people lining up to say sorry to my parents, tell them what a great guy I was. I pictured the chef who warned me about botulism telling my mom what a great worker and guy I was. But it wouldn’t mean anything, no amount of flowers would help. I couldn’t go to sleep because I knew what would happen, and it was Mother’s Day, even if technically it wasn’t anymore, I hadn’t slept yet.
A young man has Tuesday work hours to look forward to, and that ain’t right. Things aren’t going his way.
A frustrated young barista is going to tell you what’s wrong with the world, and what’s wrong with you. Nothing is wrong with him, he’s perfect.
Snow and monotony weigh heavy on this every day working guy. All he wants is a nice dinner to come home to, is that too much to ask?