Maybe I’m Sweet Enough?

March 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s after 10:30 pm – I got home about half an hour ago from a girls’ farewell dinner for my friend M who’s moving to LA (hubby’s already over there and M and the kids are flying on Saturday), and I’m now blogging from a near horizontal position. A new approach for me but I’m sure Hemingway would approve. The English tenant from upstairs is sitting on the back step smoking and talking to someone from home. I’ve already gathered that the person on the other end is in an abusive relationship, and our girl upstairs is plaintively begging ‘Katie’ to get out. Katie, wherever you are, I agree. Problem right now is, I can hear everything really clearly without listening, which is extremely unfortunate.

“Do you love him? Do you really, really love him? You do? You want to stay with him? No, no, you’re not, not at all, all right? You’re a strong, independent woman, you’ll be absolutely fine, but you can’t stay in an abusive relationship. I know, darling, I know…”

I could go on. It is going on. And she’s making good sense, our girl upstairs – “Don’t stand for it, don’t you stand for it, you just say ‘I don’t know who the hell you are speaking to me like that, you can start treating me properly or pack your bags’ – oh, what, what? Darling?” – I just feel like an unwilling voyeur.

So. Let’s try to block our ears and la la la our way into a different topic. There was something I was planning to tell you… perhaps it was about my ability to attract people to my seat on an otherwise near-empty bus. In one trip to Crows Nest tonight, I shared my seat on three consecutive occasions. Whenever someone got on, they’d march down the bus and make a beeline for me. I’d drag my bag onto my lap and keep reading, we’d go along for a bit, they’d get off, someone else would get on and head straight for me like the last person paid them to do it, and on it went. I’d like to know why me, because what I need you to imagine is the rest of the bus, full of solo travellers. One commuter a seat, except not on my seat. No, by the end I didn’t even bother taking my bag off my lap. There really wasn’t any point – or time – before the next person ran right up the bus to cosy up beside me. I suppose part of me feels gladdened that I could safely deduce that I was not the scary person whom everyone avoids on the bus, whose happy fly-catching-and-eating ritual is guaranteed to make others deeply uneasy. Nope, no flies on me.

Everything at dinner was sweet. We went to a place called Waqu, Japanese fusion I suppose, where there’s a set menu. I dislike set menus as a general rule – it usually means you’re all about to get shafted – but they’ve become very popular as a way of showcasing a kitchen’s talent, and this aspect I do quite like. Lots of things on this 5 course ‘degustation’ sounded pretty good, and there were two things – a big marinated tuna rice ball (called a sushi ball but looking more like a very attractive edible tennis ball) and my venison (seared, served with a sauce cassis, mandarin compote and kuri puree) – that were excellent. Unsurprisingly, the desserts were also very good (coconut blanc-mange and a deadly gateau chocolat). Actually, so was something right at the start: the spicy softshell crab taco. Sounded rather regionally conflicted but tasted a treat. But pretty much everything else was sweet – much too sweet for me. I don’t want a sweet potato mille-feuille for dinner, and in general I do not want fruit with my meat. Or my seafood, for that matter. It’s not that I don’t like contrasting flavours – I get it, and I do – it’s that there wasn’t sufficient contrast. By the time we hit the dessert course, I felt I’d been eating toffee snaps all night.

Nice place, though. Ambient. Comfortable. Impeccably polite and smooth as only the Japanese can be. I often idly wish I were Japanese. So much style and finesse and beauty and rocking good taste – so why was everything overly sweet? Perhaps it’s because their cuisine is traditionally not known for desserts… yes, maybe that’s it, maybe there’s an over-compensation or actually just a determination to master Western desserts and indeed a Western sweetened palate. Well, to that end they have royally succeeded, but my own tooth is simply not that sweet.

Now I’ve crashed and burned and have slid further beneath the covers. It’s also now quite a bit later and we have an early morning (you want to see a pound of flesh? Come look at Llew’s raw behind: he’s not even home from work yet), so I’ll be saying sayonara for now.

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9 Comments

  1. Lilian Nattel said,

    I would be uncomfortable listening to that conversation and I would also want to be ripping through the phone and saying, Go leave now don’t announce it, just go before it gets worse.

    And I don’t like too much sweet, though, unlike my kids, I can’t stand garlic for breakfast.

    • doctordi said,

      That’s just it, Lilian, I *wasn’t* listening, I was unavoidably HEARING, and yes, I was acutely uncomfortable. Hated it. High density living means cafes, bars and bookstores, but sometimes the quarters are just too close for comfort.

  2. Grad said,

    I can think of NOTHING more entertaining than looking at Llews raw behind! Do you know how to post photos??

    • doctordi said,

      You crack me up, Graddikins – I’ll tell Llew you said that, and I’ll wager he’ll BLUSH, you naughty girl!

  3. kate said,

    You are definitely sweet enough Di! Grad, you are hysterical, your comment made me laugh out loud!!

    • doctordi said,

      Maybe that’s why I love lemons so much…

      Me too – Grad actually has all the best lines on this blog!!

  4. Norwichrocks said,

    Overheard conversations like that are SO hard to ignore. I used to live next door to an elderly couple in Norfolk (England, not Virginia) who looked like Miss Marple extras but who, behind closed doors of an evening, would be shouting their heads off at each other. I’d be regularly regaled with “How DARE you?!” and “I have NEVER HEARD such rubbish, woman!” after midnight through my bedroom wall. Talk about disturbing.

    Oh and I’m absolutely the opposite of you on buses. People avoid me. I have no idea why… 😉

  5. doctordi said,

    IMPOSSIBLE to ignore – it was like she was sitting on the end of the bed dictating. I’m loving the old couple, so proper by day, but by night…

    I can’t imagine anyone avoiding you on a bus or anywhere else.

  6. litlove said,

    I think there must be something wrong with me – I come over all fascinated by overheard conversations. Our bedroom windows give onto the street and in summer, when they’re open, we often hear couples arguing on their way back from the pub. Mister Litlove and I hold a little crown court and try to figure out who’s in the wrong. Is this bad of us? Try not to think any the worse of us… 😉 The meal sounds nice but way too sugary for me – you may imagine that on a sugar free diet, Japanese and Chinese food can sometimes be hazardous.

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