October 23rd, 2002

The gentleman is always properly dressed

Curse you for being so adorable!

This morning I was late.

Actually, I was late and grumpy. It was raining hard enough that I had to forego my morning walk to the T in favor of the much less calming ride on the #96 Bus. In spite of my being late, the bus was crowded, which may have solely been a function of so many people being afraid to sit because many of the window seats had sprinklings of water on them. These were not the standing pools that you see from time to time, but merely a few drops of moisture that could have been cleared away with simple swipe of an unadorned hand. To make matters worse, just about everyone standing in the aisle had developed acute cases of Rosa Parks Syndrome, refusing to move backwards into the bus and occasionally giving dirty looks to people who tried to clamber by.

Ok, so I didn’t get enough sleep last night.

I got to Davis to find that, as is often the case, the rain had cowed the minions of the Metro. My expectations for an easy and free morning crossword to complete during my ride in town were dashed. Since I hadn’t brought a book with me and have to wait until tomorrow for the new Phoenix, I was looking at a half-hour ride staring at the wall or pretending to be interested in the ads in the train. Greater Boston. Mustn’t gawk at other people...

Truth be known, I was pretty invested in being miserable this morning. As I crossed the turnstile to get to the platform, though, I caught sight of a glove with a Hello Kittie appliqué on the back that someone had dropped, and that someone following had placed somewhere conspicuous. I had to smile. It was almost as though this little cartoon being sporting a pink bow on her oversized noggin had leapt up and kicked me in the jimmy (complete with a tiny-voiced "HIYA!") in an attempt to get me to lighten up.

And damn it, it worked.
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The gentleman is always properly dressed

Free associations on cabbage

I made stuffed cabbage last night. The original plan was to make the football-sized poulet vert*, but on discovering that I didn’t have any kitchen twine, settled for the much easier Savoy variant, petits choux. I used leftover chicken as the base for the stuffing, though I think it would have worked better with a moister meat like ground pork or beef. Also included was a sizeable hunk of bread and no fewer than three onion variants.

They’re gloriously tasty.

The exercise got me to thinking, though, because my only maternal male cousin was called petit chou by his mom for the longest time. It’s a curious choice of pet names. I mean, really... unless you're really hungry, cabbage of any kind doesn't come off as particularly endearing. I’m wondering if it might be a regional holdover that managed to stay in my family over the ages.

Personally, I don’t recall having an ongoing pet name. My dad occasionally would call me "hot dog," but usually only if I was being a wise-ass. My mom would also toss out "Pierre" from time to time, but I think that had more to do with the fact that she wanted me to be named "Pierre Michel" instead of the far less exotic "Peter Paul." (No Mounds or Almond Joy jokes from you.)

My cousin grew up into the closest living incarnation of a Ken doll I can imagine. He showed up at our last family reunion looking like he had been decked out for a visit to Barbie's Dream House. He walked over the hill and posed with perfectly coifed hair and clothes that were meant to be casual but expensive-looking. He had a pretty young blonde woman (too short to be Barbie, sadly) at his left arm and a freshly-groomed cocker spaniel on a lead at his right. Although there was a general feeling of "My God, WTF is up with that?" that circulated amongst his more earthy and much more dowdy relatives, I found I couldn't cast to many stones...

He’s a successful attorney with a client base that spans the eastern seaboard.

I’m a bureaucrat whose life stalled and then went decidedly south.

I get to thinking like this, and I realize that my life has been resting on the edge of a knife. If I can tread the path, I can turn this whole exercise into something meaningful and fulfilling. Stray, and I could well plummet into the depths waste and despair. Humans do not thrive on misery, but I think a fair number of us have come to expect it.

Better to think only of the food and not let my musings stray so far. Perhaps later, I will give you the secret to my pumpkin pie.

*That would be green chicken for the uninitiated.
**Little cabbages
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    Soul Coughing, "The Idiot Kings"