OT: S#*t John says
Saturday was… interesting. I went with John to his 40th high-school reunion. Mind you, he went to a small-town private all-boys Catholic school, so his class was small. And it wasn’t a big fancy do, just a potluck at someone’s house.
(Warning: This is going to be a long story leading up to John’s words of hilarity. The buildup is all part of it and it wouldn’t be as funny without it.)
So, for those who know me — tell me, how much was I looking forward to going to this thing? A bunch of people I don’t know, inane small talk, having to put on an interested face when I couldn’t care less… yup, you guessed it. I’d rather go to the dentist. But this is one of those things you do when you’re part of a couple. The event was scheduled from 4:00 to 9:00; John promised we’d hang out a couple of hours tops, then he’d take me to dinner. OK, I can last through two hours. I figured we wouldn’t eat any of the potluck stuff, since we were going to dinner afterward.
It was OK at first. A flurry of greetings and introductions; looking at old yearbook photos; hearing some funny stories. I found out the host had four dogs, but unfortunately, they were all being kept in the bedroom upstairs. The table piled up with food, and I saw John starting to chow down on some hot hors d’oeuvres and homemade pizza. So much for not eating because we were going to dinner. And as he settled into various conversations, I felt my willingness to put on a face slipping away. The two-hour mark passed, and there I was, sitting outside (they had set up tables and chairs in the back yard), cold (I was wearing a sundress and it was overcast), hungry (I nibbled a few baby carrots, nothing more), bored out of my mind. I saw a few plus-ones sitting around, looking equally bored, but I didn’t have it in me to reach out to them. I went on my phone and entertained myself with that for a while… until the battery died. Finally, I went inside, went into their den and settled myself on a couch in the far corner, hoping I wouldn’t be seen.
Let’s see… no phone, so now what? I checked out the host’s bookcases. There was nothing in them but religious tomes and books about dogs. Speaking of which, I even entertained the idea of sneaking upstairs and hanging out with the dogs, but I didn’t think that would go over well if I was caught. So, realizing I wasn’t going to find any sort of distraction, I wrapped myself up in an afghan, curled up into the corner of the couch facing away from the room, and shut my eyes.
John found me there at 7:15. He promised we’d be out of there by eight. I groaned, but figured OK, I’ve made it this far. But let me tell you, kids — forget watching paint dry. There is nothing more boring than being a guest at someone else’s high school reunion. And did I mention I don’t do well with strangers? Or that it’s even worse when I’m hungry? By now, I was starving. I looked at the potluck table. The usual stuff — pizza. KFC. Chips and dip. Lasagna (now cold). Croissant sandwiches. Soggy salad. NO. Don’t start picking at that crap, Erica. You’ll be sorry. Wait for dinner.
(At least I got to see the dogs. They finally let them out.)
When we at long last left, I was lightheaded with hunger, but relieved to be out of there. John asked where I’d like to eat — of course, he wasn’t hungry, because he’d been chowing down for the past four hours! I said let’s just keep it simple; there’s a little Italian place in his town square, and he could maybe get a bowl of soup and I’d get dinner. So we drove to the town square; because everything is in a radius of few blocks, we parked in front of the Starbucks, which we’d be going to after dinner, and walked two blocks to our restaurant.
It looked the same as we approached, so we walked in. But once inside, I realized it was completely different. And then we were seated and handed menus… it wasn’t our Italian restaurant anymore. Apparently, that had gone out of business, and we were now sitting in a brand new Asian Fusion restaurant.
Translated? Pretentious foodie crap. Weird combinations and sauces and unidentifiable ingredients. I looked at the menu and my heart sank. Nothing simple, and certainly nothing inexpensive. Example? How about chicken salad sliders with truffles, currants and kewpie mayo? WTF is kewpie mayo?? Whenever I saw something I might have liked, it was immersed in something asinine. Yellowtail with jalapeno reduction. Who the hell puts jalapeno peppers on fish?? What the hell are “crispy kalettes”? Ooooh — “duet of beets”! What do they do for an encore — repeat on you? I can’t stand beets. I don’t even want a freaking solo of beets, let alone a duet.
It was too late to get up and leave, and my head was spinning at this point; I needed to eat something, anything. It was nearly 9:00. So I ordered a dinner salad and a bowl of soup with soba noodles, mushrooms and other vegetables. Can’t really go wrong with that, right? John ordered an appetizer Caesar salad. Naturally, it had kale in it, because kale is trendy.
My salad was fine; you can’t really screw up a dinner salad. Then I got my soup. The fact that the broth had a reddish tinge to it was my first hint that my taste buds were about to be assaulted. I then tasted it… it was So. Effing. Hot. And I don’t mean heat-wise. I mean spicy, burn all the way down to your gut spicy. And I hate spicy food. I don’t even like black pepper.
By now, I could have put my head on the table and cry. All I wanted to do was eat! John asked if I wanted to order something else, and I said no. I just wanted to make the best of this and get out — I ate my salad, and I managed to spoon the noodles and vegetables out of the broth and choke them down, drinking copious quantities of water every few bites. Mind you, John likes spicy food, so when I was done and the bowl of broth was left, he took it and tasted it himself, intending to finish it. But after one spoonful, he made a face.
“Forget too spicy,” he said. “This just isn’t good.”
“So it isn’t just me?” I asked.
“No, this is awful,” he replied. “It tastes like fermented rat pee.”
Aaaaand then the whole damn day and the tedium of the reunion and dead batteries and boring people and hunger and lousy food crashed down on me and I started laughing so hard, I thought I’d pass out. Tears were leaking out of my eyes and I had to clamp my hands over my mouth. “Please,” I wheezed. “Let’s just pay and get out of here.” Of course, the hostess tried to sell us on dessert (what the hell is Japanese cheesecake? Does it have seaweed in it? Miso crust? Wouldn’t be surprised!), but we politely refrained. While John was signing the credit card receipt, a man sitting behind him was looking at the menu, trying to decide on what to order. John grabbed his customer copy and scrawled, “Good luck trying to find something edible, dude!” Then he folded it up and kept motioning like he was going to toss it onto the man’s table. “NO!” I hissed, grabbing for it, and finally I snatched it from his hand and we hightailed it out of there, never to return.
So now, “fermented rat pee” is a permanent part of our private lexicon. (Guess it’s not so private now that I’m sharing it with the world!) Only for this wonderfully twisted man would I put up with such an abysmal afternoon/evening!! 😀
But here’s what I want to know: How does John know what fermented rat pee tastes like??