Springtime Troubles

When people ask me what my favorite season is, they should really ask me what my least favorite season is, which is spring.  It’s messy and confusing, with the conflict between the cool temperatures and the warm sun making my hands cold but my head hot, and all the dirt that settles and accumulates into the city throughout the winter is finally liberated by the springtime breezes, which always ends up in my eyeballs.  Plus, I have bad allergies, and the dirt and the pollen that fly about always, without a doubt, find their way through my airways which leave me in a season-long state of discomfort.  But the worst part of spring is what happens in my apartment.

The walls and floors are porous, so I’ve gotten used to hearing my neighbors sneeze and cough, do their dishes, and practice their guitar, but it’s also porous enough for their smells to end up in my tiny studio apartment.  With the heat on in the winter, and the AC on in the summer, I don’t get these odors, but last night I woke up in the middle of the night to the smell of someone grilling steaks and this morning to the smell of wet dog.

I don’t really care what other people do in their own homes, but when I can smell what they do, then they involve me.  This is unfortunate when you live next door to the most evil person on the planet.  She knows how much all this bothers me, so she’s been invading her odors with her evil powers where every piece of fabric that I own smells like her dog.  I swear that she uses her sorcery to absorb all the odors from everyone’s apartment and siphon them off into my stuffy little studio.  Sometimes it’s a guessing game, like, oh, what is that? is that… menthol? now what is she putting up against my closet??  that smells like.. mothballs!  The worst is when she, with her evil powers, spreads the smell of urine right where I’m sitting on my couch.  A few years back, I thought it was me.  But then, I was like, I haven’t changed my hygiene habits- I still bathe everyday.  When I realized what she was doing it really grossed me out.  Now every time I get a nasty whiff of her dog, I feel like I’m on the verge of getting pink eye.

It’s supposed to get up to 90 degrees this weekend, and I can’t wait to blast that AC so I can finally inhale without getting any gritty particles in my nose or a whiff of any disease inducing odors.

Summer can’t come soon enough.

 

Oysters Rockefeller

Whenever my parents come to visit, all they want to do is eat sushi.  It’s not that I hate sushi, but by the third day of eating sushi, it gets a little tiresome.  I ask them if they want to try any other cuisines, like Russian, or Spanish tapas, or Turkish.  Nope, they always stick with sushi, except maybe for lunch they will go to a non-trendy ramen shop in Midtown.  I’m not talking about those hip new ramen joints where foodies stand in line for an hour- I would never stand in line for an hour for ramen, by the way, heck, I wouldn’t even stand in line for any amount of time for ramen.  It’s just ramen, for Pete’s sake.  But I digress.

There is one non-sushi place they will try, however, and that’s The Oyster Bar in Grand Central.  Do not ask me why.  It’s still seafood, but this restaurant has seen better days.  It’s a remnant of Old New York, but my parents aren’t very nostalgic for Old New York, at least, not that I know of.  In fact, the Oyster Bar has a lot of Japanese tourists, for some reason.  Thank God for the Japanese tourists, right?  How can Americana survive without them, I mean, Elvis would definitely be dead without their fascination of him.  So, yes, I grew up here in America, in Buffalo, where you can’t get more Americana than that. It might seem weird now looking back on my childhood as an Asian girl wanting to be Olivia Newton-John and Judy Garland, but that’s a different story to tell for another time.  I grew up watching old black and white movies, and I remember seeing one from the 1930’s where a sophisticated debutante orders oysters Rockefeller.  I recently went back to the Oyster Bar, late one night coming back from work, and saw that it was on the menu. I quickly ordered it, having no idea what it is- do you know what it is? Well, first, it’s broiled, then second, it’s served on a half shell that’s stuffed with this creamy sauce and spinach, and somewhere within that goop, there’s supposed to be an oyster. I knew there was an oyster in the morsel that I put in my mouth because I could feel the grittiness of the sand between my teeth. I was picturing myself when ordering this dish of turning cosmopolitan, but if this is how the sophisticated and the wealthy ate back then, then- blech!

And yes, this is the same Oyster Bar that was featured in the TV show Mad Men, but that’s not how the Oyster Bar looks like now. It’s dingy and dimly lit, but clean. It looks like it hasn’t seen a remodel in decades, but some see the charm in that. Its vaulted tiled ceilings provide for loud echoes that amplify the noise to make it sound busier than it is. The torn vinyl seats at the counter make me feel like Walter Matthau will come up out of nowhere and sit right next to me. Most of the restaurant is not filled with Roger Sterlings in three-piece suits, but it’s rather a mix of domestic and foreign tourists in their fanny packs, and some commuters. There are still the Connecticut blue bloods that are grabbing a drink and a couple of oysters before they catch their train back home to Greenwich or wherever, and catching up with their second cousin once removed or their sister-in-law’s Godfather before they leave for Europe for the summer.

But thank God for the Oyster Bar, because it is still a nostalgic place which allows me to go back in time to visit the Old New York, but it also means that I don’t have to eat sushi for six days straight when my parents are in town.

Hunger

I’m hungry.  My eating habits have become so sporadic.  Can you become a diabetic by lack of eating? I’m thirsty all the time, I’m tired all the time, I’m angry all the time, I can’t focus.
I haven’t eaten all day, well that’s not true. I had a Korean taco from a food truck for lunch, it was pretty good but that was almost four hours ago, and it was tiny, and I’m still not as skinny as I want to be.   My parents are coming to town next week, and the last thing I need to hear is my mom saying how much weight I’ve gained since the last time I saw her over two years ago.
I’m thirsty.  I ordered a glass of wine last night because I thought it would be the right thing to do in a fancy restaurant, and I was sittting at the bar on a high stool.  I thought I was going to fall.  My heart didn’t even beat that loud, though, and my face wasn’t beet red like it usually is when I have a few sips.  I like wine enough, but I wish my tolerance was a lot better.  Maybe I should have had a beer, but, seriously, $35 for a bottle of the local brew?!?

I love foodtruck food- it’s tasty, small, and you’re helping out the poor guy who’s selling food out of his truck.  Food should be eaten this way.  Forget real plates and silverware, especially when you’re alone.