San Diego Symphony's second night of the Masterworks season showcased the power of place and personality
Garrett Harris noon, Oct. 13
The world will never again be the same. Today I made a landmark discovery, a genuine groundbreaker, and the one thing that I remember from kindergarten is learning to share, so I've decided to let the rest of humanity in on it, which means that the two or three people who might read this are now obligated to get the message out to the rest of them. Actually I remember another thing from kindergarten. It was the first day and we all had our bookbags on these round tables in front of us and the first thing Mrs. Masters asked us all was "What do you see on the desks in front of you?" I said bookbags. Everyone else said apples. It turned out that there were different colored apple-shaped cardboard cutouts in the middle of each table and so I was that kid that didn't know there was an apple on the table and became instantly aware that for my entire life everyone else would be just like everyone else and I am some kind of idiot/alien, a 3rd Rock from the sun castoff who never understood or saw things the way anybody else does. So, to offer a disclaimer, when I say that I've made a groundbreaking discovery, don't go notifying the Pentagon just yet, there's a chance you've already realized this many years ago, and still a better chance that you won't think it's all that wonderful. Anyway, here's how it went down.
For whatever reason, God decided that I should have the coolest roommate on Earth. Her name is Kristy and she works nights at a place called Sammy's Wood-Fired Pizza. Their menu actually has lots of things on it besides pizza, but I guess they call it that to attract that coveted 18-29 year old demographic that advertisers drool over. That crowd loves it some pizza. So me and my neighbor went in there tonight to kick it for a while and get some chow. We got a salad, we got a pizza that was a mistake order by someone else, or a mistake by a waitress or a cook, who knows, who cares, whatever, and we got some duck tacos. Now I don't know when the human race became so arrogant that we're even eating ducks now, I mean, it tastes exactly like chicken, what's the point? Are the ducks overpopulated? Maybe it even was chicken for all I know, and they just want to sound more exotic or sophisticated. When I picture duck-eaters, I picture rich people and British people and when I picture those people I picture sophisticality so that's how I made that connection. I think they should change the name to something like Wood-Fired Pizza & Duck Tacos. That'll draw the cool crowd, because if you know a place has duck tacos and you haven't tried it, well, don't take my word for it but you're just not with it, baby. Furthermore, while it was in fact a surprisingly tasty treat, I can't escape the lingering inquiry, why tacos? They were taco shells with duck, cabbage, tomatoes, and a mostly white liquidy saucy concoction. So why tacos? Just to get a Mexican food item on the menu, the result of some kind of restaurant menu diversity training? They do have many different cultures represented in an egregiously eclectic selection, so perhaps the taco was a cheap, lazy, 4am, the hell with it addition for the hoity-toits who feel like they need to have something Mexican before the main course, like how they bang hookers in Tijuana and then go home to their wives. OH! Zing! That might be funny but it's not even true, I just made it up because it fit so well.
One more thing about the duck tacos. They were mini-tacos. The exact size where you couldn't really eat it in one bite without cramping your jaw and resembling a mildly paralyzed gorilla, and if you took a normal bite out of it, the cabbage and tomatoes would spill out on to your plate and the liquidy saucy white stuff would seep out and run amok down your fingers, around your wrist and make it's way for your elbow. Very poor design, in my opinion. I don't know why I thought it was important to add this part.
So we were about done eating, we leaned back, we ceased resisting and let the bellies out, and naturally this was the exact point when a couple of the cute waitresses I sort of know through my roommate came over to say hi and then totally ignore us only to stay right there and talk to each other. Just kidding about the ignoring, but I feel like it's a little funnier that way. The topic was what they were going to get to eat, since they work in a restaurant with a nauseatingly variant menu and can get just about anything they want for free. One of them suggested garlic cheese bread. The other offered a rapid-fire rebuttal, because they'd already put down a pizza and didn't want to eat cheese again, so their attention shifted of course to the paying customers in their respective sections. Ha, just kidding, that's not what they did. They started talking about salads, and suddenly I had an opportunity to seize, a chance to put my incredibly impressive intellect on display, the ever-clever eavesdropper poised to interject: "But all of your salads have cheese in them too!" Boy, I tell you, when Webster gets around to putting together a video dictionary, that scene will surely be in there under "suave". So the one on the left says "Not the Asian salad or the Thai salad", and they very smoothly went back to ignoring us, but it mattered little, because it had already hit me: Girls only eat cheese once a day? No wait, that wasn't it. This is what it was, the great discovery, so get ready to be amazed or disappointed, well I guess either way you've got to be somewhat discouraged that you had to read this far, through all this mindless drivelry just to get to something you might already know, and if you don't, you might not actually find it as time-stopping as I did, but if you have indeed read this far, I might as well not waste any more of your time or mine. I wouldn't want to be like one of those TV shows that slowly builds intensity and gets you really into the moment and then just as you're ready to erupt with excitement they go to commercial, because they know that right then you aren't going to allow yourself to miss anything and the people who run these TV shows are people that sell stuff to 18-29 year olds by showing them commercials at precisely those times, so I won't be as shameless as that. I'll just come right out and say it: There is no cheese in Asian food! Think about it. Isn't it absolutely mind-blowing? It's a staple of diets everywhere else across the globe. We've all just got to get our dairy, but I'm not sure they even drink milk. We put cheese on damn near everything. I honestly believe I would sink into a deep depression beyond the point of no return if you took cheese out of my life. No pizza? No sandwiches? No cheeseburgers or cheese fries or cheese and crackers or nachos or burritos or omelettes? For crying out loud, NO PIZZA?!?!?!
Think also of the societal repercussions. No cheese-heads at Green Bay Packers games. And what culinary adjective would we use to describe lame jokes, like the ones littered all over this blog? What would you tell someone to say if they didn't want to smile for a picture? Fleas? I think this can tell us a lot about what cheese does for us. Asians are smaller than us. I bet Yao Ming was force-fed cheese by the rickshaw-ful as a child. Asians talk funny. They know how to do crazy kicking moves and break stuff with their foreheads. They don't seem to smile too much. They're not very good drivers. And they're really really smart. So it seems that there is one real benefit to not eating cheese, but when it comes down to it, at the end of the day, I'd have to go with a big beautiful block of mozzarella over a super-strong forehead. But that's just me. To the rest of the world, take this knowledge, but please, keep making cheese, even if it's wrong.