I apologize for the recent silence. It is due to a few factors.
- The holidays were upon me, and I partook in mass amounts of family time, whereby I spent much of it asleep on the couch with my mouth agape in a food-induced coma.
- I recently started a new job and, not wanting my new employers to think I am a lazy punk, I have actually been working hard for them.
- I also recently bought a car, a big boy decision whose trepidation I cope with by researching every tiny detail and endlessly parsing numbers and haggling with multiple dealers until they all hate me and sell me a car at a lower price just to make me go away. I will post about this decision soon.
- Thanks to you, my post about Santa went viral, and I have been unsure how to best follow that.
But I am a blessed man. Some of you have asked me why I have not been blogging. Julia ran into a friend today at Costco who asked her why I’ve gone silent. So she has encouraged me to write tonight. I love her for this.
So being a story teller, I thought it would be most appropriate to begin 2014 with a self-depricating tale of my own foolishness, hence the title of this post.
I started a new job recently. We had a meeting with a client today in downtown Atlanta. People that live inside the I-285 perimeter will tell you that Atlanta has Midtown, Downtown, Buckhead, and I think there might be an Uptown. I’m never sure because from out here in the suburbs, everything inside the perimeter is “downtown” to me. If you find this to be an uncultured perspective on life in Atlanta, you will certainly want to read on, as I am about to prove your theory.
Our meeting finished just after noon, so we decided to go to a nearby Japanese dive for lunch. As we walked in, I leaned over to Brent, one of my employers, and asked, “So what do you get when you guys come here?”
“Bento box,” he said firmly, pointing to the item on the menu. I saw “chicken teriyaki” and my mind was made.
“I’ll have the chicken teriyaki bento box,” I said to the girl behind the counter.
She appeared as though she was two holes away from getting her facial piercing merit badge, and seemed annoyed by the fact that I was in a good mood on this frigidly cold, blustery winter day. For a moment, I felt thankful I was able to watch my food being prepared just on the other side of the sneeze glass. I glanced over at the food inspection certificate on the wall. “100 A,” it read. I relaxed a bit inside.
Once our food was ready, we picked it up and sat down. The bento box had salad (which I did not eat), edamame, fried rice with teriyaki chicken, and four California rolls with wasabi and ginger on the side. Suddenly, I realized how hungry I was, and I reached for the edamame first.
Now, I should say I know virtually nothing about edamame. I only learned such a thing exists a year or two ago when Julia passed them to me as a snack. “What’s this crap?” I asked, staring at the tiny green peas with my brow furrowed.
“It’s edamame,” Julia replied without looking at me. She was unimpressed with my skepticism, though she knows I do not take to new foods lightly.
“Eda…” I trailed off. “They look like peas,” I said.
“They are peas. Try them.” She had that tone in her voice that hinted subtly at a dare. I like peas, so that day I decided edamame were on the “Hayden approved” list.
So sitting in front of my edamame today over lunch, I reached for them first, thinking Julia would be impressed when I told her I ate edamame today. They were cold. Unexpected, but acceptable. They were also encased in pods with tiny little hairs. Did I eat them like this last time? I wondered. Suddenly, I couldn’t remember.
I looked over at Brent. He had gone straight for the meat first. My kind of guy. I looked over at Adam, who was telling us about how he had gotten an Xbox One for his birthday, but without any games to play on it, his only option was to use it as a $500 voice-controlled channel changer for his cable TV. So he wasn’t much help, either. I was on my own.
Then, I thought about green beans and snap peas and snow peas, all of which are consumed pod and all. Suddenly feeling unusually confident in this, I took a sasquatch-sized bite into the edamame pod, tearing it sideways like a lumberjack might bite off a slab of beef jerky.
But edamame pods are not to be taken down easily, and as I tore the pod with my teeth, a line of edamame pod strings hung awkwardly between my fist and my mouth. I struggled and tore until enough of them had broken free for me to have a mouthful.
Crunchy, I thought to myself as I continued to chew. And chew. And chew.
As I chewed, I began to wonder why people like edamame. It tasted the way a vegetable garden smells. It was bland, and distinctly earthy. About the time I began to think I would likely not have another bite (due to the amount of work involved), Adam leaned over and politely said to me, “You know, Hayden, you don’t have to eat the pods.”
“Ah,” I said, suddenly remembering that Julia had never given me the pods. I reached for my napkin to dispose of the wad of peas and string in my mouth. In good company but feeling a bit embarrassed, I was reminded of David Spade’s quote from Tommy Boy:
Yes, I am.
So what did I have for lunch today? Edamame with a side of humility. And they were both good for me.