Friday, August 12, 2005

Bad taste in my mouth

Gentle readers, I have worked very hard these past few months not to lament our departure from cool urban metropolis to second-rate regional city. And I think, if I may say so, that I have done a damn fine job at NOT comparing the thin, too-sweet broth on my local thai green curry to the delectable stuff we used to get from Right Around the Corner, dammit. I've cheerfully exchanged tasty pub food for tuna melts in restaurants with un-ironic banquettes, and I have embraced the early-bird specials, the aquarium-sized cocktails, and the idea that "broiled" fish means soaked in butter. I make weekly forays to the big discount stores surrounded by parking lots, and, to be honest, we're pretty damn thrilled that there is an outlet of our favorite fast-food spot within a few blocks (there wasn't one that we found, ever, within the city limits of Cool Urban Met (the acronym's not gonna work).

This morning, still high on my determined "I'm gonna love it here" attitude, I dropped my daughter at preschool in the neighboring Soulless Suburb, and decided to treat myself to a caffeine fix at a local (not chain) coffee shop. It was supposed to be a Chai with non-fat milk. I ordered one from the nice woman at the counter, and tried not to flinch when she brought out a large tin canister with a powdery substance in it, which she proceeded to scoop into a paper cup. She added hot water. She steamed the milk. I pondered the kind of body-confidence that allows someone to select a sheer lace tank top (yes, see-thru) first thing in the morning. To go to work in. Gentle reader, I can't face my own gooseflesh first thing in the a.m., let alone imagine anyone else wanting to.

Anyway, what I got when I sipped my drink was god-awful. It tasted like liquefied pumpkin pie filling blended in cream. The texture was nauseatingly smooth and creamy. All in all, it was like drinking hair conditioner. WTF? So now I confess: I am homesick. I miss real bakery products that are not from a giant supermarket, and coffee that isn't served thick with syrup. I want a sandwich that does not involve a shaving-cream can-sized dousing of mayo. I want a used bookstore that isn't owned by a conglomerate. I want a store that has no parking lot out front. I don't want the person in front of me in the grocery line to be buying cases of sugary drinks for her kids. I want hip little Asian teenage guys in lowered cars, not wanna-be confederate rejects from the Marines in jacked up pick-ups. I've hit the geographical wall.


At 2:26 PM , Blogger Jesse said...

"Cool Urban Met (the acronym's not gonna work)"

It is rare when I laugh outload reading anything. But this did it to me.

Jolly good.

At 6:26 PM , Anonymous ehj2 said...

for me the center of the universe is a good used book store. i can make my own coffee, buy things online and have them mailed to me, live and travel extensively in my imagination. but there's no substitute for living within a few miles of a dozen used book stores.

"The Lantern" (Bryn Mawr's Bookshop) of Used & Rare "delectables" is geographic inches away ... and i "mine them out" about once a month.

the folks i work for travel the whole world and relinquish treasures from every local ... to a used book store in the building.

there's nothing quite like the indolent pleasure of musing on the living room floor with several small stacks of "new" old books ready to read. or having them piled up in little stacks around the bed, ready to open their voices.

yup ... i'm spoiled rotten rotten rotten. but there's just nothing i want to do about it.


At 3:02 PM , Blogger bitchphd said...

Lady, I feel your pain.

At 10:37 PM , Blogger Demetri said...


I was just in such a place this past week.

I pretty much dread having to live in one.

I also realize that I am not sure there are 15 places in the U.S. I'd rather live than where I am now (there are certainly about that many I would not mind trying). If I cull out the ones that are prohibitively expensive for an academic, it gets down below 10 or so.


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