Monday, December 19, 2005

Tuna Steaks with Lemongrass and Chamomile Glaze

I went to work today, fully knowing that the staff pot luck was in the afternoon. Everybody was bringing something (me included—Jill’s leftover stuffed mushrooms from last night), and I knew that I was going to eat like a hog. Why, then, did I say that it would be a good idea to have tuna steaks for dinner?

I’ve never had tuna steak before, and neither has Jill. That’s the only explanation.

As of the moment, she’s out working the box office for the theater, and I’m sitting on the couch, still not hungry. I feel awful because she busted her ass before she had to go making this food for me—because I decided that I wanted it, anyway—and I’m not hungry. Not even a little bit. I am an asshole.

A long day of newspaper reading and websurfing ground to a halt when two-thirty rolled around and the whole of the office gathered in the training room for the potluck. I’d already eaten a cup of soup, a brownie, a buckeye and had a smoothie, but there it all was anyway—pasta salad, cheese balls, hot wings, Swedish meatballs, sloppy joe mix. There were buckeyes and brownies, cookies and cheese-filled chicken, too. And beer, which I couldn’t pass up at work.

The thirty (or so) of us ate and drank, passed out gifts to one another (I got a neat-ass miniature air hockey table that I can’t try out until I get some C batteries), and generally had a good time. I ate a lot. More than usual. Four plates of food or so, and I couldn’t bring myself to stop. My reasoning, both at the time and right now, is that it just tasted good, which makes me feel even worse. I knew what would be waiting for me when I got home, and I ignored it.

Jill was stirring the glaze when I walked in, bordering a freak-out because she had to leave for the theater. I took the fork, stirred the sauce, and finished cooking the steaks, my stomach still full.

The apartment filled up with the smell of the tuna and the cat laid on the kitchen floor, spreading out, splaying his toes and mewing the way he does. He wanted the steaks, steaming in the refrigerator, tempting him, asking for one thing only—to be eaten. That wouldn’t happen. Not tonight, anyway.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

TANK's Southbank Shuttle

I live on 7th Street in Covington, KY, and I work on 7th Street in Cincinnati, OH. Sometimes I walk to work, which takes about 30 minutes, but with the weather being what it is lately (read: cold), I’ve been taking the bus to work quite a bit. It shows up on the corner in front of the Cock & Bull every fifteen minutes, costs a dollar (the usual buses cost $1.25), and it’s not overcrowded, which generally bodes for a decent ride, as long as creepy bus guy isn't around (he’ll be reviewed at a later date).

The driver in the morning—the 7:05 bus—is generally a really nice guy. He’s got a mustache and wishes everyone a good day as they get off the bus. Sometimes, though, he’s too nice.

A couple months ago, Jill bought me a new pair of pants and I was still getting used to them. The bus came, I got on, and put my dollar into the little cash pillar that sits next to the driver’s seat.

“Morning,” I said.
“Hey,” the driver said, smiling.
As I started toward the seat that I usually sit in (on the left, just in front of the steps), he stopped me.
“Now, I’m not sure, but I think you left your fly down, brother.”
I tried to play it off cool, thanked him, and sat down.

I pulled the zipper up as silently and subtly as I could, thinking all the while of two things—a—he’d looked at my crotch (does he do that every time I get on?), and b—that there might be some kind of unspoken brotherhood that I’ve never before known. I am a member of the fly club, I guess.

It was embarrassing to a degree (it wasn’t that bad), but it kind of made me feel closer to him, his quiet manner, his Hulk Hogan syntax, his rockin’ mustache.

The usual afternoon driver is a messy-haired, good-natured fat man who only says, “Hello” and “very good, thank you” when asked how he is. He also calls out the stops very loudly when approaching them, which is nice and makes me wonder what partaking of the public transportation in the days of old was like…his voice calms me down and reminds me that the work day is over.

The Southbank, in my opinion, is the business. It makes me feel metropolitan, in a backwards way. It also makes me feel like I’m part of a community, an animal of routine, and an all-around okay guy. I guess I am.