The 307

My daughter introduced me to this Thai restaurant (insert a Homer Simpson food-inspired gargle of longing here). It’s tucked away in a strip mall, not well-advertised. The staff includes several busy Asian waiters and waitresses, all of whom have memorized every item on the vast menu by their numbers. The menu is literally pages long.

Every time I go (which, I admit, is probably a little too often), I watch the servers whisk past with plates of Pad Thai, green curry or giant bowls of hot and sour soup, and I think, I have to try that!

But when the waitress arrives, what comes out of my mouth is, “I’ll have the 307 with two peanut sauces.” If my waitress is Jeannie, she will instantly convert my order into a rapid string of heavily accented words: “You-have-the-vermicelli-with-spring-roll-pork-tiger-shrimp-two-peanut-sauce-yes?”

“Yes,” I reply, rapturously, “And a coconut smoothie.”

“Thank-you, thank-you!”

The food comes quickly, no matter how busy the establishment is. The spring roll, barbecued pork, and tiger shrimp are arranged on a bed of vermicelli in a simple white bowl, with pickled vegetables and shredded cucumber on the border. The peanut sauce is prepared on-site, and comes in its own fluted little side bowls. It is the epitome of yum.

I can’t get past the 307. It is so unimaginably good, I just cannot order anything else. I want to, I plan to, but “307” is what I utter, every time.

Jeannie flies over, on her way past to another table. “You like?” she grins.

“It’s so good,” is all I can manage to say. I have a piece of spring roll in my mouth, and it is taking away my power of speech.

“Thank-you, thank-you,” laughs Jeannie. “You try fish sauce next time, yes?”

“Yes,” I reply, earnestly.

I’m a filthy liar.

Down on the Farm: My Farmville Demise

I had to deactivate my Facebook this week. I realized I had a problem with my farm.

I’d been building a happy empire on Farmville for the past two years. I have to say, even now, my farm was epic. I expanded several times, crops were abundant, and my animals were all corralled and arranged tidily in their pens. I had gardens and orchards and full barns and coops. I had crop mastery in fifteen different areas and the signs to prove it. I had an entire little village with a town square. Every morning, the first thing I would do in my wake-up routine would be to log in to Facebook and commence to farm. I just never tired of it.
 

Farmville is very tight with its farm bucks. I needed sixty to expand again, and it took me a full year to earn the thirty that I had. Nevertheless, I plodded on with my planting and harvesting and tending, determined to wait out the year.

One morning last week, a Farmville popup appeared while I was planting lilac. I was asked if I would like to play a free mystery dart in the Mystery Game.  I happily clicked my consent, and “threw” a virtual dart at a virtual balloon. I won a fabulous, rare prize: a peacock with a glorious spreading tail. Perhaps the sparkles were still hanging in the air in front of my eyes when Farmville asked if I would like to throw another mystery dart. Of course, I wanted to. This time, I procured a lovely snowy owl. I was still oooh-ing when I glanced into my farm bucks corner and saw this number: 10. Yes. Farmville had taken twenty of my hard-earned farm bucks for the second throw.

I had to face the fact that my utter devastation was really a red flag. I had to stop playing this game. There are others, more addicted than I, who are trapped for hours on their virtual farms. These people actually pay REAL money for their farm bucks. At least, I never sank as low as that.

Knowing myself the way I do, I had to get right out of Facebook. Deleting the application would not have been enough. I would know it was there….the temptation would always be niggling at me.

So now, I am catching up on emails and writing blog entries instead of harvesting crops.

Sometimes, when I am busy out here in the real world, I am troubled with a recurring thought….My lilacs are withered…

Will I ever be free?

Strolling

     I watched a lady push a stroller down the street the other day. It was a pretty day–clear August sunshine, all the yards lush and green. The lady ambled along, taking her sweet time, while the toddler leaned back in the stroller, enjoying the view.

     Even before I saw her face, I  knew this lady had to be a grandma. Moms do not push strollers like that. Moms charge along the sidewalk, doubling a stroller ride with a bout of frantic exercise or a committment to walk the dog. They have to get to the bank before it closes or home before the oven timer goes off.  But Grandma feels no need to rush. A walk is a walk–pure and simple. Content in the moment, she peruses passing gardens and attempts to smile at joggers as they hurtle by. She checks on her passenger, adjusts hats or blankets, murmurs a few words in baby-talk. She remembers the multitude of times she put her own babies in strollers, and dreamily wishes she had walked more slowly back then. But, no regrets. Her second chance has come. She relishes it. A languid walk on a sunny afternoon. Grandmas put the “stroll” back in “stroller.”