Monday, June 02, 2008

Suicide by Sushi

When I went back to my beloved college to write a play after Don died, I got to know one of the professors I had had as an undergraduate. He asked me, non-judgmentally, how it was to wrote 'soft-core' porn.' As his subject had been Romanticism, and the Romanic poets, of which I had once fancied myself one,I did not take offense, but simply listened, as he rambled on softly, and spoke of what we were eating at faculty lunch in Wyndham as 'comfort food.' It was mostly pasta and cheese, the last of which we know is terrible for you. I had been to an acupuncturist shortly after Don's death,when I suffered, understandably, from migraines, and he stuck a needle in between my brows releasing not only what energies he might have been after but also a torrent of sobs. He asked me what was wrong, I said "My husband died," and, Asian that he was, said "Such is life." Then he stuck me again and said 'No more cheese," and that made me really cry because I still had a friend in San Francisco, Enrico, who restaurateured and made great Italian, so I said to the acupuncturist, :"First my husband dies and then you tell me 'No more cheese.'"
Don's legacy to me was Sushi, one of the few things, as he was less than adventurous, a man most comfortable at home, that he had discovered on his own, and ushered me into, stunned as I was that he expected me to sit -- where? At the bar? But I came to love it, and Kaji, the friend he had made who was a Sushi master, one of the few friends who actually came to the hospital, bringing Sushi, everyone was so shocked that a man of Don's youth and size and obvious heartiness should have cancer. Kaji brought a tray the size of a table to the house after the funeral, and Robert, our son, went into his bedroom and ate it all, in an act of cannibalistic grief. I stayed friends with Kaji and followed him wherever he went, until he disappeared from the Marina, and I was on my own. Then, I found Hide Sushi on Sawtelle, where I was redeemed. As I wrote my new novel, if it went well, I rewarded myself with Sushi. If it went badly, I consoled myself with it.
But alas, as the phonies in publishing say, anything that feels too good is bad for you. So it is that tuna, the most comforting of non-cheesy comfort foods, is riddled with mercury, and when I asked Helmut, a shrink of few words, the other day what it could do to you, he said "Kill you."
So for the last few days, which have been hard ones, I went only occasionally and ordered salmon skin handrolls. But they do not make you feel better. Yesterday, more than any other day, as I went to a beautidul shower for a beautiful new young friend, and sat at the grown-ups table, when the event was over I didn't want to stand in line with the ladies on walkers, so was the last to get my car, as everyone else went off to their lives, husbands, boyfriends, charity auctions, I felt like 'The Cheese Stands Alone.'
Today the mood lingered and deepened, exacerbated by not having anything to turn to, including the Daily Word, a pamphlet of spiritual uplift which has on its cover for June a woman lying in a field of clover sending a text message,a fucking text message, so what is there left to believe in? Obama? Oh, okay. I spoke to a friend who works on his campaign last night who said he should have the nomination by Tuesday night and as soon as it is secured he will announce his vice-president, and who it will be, according to him, is Chuck Hegel, which I think would be a very good thing. A Republican. Really reaching across the aisle, to a man who opposes the bad stuff. Still that didn't comfort me enough, as it all still feels up in the air, as does most of life, so I went for Sushi.
I tried to branch out and enjoy, but it just isn't the same. So I broke down and ordered my signature tuna roll. Well, just a tsate. How could that hurt?
But ehre's how my life works: the sushi masters have become genuinely fond of me. So there was in that roll six times the normal amount of blue fin,
It is a slow death. But then, so is the Democratic party. That selfsame source said that whenver America has been in great crisis, the great man has come, then citing Roosevelt, Lincoln, and .. not to mention.. "the Founder."
Really? Is this a man of Washington's stature? The general, not the city. We shall see. I mean, provided mercury doesn't make you blind. .