Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sometimes its all about "What could have been"

You know that feeling when you are out of town, far from home, going out to dinner after work.  You are having a few drinks, ordering some nice food, and then out of nowhere comes this drop dead bombshell sauntering up to you, giving you a sly inviting smile.  You are just minding your own business, but you have to admit, you are looking rather sharp that day, nice crisp shirt, shoes with a fresh shine, and in this light, your gray hair isn't really showing though.  You are minding your own business, and she sits down next to you, pulls out a cigarette, asks you for a light, then slips you her number.  Pushing up your Prada frames, you glance at the note, and then proceed to roll your 18kt white gold band around your wedding finger and politely respond.  "Thanks, but I am spoken for".  She smiles, walks off, and you feel good,.. no you feel damn good.  You still have it, but you also know, you have it pretty damn good.  You have a fine wife, great kids, nice house, a decent job,.. well a good job at least.  You know that feeling?  

Now, I have absolutely no clue what it is like for that woman to walk up.  That was total fiction.  For me, I'm more likely to have a homeless guy approach me and ask for a bite of my sandwich (don't laugh, it happened).  My point is, you are presented with a tempting situation, and you are happy and proud of yourself that you never waver, and sail right through it... like Lindsey Lohan through rehab (bad analogy, but it was really the first thing that came to mind).  Everything seems to shine brighter, and smell fresher.  Ok, I've taken it a bit far, but this was my evening...........

Leaving my office about 6:30 tonight, I decide all of the vegan fare that I have discovered in this town, has left me feeling pretty good, but still, I'm feeling a little reckless tonight, and I'm looking for some action.  You know what I'm talking about.... I'm looking for some raw fish.  Yeah, thats it.  My weakness, my vice, my one splurge that I have somehow justified in all of this.  I haven't had it in a while, but tonight its on my mind.  I find a rather upscale part of downtown Milwaukee.  Not sure what it is called, but its coincidentally around Wisconsin and Milwaukee.  I kid you not, thats the intersection (I'll have to see if there is a corner of Ohio and Cincinnati when I get home).  There are two Japanese places side by side, I choose the one with a nice looking Sushi bar.  This place is aptly named Sake-Tumi.    

So I pull up to the bar, strike up a conversation with a very non-Japanese looking fellow behind the bank of slaughtered sea creatures.  Now, in the past, this had raised red flags for me.  Note that I have spent a lot of time overseas, particularly in Japan, and I have come to find that if the guy slicing your fish is not speaking to you in broken Jinglish, beware of what you get.  I digress, and that is the old me anyway.  I start out smartly with some vegetable Gyoza, and some Edamame, then I get right to it....  "Do you have Toro?" and I'm not talking the kind your dad made you push across the lawn on a Saturday  I'm talking fatty marbled raw maguro.  And they have it.  And I don't care about the Market Price on the menu (Ok, work is paying for it), I'm thinking that Toro is for dinner tonight.... But before I order, I think long and hard about what I have accomplished thus far, and what I am trying to accomplish as I go forward.  I know that a little bit of fish isn't going to change the world, but I begin to think better of what I am doing, and why I came in here... and what I am about to do.  

I announce to "Eric-san", my sushi chef, that I am a strict vegetarian.  Not about to lose a promising tip, Eric commences to put together three fine Maki rolls for me, using shitake mushrooms, pickled veggies, tofu, seaweed, avocado, cucumber.  Finishing this meal off with a nice large Asahi Super Dry, and I am feeling pretty good.  I had a decent meal, found a new restaurant, and didnt compromise myself in the process (I didn't, right?).

Ok, don't drill to deep into this, I already know.  Chances are good my Agedashi Tofu was deep fried in a whale oil, in a kettle sitting atop a flame fueled by the burning carcases of dolphins.  Ok, maybe I exaggerate a wee bit.  And yes, I am well aware of what Age-dashi is made of, but I will admit that it hit me halfway back to the hotel that Agedashi Tofu was made with Dashi. That should not have been that hard to figure out.  Like a Ham sandwich, may contain "Ham".  My bad.  

You see my point I hope. Its more than just a meal that turned a corner.  It is a corner for me as well.  I admit, I'm not perfect, and I have my moments of relapse, but hey, I am trying.  I went out tonight with debauchery on my mind, and I chose a better path.  I'm trying to do the right thing for myself and my family.  I'm trying to live a kind life, and separate myself from the death that is the part of so many of our lives.  I'll think about that one tonight.  Why does my dinner require the death of some creature?  I dont think it does.  Well at least tonight it didn't.  I need to take this one day at time......................

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