Monday, June 13, 2011

Only I

So I hazarded my first attempt at a top secret "friend of the family" recipe called Hot Chicken. I really wish I'd learned to make this BEFORE I lost the ability to know if something is seasoned correctly or, instead, tastes like an old shoe. Because seriously, I cannot tell the difference.

Unfortunately, I became privy to this recipe a few months ago which, in Cat's Terms of Memory, may as well have been fourteen thousand years and a few dozen liters of vodka ago. Because all I remembered were most of the ingredients and that the end result is yummy. So I faked it the best I could and reasoned that if nothing else, this would be spicy, and spicy is just about all I have left in this world.

12 jalapenos and 2 habaneras later 1 habanera later, I decided, after I tasted one with the tip of my tongue and it was blissfully painful, ought to have been enough to make this truly "HOT" chicken.

But it wasn't. It was more...mildly intolerable chicken.

To me, it was "meh."

But on Saturday, I prepped everything and shoved it into the crock pot and then headed out on foot (thanks to a flat bike tire) to find a quiet spot to get some writing done. We're a few blocks away from the Minnesota River, which happens to be one of my favorite places for walking, crying and brooding, so I figured it might work for writing, too. That I've never tested the theory goes to show you just how long I've been out of commission.

I was armed with a notebook full of helpful man thoughts from a crew of (apparently) drunken comrades, and I was curious to give these ideas a shot. I'm still working on that, but as it turns out, I am TERRIBLE at being a man.

A bug flew directly into my eyeball, and though I saw it coming and reacted by slamming shut my eyelid, it was too late. It was unfortunate for me that I stuck my jalapeno and habenera fingers in after the bug to fish it out. Let's just say I was blind for several minutes and considered turning around and heading home.

Once at the river, I started along the path (because who would ever do such a thing as walk in the grass?) and I stumbled upon a scruffy middle-aged man who, from a distance, appeared to be sporting a shirt pocket of cigarettes and a fist full of some hideous, silver-canned beer. Turns out it was only a travel mug of what I presume was coffee, but this guy was a character, I could tell just by glancing.

He had with him a dog who was off leash and well behaved, and he paid no attention to me as I approached. The dog was busy tramping through the water and weeds, looking for anything that moved.

As I am wont to do, I asked the man what kind of dog he had, and he answered that it was "hard to say," or something the like. Again, with my memory. I noted that the dog looked like he had tiger markings, and the man commented that was his brindle. Happily ready to prove that I am a Dog Person, I noted that Gray once had a boxer named Tyson who shared the same tiger-looking brindle as this dog, and the man exclaimed, "Yes, exactly!"

We started walking together, dog talking, of course, and he asked if I was just out hiking.

Ha, exercise. Not likely.

I told him I was trying to find a quiet spot to write, that our neighbors were installing a fence and there was a jack hammer involved, that there are kids all over the park by the river, so that I was following the trail looking for a better spot.

"Come with me."

Normally, I don't go around following strange men who say "come with me," but this guy wasn't setting off any alarms and plus, he had a dog.

I am powerless against the charms of the canine species.

Turns out to be a lucky thing I followed the guy because he led me to a marina and then out onto a secluded peninsula so near the river, and so level with its surface, that I felt I was sliding right along with it. He pulled up a chair for me and one for him, we smoked a bit, and then he left me to my writing, but not before we became friends.

I told him I considered this an open invitation to return and he didn't disapprove, so now I have a new place that is perfectly peaceful and serene where I can retreat in just a few short minutes whenever I need to write, which (apparently) should be all the damn time.

Next time, remind me to take the bug spray. I'm half-mosquito today.