Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Food indecision

I get into this phase maybe once or twice a year when I simply cannot pick out what food to eat. I mean, the clock strikes noon, I am famished, got plenty of cash on me, and it’s not shitting rain or hot enough to liquify the sidewalk or anything else, but I simply cannot decide on what kind of food I want to eat. I can’t even think of a genre, or a direction to walk. And it goes on like this, meal after meal, until I am continuously more and more fatigued with things because I haven’t had a good meal in days. Yes, I’ve had a meal, and I don’t exactly look like a UNICEF kid, it’s just I can’t find something that makes me happy. And this is probably a bigger metaphor on life, because I also can’t get any writing done, find a book I can really stick with reading, and so on. I’m sure there’s a medication for this. And I’m sure one of it’s 7492 side effects are that it causes loss of appetite.

Anyway, yesterday we went out and went to Flowers Cafe, which is a sort of hippie-esque diner a few blocks over on Grand. It’s not a hippie place in that they serve wheat grass and tofu hot dogs, it’s just a deli, but with lots of retro flower-power type murals on the walls. It’s not too overdone, and they make a good reuben, so we order there a lot. And for whatever reason, we went there for breakfast on Saturday, and I got two eggs on a roll with bacon and cheese, and it completely kicked this food neurosis thing in the ass. It was a really good sandwich, and I loved it, and I wish I could get another one right now, except they’re closed, and I just ate dinner anyway.

After a day of walking around with Sarah and her friend Dre, we ended up seeing The Devil Wears Prada, which was funny, but probably not too relatable to those who don’t live here. We also went to this diner afterward called Big Daddy’s, which was the typical shit-on-the-walls genre, but not corporate, and with the typical menu where, instead of just saying “hamburger,” it says “Daddy-o Burger.” I just wanted a hot dog, and was presented with a giant plate that had pretty much an entire pig’s entrails stuffed and tied off into a hotdog. It was excellent, but it was also like half my body weight in food. Anyway, it’s a good place to crash if you’re just north of union square. I wish it was closer to the office, but then I’d probably need some paramedics to cut me out of my apartment in a few months.

Speaking of, I was on this food nutso thing the other day, and it popped into my head that I really wanted to run for the border and hit a Taco Bell. It usually happens once a year, but there are none by my new digs (there’s actually an old one, boarded up, with the tri-stripe awning still there and the logo spraypainted out) so I did the research and found the closest one was a half mile from the office, over on West 4th. Me and a couple of coworkers planned it out like a jailbreak, since we didn’t want to spend our entire lunch break trying to get over there. And Taco Bell has a very short halflife, before it congeals and turns cold and completely inedible. (And forget about microwaving that shit.) So we decided to cut over on the subway, one stop, hit the KFC/Taco Bell, and put in our giant order for all of the other people who wanted in but were too chickenshit to make the run. We got back in 30 minutes flat, ate, and then spent the afternoon wishing for napdom, hoping the gurgling in our guts wouldn’t go bad. ‘Beller’s regret. But I was happy.

There’s something in the sauce of that Mexican Pizza that reminds me so much of when I used to work there. And when I was thinking about it, I realized – it’s been twenty damn years since the summer I spent working the drive-thru at the ‘Bell, saving up for one of those new-fangled CD players and a dual exhaust for my Camaro. Shit, I remember when I was twenty, so it makes me feel even worse to remember something twenty years ago. It’s so weird though, that tomato sauce always reminds me of buying food when I went off-shift, leaving with a big bag of taco supremes and nachos and riding home on my ten-speed. When I first had my car, I dumped an order of those cinnamon crispas under the front seat, and spent months trying to vacuum up that sugar-cinnamon dust from the crevices of the carpet. Of all of the cooking smells mixed together in the back line of a Taco Bell, the most overpowering one was the crispa smell, maybe because it was the only sweet one. I don’t think they sell those anymore, but if they did, it would be an instant time machine for me.

Crap. It’s pouring rain outside. I have to go to work tomorrow, which sucks. Then I get the 4th off. Then a 3-day week. Whole Foods had nitrite-free uncured hotdogs, and they actually taste pretty much the same, so that’s my little homage to the whole July 4th, picnic, barbeque, drunken fireworks, whatever thing. That’s all.