About a month ago, my husband and I spent the weekend with his family, and since he went over yonder a day before me, I was left with a Thursday night all to myself.
A night to myself! Immediately, I thought of all the bad and decadent things I could do with no supervision: drink a smoothie! Try to get some appealing photographs of the smoothie! (harder than you may think) Upload my smoothie pictures to the Mac and play with them in Photoshop! Eat a big bowl of popcorn—in bed! Watch an inspirational episode of The Biggest Loser online! Fiddle with my hair to see if I want to cut it! Dig into the recesses of my closet and try on a bajillion different and new outfit combinations! Toss the reject outfits onto the futon and make a huge messy pile!!!!! I was practically hyperventilating with enthusiasm.
And then I thought—but I do these things when my husband’s around anyway.
And then I thought—but I’m going to do them all in one evening! I was riding a wave of excitement, and nothing was going to stop me. Nothing except … but I’m getting ahead of myself.
At this point I should explain that since last winter, I’ve had this imaginary story playing in my head about a lonely Chicago career girl who goes home every night to a dark apartment and gets Chinese takeout on her way back from work. When she calls in her order she just has to say “Hi, it’s me. The usual please. I’ll be by in 15,” because they know her that well. She’s a melancholy figure who reads romance novels on the El, wears a ponytail every day, and falls asleep with the TV on for company. She may or may not have an overweight cat named “Diddlykins” who eats out of her bowl and relentlessly sheds fur all over her couch. You get the idea. Thursday night, I decided to briefly align my life with that of my imaginary friend, so as I left the office at 5pm I called in my order for some serious Chinese takeout. I wanted variety as well as decadence, so I recklessly ordered 3 different things, reasoning that the leftovers would keep us going for months, if not years. I picked up the Chinese on my way home. I felt soooo big city. “Going home to Diddlykins for another lonesome evening“, I thought, delighted at my little game of pretend. Little did I know, it was going to be a Date with Fate.
Since I’m a big delayed-gratification girl (and have been pretty much since the day I was conceived—it’s like a sickness), I exercised and showered while my boxes of takeout waited. I was building anticipation. I packed for my trip, set my alarm for the next day, washed the dishes that were hanging out in the sink–the more I made myself wait, the more exponentially delicious it was going to be, I just knew it. Finally, after about an hour and a half, it was time: I opened the boxes. Strangely, all 3 were the exact same shade of dark, goopy brown. Hmmm, I thought. They’re cleverly disguising the delicious flavors by making them all look like they were made from the same mysterious sauce. How brilliantly cunning.
It was bad. Oh, it was bad.
I can’t talk about it anymore or I’ll start weeping. I’m especially mourning for my poor fantasy career-girl—because she has to eat this stuff every night, man. What will happen to her digestive system!? What kind of a monster have I created!?!???
I’ve been working through the letdown from this epic event in my life, and according to Freud I’m supposed to do something called “sublimate”? Which I think means turning your energies into something positive? So I’m sublimating the disappointment, depression, and despair caused by those 3 identical brown sauces and making my own stirfry. Hear me, oh Chinese takeout disenchantment: you’re not the boss of me! I am moving on with my life.
Thank you for listening to my inspiring story. I’m currently accepting bookings for my national speaking tour on the transformation I’ve undergone, and my calendar is filling up fast. It’s called:
HOW CHINESE TAKEOUT CHANGED MY LIFE
(How one gloopity-gloppity bite revolutionized the emotional path of one Chicago woman, and how it can revolutionize yours too!!)
I only charge 1 million dollars per hour. I mean, per minute.
But first—tomorrow there will be a recipe. A Chinese stirfry recipe. And it will be good. Here is a a little preview to whet your appetite: