Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday Mailbag, by Christopher

It seems like Sarah and I have been tag-team wrestling our way through blog posts lately. I piledrove a few hapless posts and then Sarah jumped from the turnbuckle, smashing her elbow deep into the groin of the next batch.

Now Sarah has tagged me, just in time to step into the ring with Wednesday Mailbag. We haven't had many questions from our readers lately. But I can always count on my Mom to tee one up for us when we need it. She writes:


I want to know where you two want to go out to eat when you come back HOME for Christmas?? And what on the menu you want?? What have you been craving???? (I know we've talked about this but thought it "might" be a good Wednesday question??)

First of all, in case you were wondering, my Mom is not even a little bit afraid of punctuation. She lays it down in whatever quantity she wants, whenever she wants. It's her way of putting enthusiasm and zest in her emails, and I always look forward to seeing how she uses it. For instance, she has chosen to use four question marks after the question, "What have you been craving."

When I read this I imagined that my Mom was asking this question so enthusiastically that she was jumping up and down and waving her arms frantically above her head shouting, "What have you been craving????" And this aspect of reading her emails adds to my enjoyment, this act of translating her punctuation into entertaining pantomimes.

The main thing I have been craving recently is the same thing that I have craved since my second night here: Mexican food.

I have some moments when I can almost taste Abuelo's salsa on my tongue, I can smell the sizzling fajita meat of Rodarte and Vivero's, or I can feel the texture of Chuy's blue-corn tortillas in my mouth. I have to use my imagination to conjure these moments, and it's hard work. Work that produces, at best, an unsatisfyingly dim recollection.

And I've found lately that I'm beginning to forget the littlest details. How does the salsa smell exactly? I can't be sure anymore. It's only been three months, and already the memory of the food I love most is leaving me.

There are 100 things I dislike about home that I can remember with perfect, crystaline clarity. Waiting in line at a tollbooth, the way the post office smells (like feet), hitting every red light on Main street, the sickening taste of Red Lobster cheddar-baked biscuits, the sound of embarrassingly stupid car commercials, twenty summers of unbearable heat and the feeling in my stomach when the Mavs lose at the buzzer are just a few.

There's something about my brain that keeps me from remembering the good things as vividly as the bad. I think I remember reading that it has something to do with our evolutionary survival instinct. Or I could be making that up.

I need to refresh my memories of sweet, sweet Mexican food soon. We don't know how good we have it back home, and Mexican food is just one of the reasons. Is it the biggest reason? No, but it's up there, maybe just below 'clean water' and 'high-quality consumer goods.'

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