austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Just a half mile from the railroad track

While my father finally accepted that we should get lunch, there was the question of what to get. I suggested we go to the Chinese place near my brother and his wife's house, since it was nearby, and my brother might be able to join us, and I was really hungry for Chinese. Happily, my suggestion avoided what would probably have been a long indecisive mess (as my sister-in-law had no strong feelings about where to eat, and my father was in no shape to decide anything), and we set off with phone calls going to my sister-in-law's husband (who it turns out had just eaten) and my other brother who was still heading in from Brooklyn. A side benefit of the Chinese place was that since he's Vegan, he could find something to eat.

That's not to say this Chinese restaurant was without its perils. The main is that it offers two menus, one the standard sort of 'Chinese' food invented in the United States with, you know, sweet and sour chicken and that sort of thing; and the other, Chinese-type Chinese food where it's obvious what the noodles are but the English translations of the menu include vague references to organs. Singapore has plenty of the Chinese-type Chinese food and there's the vague assumption around people back here that with my long living there, I must have picked up the taste for Chinese-style Chinese food. Or at least Singapore Noodles, which the restaurant also offers. I know some Chinese-style Chinese dishes that I'd eat happily, but I really prefer the American-style and I get the vague impression people are disappointed when I don't order something exotic.

We took a very long time at eating since we knew there was no way my mother was spending less than four hours in the emergency room, and this allowed time to finish two and a half pots of tea as well as for the other brother to get back from Brooklyn and join us. He had been there since the day before, as one of his friends turns out to have a talent at matching up free- or low-price beers with the hours of availability and the route that has to be taken around them, an interesting application of the travelling salesman problem, and he could use a shower. I could too; the longer we were out the more it pressed on me that I hadn't had time to shower. Yes, nobody could possibly care, but the thought that I had been at that point as much as 27 hours without washing my hair started to drive me crazy in the way that leaves me feeling awkward and everyone else wondering what my problem is.

Trivia: In moving to the New Scotland Yard building in 1890 the Metropolitan Police left behind the lost-and-found division, including some 14,212 unclaimd umbrellas. Source: Thunderstruck, Erik Larson.

Currently Reading: Wealth And Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich, Kevin Phillips.


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