Today, I am craving a bagel and cream cheese. No – schmear! Yes, schmeeeeaaaarrrrrr. A real bagel; poppy seed, perhaps, or everything. Something that leaves you with tiny seeds stuck in your teeth and the feeling that you won’t need to eat again for the rest of the day.
There are no real bagels here. When The Gentleman moved here nearly two years ago, he developed sudden and intense cravings for pork. While he certainly never minded bacon or the occasional brat, it wasn’t something he actively sought out. But when we were planning our first big trip together as a long-distance couple, he had two requests: beer and pork. Prague and Berlin it was, then! You can get pork here, in hotels or in certain shady sectioned-off areas of larger grocery stores (NON-MUSLIM AREA) but in most restaurants if you order anything that smacks of the pig you’re going to get beef bacon. Or – gag – veal bacon. Which tastes like a bacon air freshener and has about the same consistency.
It’s strange the things you lust after when suddenly you can’t have them. I wasn’t an avid bagel eater, except for Metro’s salmon plate, but now suddenly I find myself obsessing over the thought of bagels. No carbohydrate will suffice and so it shall have to be an unrequited hunger for the meantime.
Another random culinary thought for the day: pizza, whether in a cafe or for home delivery, comes with packets of ketchup. It mystifies me. I have no answer for it. Even Dominoes delivery includes packets of ketchup. Mystifying.
Before I forget, my mom wanted me to tell you that I slept just fine for the first 2/3 of my life. I assume she means the first 18 years that I lived at home. Public acknowledgement of hyperbole. But, lemme tell you, she wasn’t around for the 4-5 day stretches of 3-4 hours of sleep at a time throughout my twenties that were usually caused by night terrors such as “Did I forget to pay BGE,” (yes) and “Am I ever going to be able to stop living with roommates,” (no, if you count The Gentleman and The Cats) and “Is this mole cancerous?” (Probably?) Deep thoughts in the night that kept me awake. There was, of course, the occasional existential crisis and those horrible years between 24 and 27 where you begin to truly believe that “this is all that there ever is and will be.” Some claim that middle school was the worst years of their lives, and while it was arguably high-ranking in terms of suckage, I’ll see your middle school years and raise you a self-absorbed, ill-funded quarter life crisis and we’ll see where we are then.
I digress. I went to an excellent yoga class this morning which undid all the damage I did last night running. The Yas Marina Circuit, the Formula One track out on Yas Island, is open once a week — every Tuesday night in decent weather — to runners, walkers, and bikers. It’s a 5k for a complete circuit, and I usually do it twice to round out a solid 6 miles. It’s a beautiful course and nice to run on something a little spongier than concrete. I can feel, though, over the last three or so weeks that the temperatures here are already getting warmer. When I moved here in early February, it was a delightful 75 during the day and dipping into the upper 50’s at night. But as soon as March 1 hit, the temps started sneaking up into the 80’s, and then the mid-80’s, and we reached a new apex today of 97. (NO CELSIUS. I REFUSE TO GIVE IN. TEMPERATURES IN FAHRENHEIT ONLY.) This spike is not the norm, at least not yet (we’ll be back in the mid-80s starting tomorrow, and even the lower 80s next week), but those first hot, sandy breezes have begun to swirl, ever so lightly, portending the doom of the summer to come. Last night was the first night that, even once the sun went down, I felt sweaty and sticky and it was not, as I like to say, a “glory run.” I came home, exhausted and dehydrated, and didn’t properly stretch. Which means that today in yoga class, I discovered that sudden, searing pain in your hip flexor is a precursor to overwhelming relief if manipulated properly. I almost fell asleep during Savasana.
Or, I’m just getting old.
Regardless, today was the second-to-last day of my work hiatus if you’re counting business days. The true last day is tomorrow, then the weekend, and then I report at 9am on Sunday morning. This will take some getting used to, this Sunday-Thursday workweek. At least we’re not on the work week of some of the other Muslim nations: Saturday-Wednesday. That would throw me completely off.
Besides lusting for bagels, I finished another book today – One Day by David Nicholls. Brilliantly written, it brought me back to my angsty youth and feelings of That Time I Thought I Could Change The World. My only complaint is an unrelated one: had this book been written by a female, it would have a sparkly pink or purple cover and be filed under “Chick Lit.” But with a male author, it suddenly becomes “Actual Lit;” some wretched Dickensian love story – because it has a male author. I don’t say this to devalue the artistry of the book in any way, but merely to point out that I have read books that I think are on-par, literary-wise, but written by females and banished to the table of “Novels For The Beach” next to things about hellish bosses in New York City and failed romances between the 30-something career-driven girl and her 50-something corporate boss. Not that I haven’t read those books – BECAUSE I HAVE, AND DEVOURED THEM! – but I dislike the distinction. Literature is literature, unless it’s something with “Vector” or “Conspiracy” in the title, which I tell The Gentleman on a regular basis DOES NOT LITERATURE CONSTITUTE.
I’m opinionated today.
One more day of unabashed reading and working on my tan (which is coming along quite nicely), a relaxing weekend, and then it’s back to the working world. I couldn’t be more ready. This lady is tired of lunching, and her Reign of Leisure (as The Gentleman likes to phrase it – but I didn’t see him complaining about all the dinners I made or being able to meet him for lunch) is nearing its end. I hope I can continue to write to you. Go and eat a bagel for me, will you? Maybe put some bacon on it, too.
Much love for now and more later, Insh’Allah,
The New Glitterati