Monday, January 19, 2009

The Consuming Fire

There are some evil bastards at La Salsa. I walked there to-day, mainly because I wanted some exercise and an excuse to enjoy the day time, and had one of their nice "California" burritos that contains avocadoes and rice and various other veggies. Their hottest salsa is the hottest thing I can ever remember having, though I suspect it may be due to my palate having been scorched bare by years of experiments with hot sauces and Thai food. Nothing gets me like this stuff at La Salsa though--I'm not sure what it is, but it looks sort of like tomato soup with limp bay leaves floating in it, though it's definitely not tomato soup and the leaves definitely aren't bay.

I finished my burrito and, without thinking about it, I starting dipping my tortilla chips in the concoction. Before long, my nose was running, my tongue felt like it had third degree burns, and my eyes were tearing up. And they'd locked up the bathroom for the night.

No exaggeration--tears were running down my cheeks as I stumbled outside. A woman in her truck saw me and I must have looked like I'd just seen the murder of my child.

It's a testament to the phoney friendliness of the Starbucks baristas that, though she did identify me by name and say, "Haven't seen you in a while!" she completely failed to notice my state as I asked for the bathroom token and completely failed to register my reply of, "Yeah, hi, how are you?"

I seem to be back in the habit of going out for lunch. Yesterday I drove to Parkway Plaza mall for a burrito. I'd intended to go only for lunch, but since I'd parked on the other side of the mall to sneak in exercise walking to the Mexican place, I walked past the Suncoast movie store and saw it was going out of business--all DVDs 50% off. This was Sunday, so the mall was closing early--it was only twenty minutes away from the store closing for good, so naturally there wasn't much left. Nonetheless, I did manage to score a copy of the original 1932 Scarface (which I actually consider to be far superior to the Brian De Palma remake), Anthony Mann's The Naked Spur (which was my favourite among the Mann directed James Stewart westerns Robyn Massachusetts had recommended to me a few years ago), and David Lynch's The Straight Story, so my Lynch collection now only lacks The Elephant Man.

It all came to around thirty dollars. I probably only spent about five dollars less than I would have if I'd bought the movies at Fry's at regular price, but therein lies the reason for Suncoast going out of business, of course. That, and the fact that just about everyone downloads things now. I noticed most of the remaining DVDs were porn. Naturally, anyone who could conceivably afford to spend forty dollars on some lousy vid of oddly proportioned women with orange tans and frizzy blond hair would have a vast and varied library of porn available for free online.

Also at Parkway Plaza on Sunday, I saw that a magic shop had opened up. Mostly the store was gags and games, but there were trick ropes and rings and books about magic. In the back a table was set up where one of the proprietors demonstrated tricks on request. A matronly woman with glasses was leaning tiredly back behind the counter while a couple kids gaped in front of her. She was telling someone, "The first time you do a trick, people want to see it, the second time they're trying to see how it works. Believe me, I've been doing magic for thirty years." One of the kids suddenly released a big blue snake from a can and the woman said, "Now, don't try and tell me you didn't know that was going to happen. And watch your language, I already heard you cussing over there." I felt like I'd stumbled on a scene that had been replayed with slight variations in magic shops over the past hundred fifty years.

On Saturday night, I had a martini for the first time in about a half a year. I made it with Bombay Sapphire gin, which is ridiculously smooth for something that's 94 proof. I had garlic stuffed olives in it, which were good, though I think I still prefer jalapeno stuffed. I can't believe two olives have 11% of the daily recommended amount of sodium. I looked at all the different brands, too, and there didn't seem to be any with substantially less.

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