Sometimes I feel that there should be a disclaimer at the top of these columns. Something on the order of “I’m fine. I’m a one-percenter, all things considered. I have a job still, my wife works, we have internet and Wi-Fi and more streaming services than we use. We own a house with a backyard and a Barn to escape to. We have plenty of food. For God’s sake, don’t worry about me.”
And, still, I complain. I’m getting sick of food. You are, understandably, telling me, “People are starving all over the world and you’re sick of food?”
Yes, and I agree it’s the epitome of first-world problems. If I were a billionaire, I might be sick of money. If I were a Trumpster I might be sick of winning.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just sick of being home 24 hours a day for 55 days now—1,320 hours, 165 times wondering what I should have for my next meal—and food is the one thing that most reminds me most of my life in exile.
The Post’s chief bon vivant, Steve Lowery, asked me what my typical day is like, and I told him the days aren’t typical, they’re identical. It’s “Groundhog Day,” without making any progress whatsoever, unless you count staying alive for another day.
Wake up, do a quick self-diagnosis for COVID, make coffee, eat food, attend a Zoom meeting with the Post staff, read the news, cruise Facebook and Twitter, eat food, write a column, have cocktails, eat food, watch TV while eating food, read, sleep. To add some spice to my existence, I occasionally shave.
Where does all this food come from? Everywhere. The Instacart delivery woman from Ralphs just dumped eight or nine sacks of food on my porch. Nature Valley granola bars, various cups of yogurt, bread, a mess of wine, pasta, oatmeal, snacks, condiments, rice, potatoes, cheese. More things than I can remember.
And more times, usually at dinner, delivery people (who I truly appreciate because they’re risking their lives to bring me stuff, so I tend to tip the maximum allowed by law) from Grubhub and Postmates bring us dinners from a dozen different restaurants, this after my wife asks where I want to get take-out from, and I always respond with a heavy sigh of despair. “God, I don’t know,” I say, because I don’t. Anything’s fine. I can live on Cheerios.
And anyway, weren’t we all supposed to be living on astronaut food by now? Back in the 1960s during the Space Age we all thought surely food would just be in tubes. Just grab a tube labeled “dinner” and squeeze it into your mouth and you’ve just had a nice, well-balanced serving of the food pyramid.
Food is a stupid thing to get sick of. I know this. But I’m not alone. One of my faithful email correspondents writes, “I am so sick of fast food, delivered food, food in cardboard or ersatz Styrofoam (along with plastic, an environmental nightmare) food getting cold as I speed to my secret hideaway near Alamitos Bay. (Talk about first world problems. We have food and I complain.)”
Maybe it would help if I had more adventuresome tastes, like my colleague Brian Addison, who’s never eaten the same thing twice. It’s bibimbap one night and miang khan the next, with a nice snack of chole bhature. My tastes were genetically installed in me by my Iowan forebears, who thought fancy food was pineapple slices on ham. And I’m not much more sophisticated. If I want to go exotic, I’ll try the Italian fare of spaghetti and meatballs, or a traditional Mexican sandwich called the taco.
I could build a rental property in my backyard with all the food containers that have landed on my front porch, but of course I put what I can in the recycle bin and rest happily knowing it will all be turned into guitar straps, wallets and Adidas Parley shoes by young and innovative entrepreneurs.
What would I like, you’re asking. What will, if nothing else, shut me up for a minute? I’d like to go to a crowded restaurant or a bar that serves food—The Ordinarie would hit the spot— sit down with my family and friends amid all the racket of a busy kitchen and chatting diners, talk about something non-COVID-related and watch the Dodgers or Lakers on TV.
What would I order? I don’t care! I’ll have what she’s having.