The Process

Tag: bologna

The Things That Happened

The truth lives inside a hangover, so when I woke up in my floating I thought about the little truths that I know like how normally I would save a day to cleanse but that I’m tired of trying to be <, and I would rather lay down and eat bowls of cereal instead.  Actually, I’m going to leave behind commas for now to say the true things because they box it up wrong.  And I got out of bed and bought wheat bread and bologna and the man at the counter kept not knowing what I was saying and it hurt my head to try to decide if I was being too quiet or if he just didn’t speak English and it was hard because I mumble and I still had a floating head.  And I went back upstairs and made the fried bologna sandwich in case the lady wanted to wake up and eat something greasy to make the pain stop and I took a bite and went back to bed.  And then she left and I sat on the toilet absentmindedly while her cat yelled at me and then the cat and I laid down and I couldn’t get up and I had to make myself leave to do the day and I walked toward the train but I kept not wanting to leave the air of the day so I kept walking past each R stop.  R R R and then I went into the Harley Davidson cafe for a coffee because why not…but the why not is that the coffee was watery and not cold enough and the lady was bitching about a woman paying in change and I was too tired to hear even though I understand.  And then I got on the train at Canal because it was time and I didn’t feel like buying art supplies anymore because I’m tired and maybe my bank account is low and maybe I would write instead.  On the train there were a few beggars, a dancer, and a couple of men chatting about normal things, which reminded me that all the world’s a stage.  And the concept of blissful ignorance exists on many many levels.  And I thought about how my mom said talking to me is like talking to a forty year old woman and is it weird that made me glad.  And I thought about how I always ask if we died and this is the afterlife.  Just the other day I saw a man in a burger suit advertising for a burger place on a hot day and I thought about how maybe this is actually the afterlife and that hell and heaven exist side by side on earth or everywhere and we’re just all experiencing the joys and punishment on a continuous loop but how that would be hard to support without the existence of a god or karma and that even still we might all just be random.  Because I am so convinced that when I die I will be completely done.  But then there are infinite possibilities of what could become of a person after death…like maybe you’d just be on a beach with Bjork like in the exhibit at PS1.  Or maybe all the world is just Bjork’s imagination while she’s on the beach and when you take your headset off you die.  Or I am Bjork.  Or you are or this is death or every night sleeping is dying and tomorrow is the afterlife.  The point is that every action doesn’t matter if we are going to die once and for all but if each new sleep is death and the afterlife is living in the effect of your previous action, then everything is completely relevant and direct and god is cause and effect or life and death and afterlife is cause and effect and god is still a scapegoat that lives on some people’s lips.  Or when I die I will go to hell for my debauchery and eschewing religion or I will go to heaven to prove a point and God will laugh at me and say “gotcha, bitch.”  And then I got off the train and considered buying a bagel but couldn’t believe I could think about food because of the fact that I drank two margaritas and seven glasses of wine last night and ate dinner and woke up and ate part of a greasy sandwich so I just went home.  And as I walked down the street with the flowers emerging from the branches I smelled buckwheat honey and semen on the lukewarm breeze and felt peaceful with a tinge of disgust which is what Spring is about I guess.  And the thoughts I had when walking down my street became a story like a fantasy I guess but I hate the word fantasy when it refers to anything besides some sort of great ideal occurrence so I would call it more of an imagined story where I was telling someone about how the reason that you never say “never” is because never is a tiny fairy that is summoned when you say her name and she brings you the thing of which you spoke.  Never always comes to get you, you know.  With the commas, I know, but fuck you…because I’m allowed to do anything, really.  And they fit there.  In a way that made my brain feel OK.  I thought, too, about how I had meant to be better.  “What had happened was” is a great way to put it What had happened was what had happened was dot dot dot.  Dot dot dot dot dot dot.  That makes life an ellipses.  Or considering my inability to comprehend whether life is life or afterlife or day or whatever then I am just an ellipses or an excuse or a shrug and a piece of belly fat that tried to say I’m not sure I care or this is just the way I am because inertia is real and change requires energy, focus, and tunnel vision, none of which I really possess at the moment.  I would almost say I’m wry but it’s a raw thing too and a bit of heavy jading.  Yeah I wake up worried because of myself and the expectation of catastrophic abandonment but if I’m to embrace my abundant mediocrity it’s just a doom I’ll come to terms with and come to love one day, as those things often happen.  It makes me laugh a little just because it reminds me of the part where Motley Crue sings “if you want to live life on your own terms, you gotta be willing to crash and burn,” and maybe I am that and by transitive property Bjork is crash and burn or the absence of it…and it’s not necessarily willing to crash and burn but accepting that it’s probably coming and What had happened was dot dot What had happened was hold me closer tiny rocket man dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot What had happened

Love in the Time of Cholesterol: A Tale of Fried Bologna

It started out with an epiphany: I was at work one day and realized that I had a favorite food.  It may sound odd, but if you ask a cook what her favorite food is, your likely response is going to be somewhere between “go fuck yourself,” and “who’s your favorite child?”  I was at work prepping, in my own little world, when it randomly occurred to me that the most delicious and valid food I have ever known might be the fried bologna sandwich.  My mom made it for me when I was a kid a few times, but it wasn’t even something I had on the reg.  Why now?  Why realize this as I’m preparing to lay my metabolism to rest when my twenties end?  But mostly, enough with the questions, because it’s a goddamn revelation to realize that you have a favorite food.

I didn’t act on the epiphany right away.  Many cooks don’t cook much during their time off, unfortunately, and in my case, I try to avoid cooking myself all the dankeries my heart desires, because I feel that when it comes to the size of my ass, there’s a fine line between bounty and excess.  Long story short, I don’t really have food at my place.  However, around the time I realized my one true food love, I met this woman.  She was also a cook in New York, we hit it off fairly quickly, and once I felt I had almost won her heart, I decided we had to make one of these sandwiches together. I got the ingredients and brought them to her place, and we set to work.

I fried the bologna in butter first, crisping up the edges and watching it contort into its wavy, strange fried bologna shape.  The transformation is nothing short of a Pokemon metamorphosis.  It’s intense.  After the bologna was crispy and dank and delicious, I took it out and added more butter to the pan.  Then, I slathered a piece of whole wheat sandwich bread with Hellman’s mayo and laid it in the pan, mayo side up.  I shingled the little rounds of bologna all over the bread–but not too much, lest the sandwich be too meaty…maybe two layers.  And then I topped it with another mayo’d bread slice, flipped it, adding more butter to the pan to ensure for perfectly crispy bread.

We cut it in half and took a bite when it was golden and perfect, and the thing was nothing short of glorious.  “Mouthgasm” could come close to describing it, but that seems cheap.  What happens when you take a bite of this is that your mouth corners immediately shoot up into an involuntary grin, and your mouth waters in rapturous satisfaction at the perfect combination of brown butter, meat, salt, and chewy wheat.  And it bothered me, you know, when people on Instagram laughed at the wheat bread.  They said, “Oh, to balance out the bologna.”  “Trying to be healthy.”  But no…that’s just the kind of bread I had growing up, and it tastes so much more intense than white.  White would ruin this masterpiece.

So the woman fell in love with me, maybe, or maybe me and the sandwich, much in the way the couple in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” needed Scarlet Johansen to make their love life whole.  Either way, we have been very happy.  But one day she woke up hungry and wanted fried bologna, and we didn’t have any more bologna.  And we didn’t make it that day. But then a day came when we woke up and decided that we would go seek out the ingredients and take control of our destiny.  And it turned out the deli downstairs from her place had bologna all along, so it wasn’t even that difficult.  We bought so much bologna that we had at least a half a pound left after we cooked, which comforted us, because we are Jews, and we need to know where our next sandwich is coming from.

Back in her kitchen, we produced two perfect fried bologna sandwich specimens, made coffee, and brought the feast to her bed, as we do. “Wait.  I have to take my pants off.  Sorry.  I just do.  It makes sense,” she says.

“No, you’re right; that does make sense.  Why would this be a pants occasion?”

We wanted the best for ourselves, so we ate the sandwich that was fresh out of the pan first.  It was perfect.  So perfect, in fact, that we really almost cried.  I felt high.  We had arranged slices of extra fried bologna on the side of the plate just because, and that felt so right.  After the sandwiches, we laid in our coma of ecstasy for a couple hours, just basking in the glory of my favorite food.  It was so perfect.  And then we went for a walk in the sun.

When we sat down by the river, looking out at the nice day, I said, “You know, it’s almost kind of sad to take the first bite of the sandwich.  Knowing it’s never going to be better than that.  That the rest of the day may never measure up to that one moment of bliss.” “I agree,” she said.  And we just sat in the sun and accepted that life passes us by and that the sandwich moments happen.  We were OK with it, though, because we enjoyed what we had when we had it, which is the point.

“Do you think I should ask those people for a hit of their joint?  Is that rude?”  She said.

“Nah, do it.”

“Meh…”  We did not smoke their weed.

Later that night, we decided to go to a bar and attempt to enjoy ourselves despite knowing that we already lived the peak of our day sometime around noon, year of our sandwich.  So we got fancy cocktails and beers at The Dead Rabbit and talked and talked and talked.  We drank and smiled about how perfect our lives were, even in light of the passing of the sandwich moment.  How perfect we were, how anything was possible.  She talked about her upcoming trip to Iran, and I said how she better not show her hair to anyone but me, and we laughed.  I offered to wear a head scarf in New York for three weeks while she was away as a sign of my devotion and also to be funny.  I’ll do it, but I also kind of hope she forgets that I said that.

When we left the bar, we walked home, trying to figure out why it took so many matches to keep my corn cob pipe lit and whether it was worth it.  “I’m hungry,” she said, as we neared her place.

“I’ve eaten a fried bologna sandwich, a whole ficelle, and half of that giant salad you made today.  But I like eating.  What are we gonna eat?  I’m not eating when you go to Iran.  I’m gonna get skinny and then when you come back, we can eat all the things and I’ll get fat again.”

“That’s a good idea.  We have more ingredients for another fried bologna.  Let’s go smoke and make another.” I grin.

“OK.” We get into her place, and we hit her little bong a couple times.

“I want to make it this time,” she says.

“Yes ma’am.”  She does the sandwich process, but before she puts on the bologna, she says,

“I want to fry the mayonnaise side.”

“Sacrilege!” I yell.

“It’ll be good.”

“I guess I shouldn’t be against trying it.  But you have to put more raw mayo on it again before the bologna.”  I dip my finger in the mayo and put it in my mouth.

“OK.  Haha.”

“I just have to taste the ingredients in every different context, you know?”

“No…you’re just being luxurious.”

“True,” I grin, caught in my stoned bullshit. The sandwich comes out of the pan hot and beautiful, as usual.  We each raise a half to our mouths, bite, and get the sandwich grin.

“It’s the best one yet.”

“It is.  Oh my God.  And you know what?”

“What?”

“We beat the system.  It’s the best moment of the day…again…”

“We did beat the system.  I’m happy.”

“I’m happy too.”

Do-do-do-do-do-do-do, but not Vanilla Ice or Queen, Just as I Feel It {Duh-DUH}

Sometimes, when the world feels too big, I tie my head on, because Temple Grandin was right, you know what I mean, about the pressure.  Or lay on me.  The sun felt so good today, and I think we were right when we said that the fried bologna sandwiches reminded us how we know death is coming, that life is ending before our eyes, how we took the first and best bite knowing full well that nothing would be better than that for at least the rest of the day, but what really is a day, like Sylvia Plath said in The Bell Jar: as soon as you stop sleeping, there stop being days, and then why bathe or change your outfit.  But I digress–what we meant was that the eating of the fried bologna sandwich was the purest example of our existentialism.  It goes the sandwich will be gone, but we choose to make it despite this tragic truth, death is imminent, etc.  And it reminds me, in relation to love, that ducks stay together, I have heard, and the time the one fell down our chimney and its lover was sitting on our roof, waiting for him.  Animal control took him far away, and that makes me hope they had their fried bologna at least.  And the most fucked up thing–and the most beautiful thing–was the children talking while we were saying these sandwich death truths and the way they were immune to them.  Their high little voices bubbling forth from short vocal chords, as if to say, your voice is low, weighed down by truths and knowing shit.  Much in the way I can’t hear the frequency children can only hear because of how many times my ear drums ruptured in my childhood: I wonder: was it really the ear drums that aged the ears.  Or was it the time I saw the Jerry Springer-type show about the vomiting during sex fetish when I was four, flipping channels alone.  It’s much in these ways the sandwich is gone.  And a detail I failed to mention was the way that we made two sandwiches and ate the second one first.  Last-in-first-out, which is a joke I have with myself involving cooking versus accounting, and no one usually is there to laugh about it with me, but I think it anyway.  Anyway…might be the best way to describe the idea of keeping breathing even if it makes no sense.  Because of curiosity for things to come, and it’s funny, you know, that curiosity killed the cat, since the cat would die anyway.  When I was a kid, I found a cat and we fed it bologna and milk; do you note the curliness of the way that things happen, the way they queue up, in, and out.  The old in-out-in-out, as Alex said, reminds me that we are a world of revolving doors just trying to get stuck sometimes, sometimes wishing the person might not go or even that the sandwich might proliferate, be an everlasting gobstopper, much as the idea of finality gives me the peace I need when I tie on my head in the morning.