Riding bikes on a recent week-night, along the Lakeshore, right after the Beast procured an old–but fine–10-speed from his older brother.
Foodie (shouting from in front): Now, always stop at red lights. You’ll see other cyclists go through them, but not you. When the light goes green, you catch up to them, and pass them, and teach them a lesson about going through red lights. Your speed says, “I guess disobeying the law didn’t get you very far in life now, did it?”
Beast: You know, I’ve ridden a bike before. I used to ride a bike all the time before I met you.
Foodie (still yelling): Well, I’ve been riding a bike since before you were born so I think you ought to just listen to me when it comes to bikes. Now, I’m going really, really slow right now. Do you want to take the lead and really open this shit up?
Foodie: JUST BE CAREFUL!!!! Don’t try and show off for me here. I will always be faster than you are. I’ll be right behind you. And I will get anyone who hurts you. Do you understand me?
Beast: I’m not a baby!
As most of you know, I’m practically a professional bike rider. I’ve been navigating this city’s streets, not always gracefully, since 1998. After retiring my 13-year-old Peugeot “Evasion” last March, I’ve been riding a single speed “Pake”. I think it was made in Brooklyn, or something. I love my bike. It’s probably the single most important physical object that I own. It takes me anywhere in this city in under 30 minutes. I’m very fast, obviously, and always very careful. My bike ride to-and-from work is usually a highlight of my day.
But the thought of the Beast riding a bike makes me very uncomfortable. I worry about him. Thinking of him in his little suit jackets, like the seersucker one he was wearing on this particular evening–with a green pocket square–with his little pants rolled up exposing his little furry legs–I don’t know. It just breaks my heart. I can’t handle it. Luckily, he will probably just ride his bike to and from Dundas West Station, I hope.
But, hopefully, him having a two-wheeler will mean we can do some new activities together. We rarely see each other these days, which means there’s little time for fights. There have only been two in recent weeks: one happened the morning after the National Magazine Awards. After losing, I came home, quite drunk, and ate a bowl of Cheetos and watched an episode of Girls on the Beast’s computer. In the morning, the Beast found his mouse covered in Cheetos orange powder and was not impressed.
The second one had to do with money. I went on about how much more I pay for in the relationship and the Beast argued that I was exaggerating so we decided to track how much we each spend.
That lasted one day, thank goodness.
We’re never home together. He’s making more music and has joined a comedy-writing troupe with two friends. I am happy about both of these things, especially the latter because he tests out material on me. Example:
Beast: Okay, imagine this: CSI-FBI forensic ball-sack investigation unit. It’s an elite group of criminologists who identify criminals not by fingerprints but by the unique wrinkles on their testicles and the ball prints they leave at the scene of a crime.
Beast: “The criminal must have entered over this window sill. See here?” And they dust for ball prints. And imagine criminals wearing plastic bags over their balls in order to fool the new unit!
When he gives all the examples of the criminals and their balls, he makes sound effects when the balls touch a surface, like the railing of some stairs or a door handle. Boink! Zing! Blip!
And I’ve been working a heck of a lot lately. My new job is great, but the quality of life on the home front has suffered. I don’t ever remember feeling so uninterested in making dinner as I do now. I’ve reached new lows, food-wise. I rarely buy groceries, which the Chinese ladies at the corner green grocer never fail to remind me of. “We no see you! Busy lady! We see boyfriend now more than you! Lucky lady!”
Also, and I don’t know if this is connected to a more stressful job–or maybe it’s just age–but I’ve been yelling a lot more lately. In public, I mean. At a recent dinner with my friends Erinn and Stephen, I was yelling about hockey and masturbation at a crowded restaurant bar. And at a recent media dinner with wine writers and sommeliers, which required me tasting seven different cool-climate chardonnays, I started yelling about rhubarb pie, and how I think it’s an abomination if you add strawberries.
Anyway, I think I need to slow down a bit. Maybe I could really try to plan a few dinners at home when I know the Beast and I will be home together, which is only about three nights a week. God knows, I subscribe to enough food magazines that detail how to do this seven nights a week. And the Beast will help, too! He’s been good at picking up groceries. All I have to do is provide a detailed list.
Things may be looking up. I woke up this morning and decided to make a pie. I just needed to make something. I had rhubarb from my Aunt Sandy’s garden, and expensive butter from Fiesta Farms.
I’m no pastry-master, but I took my time this morning. (I used the Joy of Cooking recipe for short crust: 2 and a 1/2 cups of flour, 1 and 1/4 teaspoons of salt, 3/4 cup of shortening, 1/3 cup of butter and 6 tablespoons of ice water.) No yelling, even when the pastry started to tear when I was doing the fancy edging.
It’s in the oven now. It won’t be perfect, but I think it might actually turn out okay.