NYC in a nut sack, plus some bean & tuna salad.

I got home from four days in NYC on Sunday afternoon to a shockingly tidy house and an empty fridge. On further investigation, I saw that the Beast had had at least three of the Dr. Oetker’s frozen pizzas I stockpiled for him and several cocktails (the dish rack was overflowing with cocktail glasses.)

My trip was wonderful, although it ended up being far more social than I expected: I had planned on having plenty of welcomed quiet and alone time and daydreamed about walking the streets of New York from morning until night, getting lost and having adventures. I ended up coming by some of that, but I also did a fair share of drinking, smoking and cavorting with old friends who, by surprise, ended up being in the city at the same time as I was. So on Sunday night, back in Toronto, I was feeling a little lost. I guess it was a combination of coming down from all that TIFF excitement, of my mini NYC vacation not being exactly as emotionally fulfilling as I’d hoped it to be, of missing my family, who I haven’t seen in forever, of not really having a summer vacation, and of dreading going back to work on Monday.

After unpacking and doing a couple loads of laundry, I curled up on the couch with a book that I can’t put down. A cool breeze from the window lulled me to sleep. Two hours later, all I could think about making for dinner was an a fagiolo salad. (That’s a bean and tuna salad, essentially.)

And that’s when the Beast got home.  After presenting him with gifts (colourful socks, a bottle of bourbon and a bird whistle), followed by his confessing about the frozen pizza and cocktail consumption–and that he started watching The Wire after resisting for years–we stood in the kitchen while I readied dinner and he looked at photos from my trip.

Beast: These photos of you in the museums look exactly like Thomas Struth’s.

Foodie: Who’s that?

Beast: I just read a profile on him in the New Yorker. I also read the entire Style magazine in the Sunday NY Times so I now know everything about style. Ask me anything.

Foodie: I don’t know who that Thomas is but I do know that I’ve been taking pictures of people taking pictures of pictures for years now.

Beast: This is a great shot. It looks just like his work.

Foodie: I like it too. And you mean his work looks just like mine.

Beast: Who’s this?

Foodie: I don’t know–it’s by some Russian painter. Don’t you just love it though?

Beast: It’s amazing.

Foodie: The funny thing is, here I was taking photos of people taking photos of pictures because I find it so strange that they’re viewing all this extraordinary art through cameras rather than just putting their devices away and looking at the stuff. But then I started taking photos of things that I wanted to show you. It’s all so curious, don’t you think? I mean, the desire to document can be overwhelming.

Beast: Who’s this?

Foodie: Oh that one–there was a special exhibit at the Met on, ah, um..whatshisname…Hans–

Beast: Looks like Franz Hals.

Foodie: YES! (Pause) How do you know Franz Hals?

Beast: I just love seeing these kind of scenes. It reminds you that everything you’ve ever felt, every emotion, has been felt before. There’s a comfort in that.

Foodie: (Silence)

Beast: Oh this one. The most important painting of the 20th century practically.

Foodie: I was affected by it this time around.

Beast: I hate Matisse.

Foodie: I was never very big on him but I’ve changed my mind.

Beast: What’s this? Rauschenberg? This is awesome.

Foodie: It makes me want to make stuff.

With the salad ready and the art history tutorial over, the Beast brought me up to speed on the eight episodes of The Wire he watched while I was away.

The show isn’t quite what I expected it to be but I’m enjoying it nonetheless. And the salad? Perfection. Eating it made me feel like I’d cleansed my soul of the memories of urine-infested subways and countless units of alcohol.

Still, I couldn’t shake my melancholy. It feels like I’m longing for something–something that I can’t quite put my finger on.

But it sure is nice to be home.

Foodie: ***

Beast: **

One response to “NYC in a nut sack, plus some bean & tuna salad.

  1. That is the kind of conversation I wish I could have with people, if only I was more knowledgeable about…stuff. Fascinating! The best I would have come up with is, “Hey, that guy in the beard looks a lot like Adrian Brody” or something like that.

    Your post did remind me of a dissertation candidate named Paul Pellizari who concocted an elaborate revenge against an academic rival. Waiting until he know his nemesis was away at a conference, PP broke into his apartment with a satchel full of cans of tuna and beans and proceeded to eat nothing but that for the next three days, doors and windows sealed to keep any and all resultant fumes trapped inside. What a smelly surprise for his rival upon his return! He called himself The Tunabomber, a riff on a villain of the nineties who, in his beard and remote wilderness hideouts prefigured the much more villainous Osama bin Laden.

    To be honest, I don’t know if Paul ever went through with it. I do know that the tuna and beans were cathartic for him, just as they were for you. Pretty sure he was planning on manky tuna and bean casseroles rather than a fancy salad though. Different times.

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