Will you be my one good action?

foster dog
Come on, will ya?

I got to have my fake Friday night last night, like I asked for on Facebook. But now I have to admit that the pub I want to love just ain’t cracking up to it.

I wanted my neighborhood pub to be snug and delicious and sparkling with the soft light of friendship and a pretend fireplace. Instead it smelled bad and the food was partially inedible and the service—which normally I don’t even care about unless I’m in a hurry—was random. Three waters for four people, no plates for the deep-fried apps, which thank god killed the other smell – magic markers? mold? – I noticed when we came in.

Why didn’t I say something? Because I didn’t want it to smell bad. It was my idea after all, dragging my friends out on a Wednesday night, and we were having fun, coming in from a brisk walk, happy to get a good table by the window. The waitress was smiley. There was just this faint…magic marker? Yes, it must be magic marker…smell. Once we got our drinks I forgot all about it.

Then Xeena and Buck showed up, Xeena who is allergic to everything and can smell everything, even styrofoam – that’s what she gets for being open to the universe—and her first Coke with lime was flat, and the second one was also flat and also tasted of something that was neither Coke nor lime. And they didn’t get silverware so they couldn’t enjoy the apps before they congealed.

But as long as no one wakes up sick today – and I don’t see how Xeena can get sick when she didn’t eat two bites of her shepherd’s pie—I’d say it was a fun evening. Vandamm showed up for an after-dinner drink that seemed to taste okay. And as we were wrapping up the confusing bill, Starbeck showed up outside the window with a new foster dog. Very cute black and white pointer mix? Not quite right for a Django companion, but really sweet. We all walked back together and then watched foster dog play with Kismet and Kyle’s cartoon dog. It was fun until Django started flying into them and barking her shrill cattle dog bark, trying to break up the fun. Foster dog had already had a rough day, so we left.

I should do a Yelp review but I don’t trust Yelp lately. I keep hearing troubling things about their advertising programs. Plus, I still want the pub to thrive. Would a review kick their butts, or lead to fewer customers and a failed business just because maybe they had an off night? I don’t know what’s important in this world where everything seems to be falling apart. When news about the central banks sounds so hopeful until I hear the analysis that predicts there’s an even bigger disaster they’re trying to avert, and the water in the world keeps rising, and nonprofit agencies keep sinking, and the Occupy movement gets more marginalized, and the wars keep multiplying, and for each of these things there is a perfectly good reason, all organized into stories in my hand, but all at once, all right now and constant, and yet I can easily turn them off and dip into entirely different banks of news and entertainment. So I’m confused.

I don’t know what’s important. And I don’t want to sit here and remind myself about the importance of just one action. I already know that. What I really mean is, I’m looking for the one action and I’m annoyed that I can’t find it. Foster dog arrived in Chicago after a 16-hour ride in a cage on a church bus filled with other dogs from a shelter in the Southwest. He ended up homeless because his elderly owner moved into assisted living. He’s almost a year old, extremely good-natured, has soft fur and one blue eye. He needs a good home. Why don’t you adopt him?

The cling wrap next door

package of Press n' Seal
Historical re-enactment.

The only problem with getting a gift-wrapped package of magical crinkly and non-sticky cling wrap is that I don’t want to unwrap it. It’s sitting on the desk in the front hall. I really needed it last night, but I just couldn’t unwrap it. Couldn’t even bring it in the kitchen. Officially it’s called Press ‘n Seal. I have to keep checking the name because I can’t keep it in my head. I know it only as the magical crinkly-but-waxy-so-how-does-it-stick-cling wrap.

Apparently it’s been around awhile, but I first saw it, really saw it – the way you really see the boy next door for the first time when he checks your receipt at Best Buy – at Syd’s barbecue. Stretched over a tray of bruschetta that Xeena carried in. She pulled off the crinkly magical stuff and I held it in my hands, marveling. “What is this stuff?”

“Oh I love that stuff,” said half the women in the room.

“Why don’t I know about this stuff?” I stuffed it into a ball, feeling its strange tackiness, feeling how right it was for so many of my food-covering moments that heretofore had been so unsatisfactory, thinking vaguely about taking it home to reuse, but sensing it wouldn’t rinse well. Already I knew its limitations, and loved it the more.

The next morning, like the Best Buy security guard neighbor who rescues your newspaper from the driveway and sets it on your porch before you even wake up, it arrived. Virtually wrapped in thick red ribbon that covered it on all sides. Dave had gone down around 8 to check for my cell phone, which I’d left at Syd’s and she’d kindly offered to drop off on her way to an early-morning graduation. I’d left a big pillow just inside the door so the phone would have a soft landing when Syd pushed it through the mail slot. Dave brought it up with my coffee, and that was magic enough for one morning – forget your phone at a friend’s, and have it delivered right to your bedside table before you even wake up.

But an hour later, when I was downstairs eating breakfast, Dave brought in a second item, the item. He didn’t think it had been there when he grabbed the phone, so it couldn’t be Syd. Xeena doesn’t get up that early, though she does go in for fancy gift-wrapping. Kismet also denied responsibility. That left only the Lovely sisters, Vandamm and Starbeck. They would neither confirm or deny, though Starbeck replied something about a possible “group of Santas” being responsible, and Vandamm added something about “Mariachi Santas.” Also, I know from previous experience, namely being at a David Wilcox concert where Vandamm left early to join Starbeck at a late-night Kohls sale, that they are intrepid shoppers. So if anyone is out grocery shopping at the crack of dawn it’s the Lovely sisters.

I am so delighted with this gift, and delighted with friends who deliver gifts early in the morning, and delighted to own for myself the means of covering any plate or bowl tightly, without the hit-or-miss heartbreak of Saran wrap. And yet, I can’t seem to use the stuff. I don’t even want to take off the ribbon. I thought about it last night, when I needed to wrap up the leftover vegetable rosti, but I got by with a layer of saran wrap and another of aluminum foil instead. It’s like the very day the boy next door moves back from that ecovillage in Ohio. You want to get the scoop, and for all sorts of reasons you should do it sooner rather than later, but… not just yet.