Friday, July 29, 2011

RBOC - Ghosttown edition

  • I get to keep the couch in my living room!  The other tenants who were going to get it decided to buy their own, so my landlord told me this morning that I was welcome to keep the couch at my house.  Score!  Now I can move on to mulling over coffee tables and bookcases/credenzas.
  • Of course, before I get into all that, the landlord wants to rip up the old and rather dirty wall-to-wall carpeting in the living room, and put in some nice new tile.  This is fine with me, although I really hope that the contractor can lay hold of the tile quickly enough to do the work next week, when I'll be going to DOU-Town to get shitfaced while catching up with old friends retrieve my stuff from storage.  Apparently, the work will take approximately a week to do, and would be rather inconvenient to walk around in normal conditions, let alone when I have my personal library and some assorted housewares to unpack from a moving truck.
  • I really tried to like grits, but I don't.  I never will.  I am okay with this.  It's not like I wouldn't seem like a full-bore Yankee if I ate the stuff anyway.  
  • In general, I kind of hate the dominant cuisine around here, which seems almost entirely based on pork, cream, and cheese, preferably all together.  I like all of these things in their separate places, and in moderation, but fuck, how can people eat this crap day in, day out?  No wonder the obesity rates are sky-high in this state.  I'm looking forward very much to getting here from DOU-Town with my kitchenware, so I can start cooking for myself.
  • On the other hand, I found a fabulous little restaurant very close to my house with some killer cocktails recipes and really good food, albeit still based on the heavy-ass Southern standbys.  (Haute cuisine here is really haute Southern cuisine; there's just no getting away from it.)  I had several glasses of a wonderfully refreshing champagne-and-watermelon cocktail that cheered me enormously.  And, compared to what I'm used to in Hometown, and even in DOU-Town, it's cheap.  Wow.
  • I think the feeling of being all by my lonesome out here in the boondocks is getting to me a little.  There's not too much social interaction to do with my colleagues yet, since they're mostly out of town until the semester starts, and there's not much of any other social scene for me, unless you were to count trying to make small talk with bartenders.  I should respond to this situation by focusing intently on my writing, and make the most of the lack of external obligations.  However, I find myself spending far too many hours a day moping about how there's no one to talk to, and, more disturbing, thinking wistfully about my last girlfriend.  I'm pretty well over her, but I'm wistful about having a girlfriend, period.  I sometimes wonder how these serial monogamists you hear about pull off such a feat.  I am sorry to report that it's been nearly two years since I've even been on a date.*  Given the amount of time I expect to spend here, the smallness of the town, and the fact that I seem to be the only Jew in sight for – gulp – miles and miles of Bible Belt territory, I am not optimistic about this situation improving.  (This is the kind of place where people use the word 'Christian' as a synonym for 'good, decent, respectable'.  I'm not eager to find out how the word 'Jew' is deployed outside of religious contexts.)  I'm told there are others of my kind in Big Regional City, which is only an hour and change down the highway, but I'm not going to truck out there on any regular basis, let alone to mack on women.  I guess it's not quite as dire a dating scenario as Research City, but I wonder.  At least there were diplomats there.  Anyway, I'm looking forward to the semester starting; I love my private time and space, but it's odd to experience it when there's nothing to stand in opposition to that seclusion.
*Is this normal, or am I really into statistical freak territory here?  And if I'm doin' it wrong, how do I fix it?


  1. Yeah, the only thing suckier than the two-body problem in academia is the one-body problem. Good luck. (Although, going to Research City, getting run out of it, and all that craziness surely counts as too unsettling to bother with dating, doesn't it?)

    OMG Jewish/southern/pork = how the hell do you eat? And do people just offer you crawdads if you say you can't eat pork? That would suck.

    If you're bored, you can always grade my essays. ;)

    And finally: have fun getting sh-----saying a final farewell to DOUtown! I'd eat lots of Mexican food while there if I were you. Mmm, chips and salsa and margaritas! Pack up as much chile and spices as you and take them with you!

  2. I MUST KNOW WHERE YOU ARE! (email me. reassignedtime at gmail. seriously. I think you're much further south than I am - I'm only barely in the south - but I. Must. Know.)

    Also, here's the thing about grits. Where have you tried eating grits? Because there's grits and then there's grits. And there's cheesy grits and then there's grits without cheese. And butter is key, in terms of grits of whatever stripe.

    Look, I'm from the rust belt - the "north coast" if you will - and I'm not from "hillbilly" stock - so grits are not in my childhood food milieu. That said, *properly prepared grits* are kind of lovely.... Much in the way of creamy polenta. In other words, I wouldn't write grits off, as a rule, but I would refuse to eat them at the following establishments: waffle house, shoney's, any place with a breakfast bar that serves grits, most restaurants, really. I would also avoid instant grits, which, like instant oatmeal, Is Not The Same Thing. Much as pre-prepared packaged polenta is not the same thing.

    (So that is my defense of grits. I never realized until I wrote all of this out that I had one, or that I felt so passionately about it.)

  3. @Sis: I don't give a damn about keeping kosher, so the pork and crawfish aren't problems for me, in and of themselves. It's just the surfeit of the same high-fat, high-sodium, high-cholesterol stuff all the damn time that gets to me. I like variety in my cuisine, especially if I'm going out to a restaurant. It's crazy-making to me that no one thinks it strange that nearly every restaurant in town serves pretty much the same food.

    I fail all of your students. There, grading's done.

    And I've thought of stocking up while in DOU-Town, but frankly, the first thing I thought of was beer. There are no beer stores in Ghosttown; just groceries and supermarkets that carry a limited selection of drinkable stuff next to the major-brand garbage. I'm seriously tempted to pick up a case or two of good beer to stow in the moving truck before I head out.

    @Dr. Crazy: I'm highly amused that this rouses your curiosity so! I'll email you about it.

    To answer your question, I have eaten grits in a number of venues common and uncommon. Most recently, I ate them in one of the most respected restaurants in town, which does a very upmarket version of (I think) cheese grits. They were the best grits I've ever tasted, and I still didn't like them. Like you said, it's like creamy polenta. I've never taken to polenta, either. :) I understand the love of grits in theory, but much like with raw tomatoes, I just can't get my tongue to put the theory into practice.

    Please note that this is a purely subjective opinion, and not a judgment on passionate defenders of grits. :D No doubt one day you will make a passing comment about some foodstuff that compels me to write my own impassioned defense.

  4. Ok, if you're a dude who also isn't enticed by the creamy polenta, though, then grits will not be for you. I feel as if you are a potatoes fellow, and you cannot be swayed by potato substitutes :)

  5. It's so true! Really, is there a better starch than potatoes at breakfast? Apparently you read me aright, Crazy.

  6. It's lonely being in a new place. I find myself feeling lonely here, even surrounded by family and having a couple of friends. My friends are all working full-time, so it's tough to get together. It's a lot of scheduling just for a coffee date. Plus, I'm going through stuff that I feel like I can't talk about. (Hurray that therapy is starting Monday!!)

    So I'm sorry that you're lonely. Perhaps you're feeling like me -- hoping the job will save you. Or at least, hoping that the job will distract you enough that you don't feel, daily, that you need to escape.

    And I'm an agnostic/but-for-all-intents-and-purposes atheist teaching at a religious school in the heartland with a seriously Catholic family. Oh black sheepism! We're kindred spirits, Dr. K.

  7. Do they have where you are, Dr K? That's a really good way, meet people. Meetup groups exist for pretty much every activity or interest under the sun (perhaps even grits haters!), and it would allow you to make friends outside of your new Uni.

    Good luck!

  8. Poor thing, you are not in the craft brew triangle. :( I guess the resurgence of local brews/local foods is not resurging in the same way everywhere.

    ON THE OTHER HAND, when I google your location and "beerfest" I find that there is a beer festival near you TODAY! So get out there and figure out if there are any decent local brewers around. You might meet somebody cool!

    PS polenta = ick.

  9. "I fail all of your students. There, grading's done." LMAO!

    Hugs re: the alone time.

  10. If you're a statistical freak, then so are most of my single friends, so I think you're safe.