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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fish Heads, Fish Heads, Roly-Poly Fish Heads, or Whatever It Was, I'll Bet It Was Economical

Wheeeeee doggie!


Let me just say here, as a lover of food, a person who could be defined, as my mother sometimes defined me, as “a good little eater”, that I embrace – nay, I lean fondly in and run loving eyes over many, many dishes of the culinary persuasion.

But man, the woman in front of me?

Her food stinks.

I mean, what is it? From my seat behind her, I lean forward in an attempt to identify an ingredient or two.

Unfortunately, the container is in her lap. To lean over any further would be to identify myself as someone who is, if you’ll excuse the expression, nosy.

And we wouldn’t want that.

The stink shall remain identified and, for the purposes of this document, accepted as both pungent and description-defying.

She eats it with her fingers, my little immigrant friend does.

And once again, from my seat on the bus, I am reminded of the cavemen.

What do you think that means, the number of times in a week that I think of cavemen? Because one cannot help but think of them, of their communal living quarters, from one’s seat on the bus. If I close my eyes, I can see the graffiti-ed walls, the piles of refuse. I can smell the old men and last night’s dinner. I can see the young ones bursting with hormones and energy.

And if I open my eyes, I can still see them.

The ability to turn a blind eye – or a blind nose – to the doings of others was probably essential in the caves, don’t you think? Just listen in for a moment:

Grok hit Maab again last night.

Bok was up all night coughing.

And Janet thinks no one’s noticed that rather than taking her trash with her when she goes that she just kicked it under a seat.

Meanwhile, back on the ol’ 17W, the woman in front of me licks her fingers furtively, her eyes on the rearview mirror at the front. Eating on the bus, after all, is frowned upon.

Maab no want to flaunt rules.

She gets off at the next stop and the stink goes with her.

I will never know what was in that Cool Whip container now.

I scratch my head, nod and grunt pleasantly at the man who sits next to me, and close my eyes and think of dinner.

39 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

We aren't too far away from the caveman mentality. The young are still making marks on the walls. The old still cluster together for company and protection. The hunter/gatherers are still out there hunting and gathering. We have just covered everything with a very thin, very delicate layer of "civilisation". It doesn't take much effort to peel the layer back. Gork go eat now!

Nessa Roo said...

My conversation with my fifteen year old this morning.
Matt.
uh?
Get up. Get in the shower.
ugh.
Now. You have school. You need to eat.
mmphh.
Matt?
ah. um pft.
Matt. Up. Food. Now.
ARGHHHH!!!

(I think that last bit might have been Pirate, not Caveman. I had no idea he was bi-lingual.)

Bouncin' Barb said...

Hi Pearl....I'm still here. So busy writing etc. Just wanted to say hi and I loved this post! You're so funny. Hugs!

Joshua said...

I'm shuddering thinking about eating with fingers. I'm an always use fork and knife kind of guy, and just the thought of someone eating wings or some such smelly, messy, finger-licking food makes my stomach churn. Doing it on a bus is wretched.

Pearl said...

Delores, I think we would be amazed to find out just how smart our ancestors were (or, by way of contrast, how little we've actually changed...)

Nessa Roo, we speak Grunt at our house, too!

Pearl said...

Bouncin' Barb, I am very glad to hear that you're still around. :-)

Joshua, honestly, I hadn't thought of that. Sorry! The fact that she was eating with her fingers didn't really faze me -- but the smell?! What in the world was she eating? Honestly, I could not determine, by smell, what it was. This may haunt me for a while...

Joshua said...

Don't be sorry at all! I'm still wracking my brain wonder what kind of smelly, God-awful food she could have been eating.

jenny_o said...

As a child, I was your polar opposite, the kid who "didn't eat enough to keep a bird alive." While I have improved quite a lot both in variety and, unfortunately, quantity, I still do not like to even smell anything "icky" (and here the definition is broad, including garlic and curry) or, egads, "unidentifiable". I would not have made a good cavewoman. In fact, the word extinction springs to mind.

Now, you, Pearl - you sound like a survivor!

Pearl said...

Oh, good, Joshua. :-) And I'm not kidding when I tell you I don't know what it is. Frankly, I'll eat almost anything normally found in the U.S. -- except a hardboiled egg. Yuck. Not even if your grandma made it. Anyway, I really wish I could've gotten a gander at what was in that bowl. Never smelled anything like it.

jenny-o, say it ain't so! :-) Not a big fan of the weirder smells, huh? I love it all (except for the above-mentioned hardboiled egg). And me as a cavewoman? :-) I would like to see a picture of that...

Almost Precious said...

The Human Tribe doesn't change much with time, just our toys and devices get more sophisticated.

People can eat some pretty weird things. I recall a friend of mine offered me some cheese that he was very fond of. I really could not bring myself to taste it as it smelled so badly and unfortunately when one eats, the food must come rather close to the nose. I told him it smelled like manure and he replied that in fact it is aged buried under horse manure. Go figure, people will eat just about anything ... at least once.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Mastodon shish kebabs AGAIN???

Joyful Things said...

We had a gal working with us who was from Cambodia. Very nice, funny (when you could understand) and she ate the most pungent of foods. One day during a staff pot luck we had no choice but to sample her offering. We were all scared! It smelled like shrimp gone bad and we were expecting to have the green-apple-two-step the next day. It was delicious and it didn't kill us and we couldn't understand her when she told us what was in it......

Leenie said...

Just be grateful Maab took the Cool-Whip tub with her and didn't kick it under the seat with Janet's trash.

Leenie said...

Fish heads, even though you don't have to pay to get them on a bus; They can't play baseball, They don't wear sweaters, They're not good dancers,They don't play drums.

Pearl said...

Almost Precious, isn't there some rotten shark thing the Finns bury and eat once properly rotted?!

Susan, but you liked them yesterday!!!

Ooh, Joyful, I've been there! I worked in a warehouse setting in the 80s, the years of the Great Hmong Influx, and we withstood many strange and smelly things in the microwaves in the lunchrooms...

Leenie, That Maab is a good girl, despite her stinky dinner.
And YES. :-) And now I have the urge to go listen to Dr. Demento!!

fishducky said...

When my friend's daughter was little, my friend required her to take 2 bites of any new food that was offered to her because the taste or texture might surprise her with the first bite. She became a very "good eater".

My sister in law once invited me over because she got a gift tin of chocolate covered ants & bumblebees & I was the only one she knew who would try them with her. They tasted like chewy chocolate.

Doubting Thomas said...

... and the most disturbing thing from your story is that she probably won't wash her hands before greeting someone. Ewww.

Bodaciousboomer said...

I read an expose recently about people that bring odoriferous food onto airplanes where you could be stuck for hours.

The recommendation was that people only travel with cream cheese sandwiches made on white bread.

Pearl said...

fishducky, I would've tried them, too! (And my son is also a good eater.)

Doubting Thomas, probably not. :-) Although at that time of day and in that direction she was probably on her way home...

Pearl said...

Bodaciousboomer, :-) And jello.

Daisy said...

I used to like limburger cheese with onions sandwiches! Aren't you glad I didn't get on your bus!!

Amber Star said...

While reading your comments and the comments you made in response to them, I thought about the many times we have had Mexican workers here to fix/trim/roof etc. Instead of taking time to go somewhere to pay for something to eat they brought a microwave with them and set it up on the picnic table out back and plugged it into the outlet in the flowerbed. I thought that was so clever and I was about ready to join them one day. I'm sure they had better eats than I did that day.

Eva Gallant said...

Mr. Eva's niece has a daughter-in-law who makes something called Kimchee. (I'm not sure of the spelling) It's a mixture of cabbage and other vegetables cooked and poured in an earthenware pot and then buried in the back yard for months. The smell is putrid. Mr. Eva said it didn't taste bad, but I just couldn't get past the smell enough to try it!

That Baldy Fella said...

Now I've got that Fish Heads song going round and round in my head. Dang.

Dan said...

you forgot to say '...eat them up, yum'

Audubon Ron said...

It's Natto.

You can read all about Natto on my recent post, "Eat Sushi With Me."

Russ said...

Great! Now I have that song in my head. "Eat them up. Yum!"

Pearl said...

Daisy, my mother would join you in that!

Amber Star, that's a pretty good idea!

Eva, my son and I ADORE kimchee. :-) Dad has a habit of bringing home the "new" stuff in the grocery store, and over the years we've become accustomed to trying all KINDS of stuff...

That Baldy Fella, what song? :-)

Dan, :-) They don't write 'em like that any more.

Audubon, you think so? Possibly. I'll come look, although this woman was South American for sure...

Pearl said...

Russ, I'm here to serve. :-)

EmptyNester said...

I think you've just discovered a sure fire diet! LOL Glad I ate before I read this!

StephanieC said...

I had a similar experience in the Toronto Airport. Except the lady had fruit flies buzzing about her head.

There was a definite fish note. That is all I dare to surmise.

It was nauseatingly gross.

I just hoped to Jebus that I didn't have a seat beside her on the plane.

Liked the names. lol.

The Elephant's Child said...

I also like kimchee, but it was responsible for a sadness on an early morning plane flight I was on some years back. A group of visiting Koreans boarded the plane, bringing their breakfast (kimchee) with them. I was invited to join them and loved it. In the small space and limited air of a plane the smell had weight. Then the first person around us started to vomit. Chain reaction. Many, many puking travellers. (I still like kimchee).

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Oh man. I hate the stinky food. Also awful is the stinky kitchenette on the 25th floor, right in front of my cubicle. Folks be cookin fish for lunch in the microwave. FISH! For nut's sake. FOR LUNCH! Right by MY CUBICLE!
I'm pretty sure they're trying to kill me.

HermanTurnip said...

I'm having flashbacks of the mystery smells coming from the microwave oven located in the break room at work. It eventually turned into a game:

"Is that the smell of fish and vomit?"
"Smells like feet and sausages."
"That's *definitely* the subtle aroma of slim jims and strawberry jam!"

Good times. Good times...

Tempo said...

I have a Dutch friend who eats what he calls 'Roll Mops' raw fish fillets rolled tightly and crammed into a jar of vinegar and spice mix until they go soft and rotten...or at least that what it smells like.
Here, I'll send you one to smell, look for a wet smelly envelope from Australia...

Hospitable Scots Bachelor said...

Pearl, why can't you just enjoy the view out of the window like everyone else?

cogidubnus said...

As a limey I have to say I find Roll Mops delicious (I don't think they smell sufficiently rancid to account for your mystery smell)...

I once had a dour and miserable Scottish colleague who sat next to me all day saying very little but grunting and making little disapproving noises every so often. Then there was the quiet backstabbing...It got on my nerves somewhat, so I was delighted when his wife once confided in me that "Steven detests onion"...

After that nearly every one of my lunchtime snacks contained lashings of onion...oh how I love Spanish Onion and German Salami (in that order) sandwiches...and Onion and Liver Sausage rolls...

Evil sob I may be, but he's gone back to Scotland now!

cogidubnus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diane said...

Same thing happened to me. But on an airplane. The person with the smelly lunch couldn't leave. At least that's what the flight attendant said when the four of us carried the woman, and her lunch, to the rear door and started fumbling with the latch. Pfff. Rules.