02 April, 2004

Virgin No More

turn and face the strange....

Wonderful, wonderful, ah... a drive into Baltimore, the sky burning with swirls of grey smoke that blanketed the air above, a walk through wet streets to a tiny place packed with atmosphere and bonsai.

The name of this haven of food and imagery is Matsuri, and I am in love.

Pat orders for me, and I am soon faced with food too lovely to eat, and consume more at one meal than I have in the past two or three days combined.

Miso soup, wonderful. Seaweed, wonderful. Steamed and salted soybeans, wonderful.

Wasabe, doubly wonderful.

Pat tells me the name of everything, but I write down nothing and thus remember nothing.

The green tea could have been warmer, but the earthen mug I drank it from was perfect in its greeneybrown glazed color, perfect in its flattened cylindrical shape.

The children pick at strange food as I consume a standard salad made unstandard with sesame dressing, ginger dressing (I can't choose, and why should I?) using chopsticks to eat lettuce and cucumber.

We talk of bonsai and atmosphere and the diminutive efficiency of this corner establishment. Pat shows us the blind monk on the shelf, both of his eyes now painted in. He admits to reading haiku, but the ancient masters in their ancient feudal agrarian society had little to write about other than spring fields of rice, and Pat thinks he just doesn't understand the subtleties enough to appreciate the art form. "If they wrote haiku about the sound of traffic and neon lights, now..." he offers. I laugh and read him the latest one of mine. Perhaps a haiku about a crane would be appropriate.

We walk back through the streets, now glittering with the lights of the night city. I stop to pick up a CityPaper, looking forward to being baffled by my favorite animal in his weekly stint in print. This week, I understand, enjoy, and leave the column with more questions than answers.

A lovely outing, home early enough to have the children tucked away before the start of my favorite shows, which are, inexplicably, crime and forensics dramas.

Pat swears that sushi gives him vivid dreams. I look forward to it, but am disappointed to find I remember nothing in the morning.

The rain is unrelenting in its soothing, sopoforic patter.

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