Tuesday, May 10, 2005

All Things Wonky

Thursday evening brought sushi on Saginaw Street with friends. The group included Gimpy and Companion, Irritable Bowel and Confidant, Happy Hilfigher, and myself.

(Before crossing the street from the Coffee House to Fusion 1, Happy Hilfigher shot Irritable Bowel in the gut with a fierce looking pellet gun of the semi-automatic kind. Perhaps this is a sign of hospitality on his island. Interesting, No?) Whenever I and my associates arrive at Fusion 1 for the "All You Can Eat Thursday Night Sushi Extravaganza," the proprietor and his assistant flash a knowing smile.

They know us well. We are not the average, mineral-water-swilling, necktie-wearing, decent sort of sushi eaters that Chefs Craig and Co. usually get. The only thing we have in common with them is the swilling bit. And we are not terribly picky about what we swill, either. We arrive famished. We leave gluttonously satisfied. Period.

Craig started the evening off with an assortment of pickled and sauteed delights topped with Japanese barbecued beef that melted in the mouth. These were followed by a Miso soup made from a chicken stock base liberally sprinkled with cubes of tofu, scallions and chopped seaweed. Then came the sushi . . . . 164 pieces of assorted goodness rolled to order and devoured with many a rapid chopstick click and nary the bat of an eye.

I am always surprised into eye-watering laughter by something that Irritable Bowel or Confidant begin discussing or doing. ("Do Mennonites have pockets?") This time out it was a doing: Gimpy launched a bit of wit at Irritable Bowel, and - by way of return - Irritable Bowel launched a bright orange constellation of smelt roe from the top of a Cali Roll at Gimpy. (The rapid scoop-and-delivery would leave the average primate agape with envy, and left Gimpy just plain agape.) And then - to add insult to injury - Irritable Bowel said ever so casually to Gimpy, "I think you have something on your face."

I have friends who discuss everything because nothing is sacred; I think Irritable Bowel and Confidant discuss everything because, somehow, they are instinctually aware that everything is sacred, and so to be savoured. For all the ragging I give them, I am always secretly astounded by their innocence and amazed by their intimacy. I admire their brashness. And I envy them when they are not looking.

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