Tuesday, January 24, 2006

God, Beans, and Naan

This may come as a revelation but I, well, I'm not very funny. That's right, contrary to popular belief, my sense of humor is really quite shallow and not just a little bit lame. I, therefore, have to rely on gimmicks mostly to make people laugh.

And the quickest gimmick of all? Shock. Better if it's awkward shock, but really any old shock will do.

Just this afternoon, for example, a terrific opportunity arose to throw out a bombshell, and it worked. I achieved exquisite shock in fine detail. Now, the coworker to whom I made my revelation, actually reads this blog (Hi Chip!). Therefore, since she's already heard this part, she can just skip ahead a couple of paragraphs...

So, the dirty little secret was that I used to be quite ridiculously religious. Fundamentalist. Church three times per week. Taught Sunday school. Church camp counselor. Bible college. Strict biblical interpretation. No sex. No alcohol. God, what a jackass I was...

This achieved the appropriate level of raised eyebrows and gaped mouths. I felt a sense of accomplishment in my story telling.

This of course caused me to stop and ponder the varied experiences and adventures that came with attending a large active religious congregation in Southern California, many of which, strangely involved Disneyland in one form or another.

It was on one such Disney-related excursion, on a hot smoggy summer night, that we as a godly group stopped at Del Taco for dinner. Del Taco, for those of you who don't know, is like Taco Bell only it sucks far less.

We were all hungry, having spent the entire day in active worship-like activities with near aerobic fervor. Someone in the red van spied a Del Taco in the distance on Katela Ave., and gestured emphatically, yet in a modest Christian manner, to someone in the gray van behind. Both vans careened into the parking lot and 20 stinking teenagers piled out.

I suppose the meek may inherit the Earth, but until that time, the meek shall remain hungry. We all crowded the counter at the same time jockeying for position to place orders first. It was then that the announcement came: "I'm sorry, we're out of beans."

What?

Out of beans?? "What the HECK??" How is it possible that a major Disney-sphere restaurant from the second largest Mexican food chain in Southern California could run out of FRICKEN BEANS??

No explanation was provided. We all ended up ordering beef/chicken/cheese-oriented items. In retrospect, the lack of beans more-than-likely led to a less-polluted ride home in the vans.

And so, with that little nugget of nostalgia on my mind, I headed off at noon to have a rare mid-day lunch with Mrs. Gin-and-Tonic. She was working in Portland today so we both drove halfway across town to meet at our favorite little Indian buffet on Hawthorne. The place always smells great and has the right balance of color and seedy Spartan surroundings. I loaded my plate with basmati rice, chicken tikka masala, some green spinach based glop, and something else with lentils. OH! and the rice pudding.... mmm... Never forget the rice pudding.

Lastly, I passed the Naan basket. It was empty. Well, it had one piece left, which I took, but that was woefully inadequate. I stood there dumbfounded, holding my plate, peering around for help. The place is small and there is only one waiter, Sahib. (Well, I'm only guessing that's his name, since I don't know any other demeaning Indian names.) I looked at Sahib meaningfully, he glanced at me. I gestured to the EMPTY naan basket. He said nothing.

I looked again at the basket, and then back to Sahib, this time with a pregnant eyebrow. Still nothing. I finally asked, with my best impression of English superiority (I'm mostly Irish BTW): "By the by, good man, might there be more naan on its way from the kitchen?"

"No."

Fucker. I was beginning to think that Pakistan has a point...

No naan. How is that possible in an Indian restaurant?? It's a goddamn conspiracy is what it is. I felt full of righteous indignation. I mean this isn't Lagaan, it's not like we've had a seven-year drought. It's Portland-friggin-Oregon. There's no shortage on flat bread.

I felt that some action was called for. Therefore, in Gandhi-like protest, I stuck my finger in the rice pudding while Sahib had his back turned to me. I suppose the lesson there is, never turn your back on your enemy. Shocking, I know.

8 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:41 AM

    If you were trying to be condescending, you may have confused him by using the term sahib. It actually means master.

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  2. Crap! However,if used in a flippant culturally insensitive or Ironic fashion, then my goal would have been achieved...

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  3. amanda1:17 PM

    You should have gone to the food cart on 5th Ave. downtown. They have a daily vegetarian special and meat special for 4.50 and it comes with a gigantic piece of foil wrapped naan. It's absolutely fantastic. Cheap, lots of food, and tasty as hell.

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  4. Brian Smith3:25 PM

    We all would have been much more impressed if you would have placed your penis in the rice pudding.
    It's actually very pleasurable... Or was it mac a cheese?

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  5. I didn't read the post..so all I can say is, "Strip Club."

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  6. Hey that reminds me Dr. Smith -weren't we at one time going to market a mac'n cheese lotion?

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  7. Aside from my initial reaction that you in the role of a youth pastor made about as much sense as Keanu Reeves in that one Shakespeare movie, I'm not sure what to call folks like you who actually leave the church. Everyone hears the term "born again," but I haven't heard what to call people who successfully leave the fundamentalists. (Aside from lucky? Or 10% richer in saved tithing?)

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Be compelling.

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