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October 12, 2008

Skip the sushi?

October 12. Day 104.

I'll just come out and say it.

I don't like sushi.

[Deep breath. A bit of fidgetting. Checkin' my watch. Smiling and shaking my head at my own folly. Ingratiating shrug.]

Ok, are you done pointing and snickering?

With few exceptions (sweetwater eel and rare nibbles of certain pseudo-rolls), I just find it hard to enjoy. I tried, believe me. I wanted to like it. But sushi, martinis and caviar are three things I've written off, no matter how much I'd like to be that kind of woman.

For years, I dutifully downed my fair share. I managed to sound excited when friends, cool international friends, gushed about Sushi Obi, or whatever new place recently opened. I even frequented all-you-can-eat sushi bars, which struck me as an insane idea even then (isn't that like all-you-can-eat truffles or turducken? A rich delicacy better savored?), but I played along. In fact, I almost had myself convinced. Mind over matter, I guess.

Finally, four years ago, when I was in Paris for a year, I ventured to a sushi place in the 5eme arrondissement and ended up getting very sick. The empty store and dim lights (dare I make the leap to skimping on the electric bill, cheapness, and, hence, mediocre refrigeration?) should have tipped me off. A few months later, I made a new friend who's a biologist, and she confirmed: Unless the preparation is meticulous, you're eating a lot more than what's listed on the menu.

Tonight, some friends called and suggested dinner. YES!

At a sushi restaurant. OK!

Then, I swallowed my pride.

"Can we actually do something else? I don't eat sushi."

There. I said it.

"How's Thai?" she asked, in return.

Yôt yîam! (That's "perfect"in Thai, according to

Gained: A plateful of pad-see-ew.

On another note, earlier today I was biking along the boardwalk of Oceanside, an interesting and mixed community north of San Diego where vacation homes, military housing and gang neighborhoods come within a few feet of one another. As I pedaled against the wind, the sun about to disappear behind the Pacific, I noticed all the "for rent" and "" signs. So many empty houses.

And I wondered: If you added up all the mattress real estate in America -- every hotel and motel bed, every pull-out couch, guestroom daybed, hospital bed, empty bunk bed while the twins are at college, campground cabin rows of twin mattresses, plus the selection at every mattress store, every Macy's display, plus the bed at every second home and time share, plus every pair of queen or king sized mattresses occupied by solo individuals -- would there be more or less bed spaces than the total population? How many extra beds are there, compared to the number of homeless people? Just wondering.
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