|Dangerspouse Rides Again|
Garage - Track
Nov. 05, 2012 - 8:43 a.m.
"I'm scared, Fif. It's that rat circus out there; I'm beginning to enjoy it. Look, any longer out on that road and I'm one of them, a terminal psychotic...." (Max)
Life in New Jersey generally revolves around avoiding roving bands of underprivileged youths, waiting on line at the Motor Vehicles Office, and Snookie (yes, still). Our life-giving force is pizza, bolstered by the occasional stop at a diner for some neon soup and a gyro.
But ever since Sandy hit, it's all been about gas.
There IS no gas.
Do you know many things run on gas? I've compiled a list:
My dentist's drill.
There are a few others, but those are the biggies.
And now there is no gas.
Soon, therefore, there will be no me, no wife, no cars, no halitosis patch, no relief, and no gyros.
That red glow you're seeing in the east is not the rising sun. It's superheated blood escaping from peoples' ears in a mist, tinting the troposphere pink over the miles-long gas station lines in New Jersey. You've probably heard there's a shortage of petrol here resulting in rationing, limited availability, and hours long wait times in increasingly cold conditions.
New Jersey commuters are not the most understanding bunch under the best of circumstances (slow NJ drivers comprise 82% of all organ donors in the country). If someone misses the basket with his coin at a Garden State Parkway toll booth then opens his door to pick it up and try again, it usually means weapons will be drawn. Now with wait times for gas approaching wait times for someone named "Mohammed" to get a visa to enter the United States, it's about to be another Devonian mass extinction.
And I know getting around in NYC hasn't been much easier.
I called NewWifey(tm) when I first saw the situation developing, to warn her that if she needed to go to the store or anything she should probably also get gas before everyone began panic buying. (In other words, I told my wife to panic buy.) At the time I was still marooned inside Studio-Q, where I'd been since the storm hit. I smelled like cheese and had long ago thrown away my underwear.
Over the phone she cut me off half way though. "Fuck this, I'm outta here. People in New Jersey are insane as it is. I've got a full tank already, so I'm heading to my folks' until this blows over. Call me."
And *poof* NewWifey(tm) was gone. She wasn't kidding.
Her parents live in Arkansas.
Two days later the lake around my office receded and I was able to go home. When I got there Casey the Wonder Corgi immediately ran to his food bowl. It still had an absolute mountain of chow in it, as NewWifey(tm) dumped the entire 25 pound bag out in case I was stranded for a month. But once he heard my car pull up he knew I'd go back to the "cup-a-day" schedule. So he was gonna cram as much in as he could before I did. Doggie panic buying, if you will.
The cat, as usual, had no reaction.
Now, here's the thing:
I'm on vacation this week.
Vaaaaaaaaaaaaay Kaaaaaaaaaaaaay Shuuuuuuuuuuunnnn, baby!
And guess what?
Next week too!
That's right, suckers. Two weeks of sitting around getting even drunker. And this time without worrying about my wife stealing half my Maker's Mark.
Which also means two weeks for the gas reserves to build up before I have to go back to work. Unless I have to run out for something like an emergency bone marrow transplant or something, I can hunker down inside Dangerhouse and let this whole fiasco pass me right by. I may not have to wait on a gas line at all! Until the next anthropogenic deluge, of course....
Seriously, this is gonna be great. I've got eight cases of Kraft Mac-n-Cheese in the basement (plus Casey's chow bag in an emergency). The vacuum cleaner and washing machine will get a much deserved rest, and I've got all the porn I can eat (not that that's anything new around here).
One thing I'm absolutely bound and determined to do since I'll have at least 19 uninterrupted hours a day to do it: finish "Final Fantasy 12" for Playstation-2. I threw that stupid disc against the back wall of my garage in frustration probably 9 years ago, and it continues to lie undisturbed where it landed. (Who the hell came up with that stupid, incomprehensible method of chaining "Quickenings" anyway - Honey Boo Boo??) I guess I'll try it again though, now that my blood pressure has finally gone down and I've got nothing better to do. In between porn re-charging, I mean.
But best of all:
I can eat hot-n-spicy for two weeks!
One of the continuing - and only - disagreements between NewWifey(tm) and me since getting married is the level of heat I'm allowed to add to our meals. I'm all about the scarlet face and the rivers of sweat and the endorphin rush and the puking. When I buy a bottle of Sriracha, I just put a straw in it. For dessert.
NewWifey(tm) eats grits. Plain. And sometimes fans herself.
Guess who usually wins when I cook dinner?
Well now it's time to make up for lost heat. All aboard the Capsaicin City Express!
First stop: the Drawer of Fire. ("Drawer of Fire" is actually the term I use for any of the incendiary items I keep stashed in various locations around the kitchen but am never allowed to use. Each is notable for its thick layer of dust.)
This morning I gathered everything up that had been languishing for months (sometimes years) because it was farther north on the Scoville Scale than a lime popsicle. Powders, pastes, cans, jars, dried whole...they all sat in a pile on my kitchen island so I could see what I had, and plan accordingly.
First things first, brush my teeth.
To start the fiery festivities I tossed together a Korean kimchee-and-red-pepper-paste congee (actually in Korea it's called "juk", right? I'll use that). Koreans are INSANE. Have you ever had Korean red pepper paste? The red color comes from blood. THEIR blood. It's got so much hot pepper in it that you have to wear latex gloves to handle the jar even if you don't open it. And this kimchee, which I got in Korea Town in Manhattan last year, is reportedly just as explosive. The little shop lady didn't even want to sell it to me because my eyes are too round. I had to sign a waiver.
Anyway, I mixed some of that blood paste with the fermented dynamite, and it sat simmering with a handful of rice and LOTS of water inside Jasmine Sous, my magical amazing fuzzy logic rice cooker and sometimes lover, for about two hours. (BTW, if you want to make this dish but don't have a rice cooker...get a rice cooker.)
10 minutes into the process the fire alarm went off.
I don't have a fire alarm. It was my neighbor's.
Once the little timer on Jasmine Sous dinged I ladled myself out a bowl...then went and got another bowl. The first one's bottom dissolved on contact. I had to use one of my good stainless steel mixing bowls.
I've gotta admit, I was a little scared. Even though the cooking process was over and the juk was safely ensconced in a reinforced steel bowl, it was still bubbling away as if it were sitting on the stove over a high flame. When I leaned over to take a whiff one of my eyebrows melted.
Eventually, of course, I had to go for it. I dipped the tip of a spoon into the almost fuchsia colored porridge and brought it to my lips.
When I was finally able to lift myself off the floor I thought "Hey, that's pretty good. And I'm still alive!" So I finished the bowl, had another, and now I'm prepping for lunch. Earlier today I was reminded of my mom's Lime Jello Cucumber salad, a dish I particularly loathed growing up. But I bet if I used Indian ghost peppers instead of cucumber, and Knox unflavored gelatin made with habanero vodka instead of lime Jello, it'll be a hit!
In the meantime, do you know what happened to me exactly 28 minutes after finishing my last bowl of Korean Death Juk?
I solved New Jersey's gas crisis!
Ciao, and kamsahamnida!