The first Wednesday after we came back from China, when I was supposed to be meeting my friend Ruth for our bi-weekly lunch, I told her I just didn't want to go to our usual restaurant. We eat at The Great Wall, which is a lovely Chinese buffet, affordable every two weeks.
But...Chinese? Already? I wasn't up for an American Chinese buffet.
We went to Baja California, which is about as far from a Chinese buffet as you can get. It was a nice burrito, but, actually, I missed the Great Wall.
Today it was time for lunch again and we were going back to our usual schedule. Only Walt was in San Francisco seeing das Rheingold, the last of the Ring Cycle that he hadn't seen. He saw them all out of order this time around, but at least he got to see them all.
So when Ruth called to confirm our lunch date, I told her she would have to pick me up, which she was happy to do. I loved her little self-painted yellow VW bug. Not sure how old it is, but probably very old. It rattled along like all the VWs I remember from my years in Berkeley...but it got us there. Ruth's handicap placard lets us park anywhere, so we were able to park right in front of the front door of the restaurant.
I read recently that the restaurant had changed hands. We had noticed the last few times we were there that things seemed to be different. Basically it's pretty much the same food and the same setting, but there is a certain "something" that's different. I think I noticed it most in the rock-hard won ton, which I didn't finish. I didn'tfinish fried won ton.
But other than that it was OK...same old reliable food.
Ruth gave me "gifts from someone who never goes anywhere," as a thank you for the little things I brought her from Russia last year and China this year. She gave me a Judy Garland magnet, a beautiful butterfly scarf that she made herself, and a necklace to match the emerald earrings I bought in China. What a sweet thing for her to do!
Shortly after I returned home, I had a disturbing phone call, relating the news that someone I love very much is quite ill and may be dying sooner rather than later. It's terrible to hear such news when you are all alone. There was nobody to call who knows her and who would understand what I was feeling. I finally called my mother just because I had to talk with someone. I knew that this day was coming but when it actually gets here it's still a shock. I have talked about this woman's condition to others realistically for a long time, and was able to be unemotional about it, but not today.
It's a waiting game. Days? weeks? months (I hope)? But the end seems to really be in sight. Her family is coming from a distance to say goodbye and Hospice is involved, so it all seems too painfully real.
I was sorry that I don't drink any more. I really just wanted to have a drink. I wanted white wine, but there was none chilled. Then I wanted a fin and tonic but we had no tonic. Somehow orange/strawberry/banana juice didn't seem like a good mix with vodka. Nor did root beer (blecchhh!) I finally had vodka and spicy V-8 juice. I guess it mellowed me out. I stopped crying anyway. And I didn't mix the other half of the can of V-8 with vodka. One was enough. But it put me to sleep and I slept for a couple of hours. I guess I feel better now.
But the dried won ton and the rest of the Chinese food is sitting like a lump in my stomach this evening and I skipped dinner.