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Yesterday I Was Sixty-Three
And Tea Forte
Today, however, I am 104.
I know this because last night Thing 2 and his GirlThing took me out to a lovely birthday dinner with some friends of mine. I returned home around 11:30 pm, and this morning I require life support.
It just hurt to hit return.
I had exactly one glass of sangria at the Spanish restaurant, chased with three glasses of water because I knew enough not to begin my next attempt around the sun with a migraine. We ate food, because that’s what one does at a restaurant. Otherwise they get cranky. We skipped dessert.
During dinner we talked about things like my friend’s plans for appropriate world domination, someone deciding to become a professional poker player in 900 days, and the flaws in the sauces on the Patatas Bravas. There were many.
While well-intentioned I’m sure, this restaurant was staffed by chefs who, when someone says, “Boy, I could really go for a Big Mac,” hand you a mound of Wagyu tartaretopped with truffles, microgreens, and iceberg lettuce foam on a gluten-free scone, topped with a single black sesame seed. Still, it was overall a good meal, with people I love.
My friend asked me how my writing was going, and because Thing 2 doesn’t read - it’s important to note he can read, though he still might drink bleach because he won’t read - we talked about what NYC subways were like in the 70s as he hadn’t read the piece I wrote on that. That naturally led to me telling of the time I accidentally molested a Cuban man on the train - a story for another day. These things happen.
There was shock on Thing 2’s face when he mentioned a club, and I mentioned I used to work there. How could I have worked at a place so… relevant? Worse shock when telling of that time I had to convince a love-hurt Fluffer to please do his job because his boyfriend needed to do his job, and I wanted to go home. It’s not like I was in the film. That, too, is a story for another day. As if we all haven’t occasionally worked crew on a porn movie.
I’m not sure when my mental selfies changed from me in a cute pink Betsey Johson mini-dress, to me a hundred pounds heavier in an ankle cast on a golf cart with a beagle. Once you’ve fallen off that cliff, it’s a long way down. No wonder you break things.
You might try to scale the bluff back to the top, but the golf cart’s going to run out of battery, and you’re going to sit there near the bottom of the slope, panicking you’re going to flip backward, and crying until the guy comes to take the golf cart away on his flatbed truck because your rental time is over. Then some friend’s going to have to come get you and help you into the front seat of their car with the beagle on your lap because their back is filled with dog crates.
“I can’t even fit in a crate!” you’ll sob, “I used to fit in crates doing mushrooms with the band!”
Geritol was mentioned. The geriatric cure for “iron poor, tired blood.”
By the time you read this I’ll have been 104 for about a week, as my actual birthday is March 15th.
“Beware the Eyes of Marj,” my father used to say after saying something wrong.
“Shut up,” I’d explain.
It’s not that I’m sad to see sixty-three in the rearview mirror. It was a brutal year that felt like falling down all the flights of the Empire State Building and then landing, only to find out you owe on your taxes. And being 104 beats the alternative.
It was the shock in his eyes that got me, as if I couldn’t possibly have navigated cliffs. Fit in a crate. Been in the band. Young man, I have not yet begun to tell my stories.
Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance. ~ David Mamet
One good thing about being 104 is that you’ve had time to find lots of stupid things you like. On that list for me are both Tea Forte and their absurd iced tea pot pitcher thing. And the tea bag plate, obviously.
Some of their tea is good - I like their White Ginger Pear quite a lot, though I’m not sure what that says about their tea as I usually dislike pears. The pyramid shape of the bag is fun. But if you’re someone who puts your tea bag in the microwave, be forewarned that the adorable leaf stem will melt and burn and blame you for being the kind of person who puts a tea bag in the microwave.
Christ, the Empire is a judgy bitch.
I can’t believe I haven’t managed to break the tea pot pitcher thing yet. Not only is it paper-thin, its literal job is to have ice cold and boiling hot meet, which cracks everything from dinner plates to fillings, yet this has so far persevered. I wonder if it knows I’ve just spelled its doom?
You really need to read this article by Kathryn Tomasetti on Steak Tartare, which includes the following paragraph: “Steak Tartare’s reputation canters with its cavalier history. The dish supposedly dovetails with Genghis Khan’s Mongol warriors, who conquered Europe by horse. Legend states that these Tatars, or mounted nomads, would secrete a piece of horsemeat under the saddle prior to a day’s marauding. By nightfall the tenderised piece of equine putty could be munched with a glass of mare’s milk. Or, in extremis, a shot of plasma from a blooded animal. There was no place of snowflakes in the Golden Horde.”