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The joy of the day

Saturday morning's virtue involved getting up and gathering up garbage and recyclables to take to the transfer station. The recyclables involved breaking down a few dozen boxes stacked up in my garage and flattening them into an ever-growing pile in the back seat of my t/a/r/d/i/s/ car.

I kept separating out packing materials and flattening cardboard until 30 minutes before the transfer station closed. I might have made it through half of the boxes; all I really know is that the site lines in the garage are a foot or two lower than they were when I started.

At the transfer station, the worker helping me empty the car noticed the Penzey's magnet, "Love people. Cook them tasty food."

"Where's my tasty food? You can't have a bumper sticker like that without also having tasty food."

I quite agreed with him and grinned my way through an apology for not having any tasty food in the car. As we continued unloading cardboard, he told me about how happy he is to have finally found the missing ingredient -- red rice wine vinegar -- for the hot'n'sour soup he wants to make. He found it at an Asian grocery in Amherst. "That one on Hwy 9?" I asked. Yep.

As I was leaving, he reminded me to bring tasty food next time, and made another comment about his hot'n'sour soup, which of course prompted me to say how much I'd love some of it.

Then I came home. It was 18 minutes before noon, when the transfer station closed.

To the kitchen! Time was short.

I melted some butter in a frying pan, tossed a flour tortilla in, flipped it for a light coating on each side, and sprinkled McCormick Bush Spices and garlic on the surface. Then came the shredded 6-cheese Italian blend and some crumbled bacon on the theory that everything goes better with bacon. Then I added more cheese.

(The bacon was a first. I've made these tortilla wedges before, occasionally with deli-sliced meat though usually just with cheese and spice.)

I folded the tortilla in half and quickly pulled together another box of recyclables, including the paper from the full shredder bin while the cheese melted and the tortilla browned. Hey, if I was going back to the transfer station anyway....

I flipped the cheesy-bacony-spicy tortilla, browned the other side, pulled out a paper plate with hearts all over it (to cover the "Love people" part of the slogan), and was pleased to see the whole thing easily fit into a gallon ZipLoc bag for easy, clean, heat-retaining transport.

Out of the pan and to the cutting board for the sandwich. Five of the six wedges fit on the plate without stacking. I ate the sixth. Quality assurance, don'cha know?

A bit too cheesy; a bit too subtle on the bacon though it added to the smokiness of the bush spice blend Aussie Fan David Russell sent my way.

Then I was off to the transfer station. The guy was a few inches away from having the gates closed, even though my car clock said 11:56. I pulled up assertively: "I brought the tasty food!"

Another one of the guys called out, "well, you tried" as another car pulled in behind me. He told me what a miserable morning it had been, and how after hours in the cold and rain, "you develop an attitude." They didn't care that they were closing early; they just wanted the hell out of there.

He took my recycling as I went up to the gates with the sandwich, and to help close them again. The latches weren't inclined to seat securely in the icy ground, and the guy's bare fingers were getting the worst of it from the frozen metal.

As soon as he had the gates closed, I handed him the warm plate. ~"Oh my gosh. What is it?"~

"An international grilled cheese sandwich," I said, explaining the ingredients. He was quick to agree that everything goes better with bacon and wants to know more about the Australian Bush Spices.

I turned to head back down to my car.

~"Wait, I can't let you leave without seeing me have a piece."~

His verdict was swift and clear: "This is tasty food!"

He was reaching for the second wedge as I reached my car. But first, he held out his hand in thanks. It was chilled through and through. "Tasty food makes everything better," he said. "I don't know what bush spices are, but they sure taste good on this." I told him it's a blend and that I'd bring the specifics* next time.

We exchanged first names. As I drove off, it looked like Bill might be going to share his tasty food with his two co-workers. Or maybe he was just going to gloat. :-)

I find the joy of the day in all sorts of things. Even my local equivalent of taking out the garbage. Big fun, and now I'm filled with good cheer. Onward!

* Salt, rice flour, sugar, onion, garlic, pepper, paprika, celery, nutmeg, oregano, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, soy bean oil, bell pepper, colour, lemon myrtle, mountain pepper, lemon aspen.

Edited to correct a few typos.


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 3rd, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
Mar. 3rd, 2012 07:27 pm (UTC)
A very fine (almost) random act of senseless kindness.
Mar. 3rd, 2012 07:50 pm (UTC)

I always kind of figured you were a wonderful person, but here is total confirmation!
Mar. 4th, 2012 09:22 am (UTC)
Many thanks and blushes. I'm pretty durned impressed with you, too.

I keep writing more and deleting it. There's something in your response, and in a few others, that leaves me staring at my navel. I think it's the same impulse to take things literally that helped prompt me to immediately cook the tasty food for Bill. But the best thing to do with a compliment is accept it and move on to other topics. I hope the rest of your weekend is fun and restful!
Mar. 4th, 2012 05:40 pm (UTC)
I couldn't help but think, as well, that your instinct to do this was also for... THE COMEDY. A little like Roger Rabbit, who could take his hand out of the handcuffs "Not the whole time, only when it was FUNNY!"

I can only salute the impulse to serve the goddess of comedy. I like to serve her too.
Mar. 3rd, 2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
Mar. 3rd, 2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
Nothing unusual here -- fine stuff, but that's not unusual for you. Me, I'm thinking about a recent somewhere-On-Line reference to Bad Food (I think a TV program, but I don't do TV). The "vanilla chicken" might not be totally inedible (though I don't imagine I'd consider it tasty food), but my attention was mostly caught by "...he had decided that green peppers would be sweet". This morning, at the heavily-Latino/Mexican supermarket I patronize about half the time, there were three displays of differently-shaped green peppers that I'm pretty sure would pop off the top of my head.

And yeah, bacon makes many things better. I may get a pound of it, soon -- probably after having the upcoming angiogram to find out why four spots in my heart muscle aren't getting quite enough blood.

Mar. 4th, 2012 03:07 am (UTC)
Mar. 4th, 2012 09:39 am (UTC)
I hope all turns out informative and well with the angiogram. How do they know about the four spots?

Speaking of peppers, do you know of any Tasmanian Pepper/Mountain Pepper (Tasmannia lanceolata) cultivated in the US? It's called Cornish Pepper Leaf in the UK.
Mar. 3rd, 2012 09:36 pm (UTC)
What a marvelous and delightful story! I was already in a good mood, but now I'm in an even better one. Good job on making the world a happier place.
Mar. 3rd, 2012 09:44 pm (UTC)
I love you, you know that? Awesome Geri is Awesome, just frakkin' Awesome.
Mar. 4th, 2012 09:24 am (UTC)
I love you, too. Great icon. Silly Geri likes to run with ideas. They're more fun than scissors.

(For all the good values of silly, that is.)
Mar. 3rd, 2012 10:12 pm (UTC)
Most excellent. And I may have to try that "bush spice" mix.
Mar. 4th, 2012 12:52 am (UTC)
Well done, dear! I will have to look for the "bush spice" (not a euphemism) on the next Penzey's run.

Oh, and your vehicle? Obviously, it should be referred to as a "Cardis."
Mar. 4th, 2012 08:46 am (UTC)
Oh, my; you're spot on with "Cardis." That's it. That's exactly it.

The magnet is from Penzey's, but the bush spice blend came from Australia.

Pure curiosity has me wondering whether the Tasmanian Pepper Bush (Tasmannia lanceolata) is hardy here. It's reportedly an "extremely popular garden plant in the UK. "With berries that taste like a strange fusion of black pepper and fruity blueberries with a hint of eucalyptus & leaves that blend the kick of wasabi with the fragrance of bayleaves, this plant has some serious 'Willy Wonka' appeal."

My kind of plant, though my GoogleFu has yet to turn up any for sale in the US. Here's hoping it's just that my GoogleFu is weak.
Mar. 4th, 2012 02:28 am (UTC)
That is soooo cool! Bless you for doingit.
Mar. 4th, 2012 05:40 am (UTC)
Your awesomeness is now confirmed.
Mar. 4th, 2012 09:30 am (UTC)
Ahem. Thanks and blushes. I'm inclined to think it's my habit of reacting literally that's been confirmed. That, and my practice of taking ideas and running with them. As I said to kaffyr, they're more fun than scissors.
Mar. 4th, 2012 02:55 pm (UTC)
You are Good People, Geri! :)
Mar. 4th, 2012 03:52 pm (UTC)
You did a Good Thing.
Mar. 4th, 2012 05:07 pm (UTC)
What a nice experience and nice gesture on your part. Our recyclables are picked up curbside so we rarely interact with those driving the truck. Bush spices sound great!
Mar. 4th, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
I love this story, and I hope you share it with Penzey's, who will also love it!
Mar. 4th, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC)
And I want a magnet!
Mar. 5th, 2012 02:38 pm (UTC)
We have that bumper sticker on our car
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )


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