Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Of seaweed and Spam

Late last week, Nicole and I walked over to the supermarket two blocks from the office and invaded the "chips" aisle. We were after "healthy" chips, so none of those MSG-superloaded kinds -- just the "healthy" kind. She picked out a very Japanese-looking seaweed variety (imported from Thailand) while I chose a nicely packaged pack of vegetable sticks. Since I was also hankering for pretzels, I grabbed a small bag of those as well.

Back at the office, we dug into our snacks. Frankly, it seems Nicole's choices always end up appealing to my tastebuds, and this was no different. The seaweed chips were wonderful; they weren't filling at all, and at 40 bucks you'd think you'd have to feel full to get your money's worth. But they were tasty, and I wanted more!

Which is why all morning on Tuesday I was looking forward to making a pitstop at the supermarket again right after lunch and getting my own seaweed chips for merienda. I had some serious proofreading to do the whole day, and Nicole was out attending a press event, so it was just me and my computer.

Busy, busy, busy... it was nearly mid-afternoon when I finally got to get out of the building and walk over to the supermarket, where my dear seaweeds would be waiting for me. I negotiated the aisles and headed up and down the chips section. Tostillas, Piattos, Chippy, Doritos, Oishi... where in the world are the "healthy" chips?? I asked myself. I retraced my steps and combed the section once again. What junk! Have they gotten rid of the non-MSG snacks? Upon whose orders? Conspiracy theories began swimming in my mind. Then it dawned on me -- I was at a supermarket near the office alright (in fact, a block away), but a different one. The place Nicole and I went to the previous week was two blocks away; hence, my darling seaweeds were nowhere to be found among these aisles. Work was waiting for me at the office, and there was no time to spare to go hunting for preserved marine vegetation just because my palate yearned for them.

Okay, just get the muffins and go, I quietly said, reminding myself that I had muffins on my list as well. Trying to let it go, the thought of the seaweeds escaping my gustatory grasp remained. Normally, it wouldn't have been a big deal, but for some reason, today I needed a "replacement." The cans of Spam I saw on one of the nearby aisles beckoned. Now when was the last time I had some Spam? Not your run-of-the-mill luncheon meat one can't help but think of as a sorry substitute for Spam, but the real thing. Probably 10 years ago? Or more. I happily sauntered to the cashier with a can of the 30% less sodium kind in my hand. It would be our breakfast at home the following day. No seaweed chips, that's okay. I've got my Spam!

On my way home that night, I was still thinking of the Spam, looking forward to breakfast in less than 10 hours, amazed by the thrill I was getting from such a superficial preoccupation.

By the time I was minutes away from home, my stomach was rumbling! It was, after all, past dinnertime, and I had nothing besides a strawberry muffin and some iced tea at around 4pm. A lot of brainwork + no food = MAJOR HUNGER.

"Hmm... I haven't had barbecue in a long time. I'll pass by Grill Queen!" I thought. Those who've tried those pork slices on sticks at Grill Queen know what I'm talking about when I say it's superb. Not to mention, reasonably priced. I think there being two Grill Queen outlets on the same street (about 300 meters from each other) for years now is enough testament to the appeal its fare has on appreciative diners.

Upon coming to the house-converted-into-a-barbecue-place, I pulled over and walked to the counter. Approaching the counter, though, I realized that no one was manning it, and nowhere in sight were the sizzling pieces of meat, chicken, squid and other mouth-watering delights that normally greeted customers. "Sarado na ho," the lady nearby chirped.

"Hanggang anong oras ho ba kayo?" was my exasperated question.


It was 10:05 on the clock back in the car when I got out, and since it was 10 minutes ahead, that meant I could demand for my two sticks of barbecue if I wanted to exercise my rights and insist on the value of punctuality. But I did no such thing. With a heavy heart, I smiled wryly and walked to the car, realizing that another culinary fancy was blown off yet again. Looks like God is trying to tell me something popped in my mind.

Well, all the more I'll enjoy my Spam tomorrow! After all, I would have savored the seaweeds and the barbecue on my own, while I'll be sharing the goodness of Spam with my family for breakfast.


Today is Wednesday, for which Spam was the scheduled piece of excitement on the breakfast table. But the schedule was made with a lousy memory. Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, and on which fasting and abstinence are obligations of love.

Hence, upon getting up today, upon realizing that yet another gustatory thrill would have to be postponed, I simply smiled. "Good things come to those who wait" came to mind. What's another day? For some reason, the thought of abstaining from meat felt like a major sacrifice. What better way to begin the season of repentance? Suddenly, the 2-strike foodie disappointment of the previous day made plenty of sense.

Again, it takes mere ordinary things like seaweed, barbecue and Spam to help some people realize how God orchestrates things without interfering, to impress on them the things that really matter in life.


WillyJ said...

hmm, I think I know those two Grill Queen outlets which are close to each other. One of my favorites too.

On your last comment, I can't agree more. On that Wednesday morning, I had to drive quickly to C5, my wife called as her car broke down. Well, I had to skip breakfast in my hurry. The morning ended fine enough, I was able to fix the car, but I had no breakfast.

petrufied said...

when you texted me that you bought spam, i thought you opened it in the office and ate it right out of the can haha! I'm thinking of seaweeds too, but too far. maybe next time. it's a Friday!

sunnyday said...

Yeah, and there are only a few Fridays this Lent -- just a few opportunities to live them well :-)
The seaweed can wait, methinks.

I miss Spam spread -- Spam pa din but in "spread form". Pang-sandwich specifically.

Willy, it's amazing how God provides these opportunities to us. It's just that sometimes it can be difficult to see them more as "bwisit moments" than golden opportunities :-D

What was wrong with the car? Good thing you got to her fast.

WillyJ said...

Overheating due to leaky radiator. Good thing I got there in time to intercept the wrecker.
No engine damage fortunately. Filled the radiator with water, got into the car and drove her to St Lukes at the Global City. Drove the car back to a shop near Kamias to have the radiator repaired. Got into a cab to get back my own car which I left at a gas station in C5. Drove back home and by then I had a good headache so I called the day off from work. The skipped breakfast though, was good for the day's fasting. The rest I just offered to the Lord as I thanked Him too for helping us out there. Whew.

sunnyday said...

Wow. Sounds like a very eventful day! I'm glad everything was taken care of before the day ended, thanks to God as well.

Oh this reminds me! Someone is selling a 1994 Daewoo Racer Automatic for such a low rate. Less than 100k! A friend of mine, who used to own a talyer, knows the owner and he says it's well-maintained. According to him, the owner has many cars; I'm assuming the Daewoo was hardly used. You interested? Feel free to email me if you are :-)

WillyJ said...

ok, and maybe I'll ask around. Thanks.

R.O. said...

i can totally relate! excellent narrative ms d!

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