Monday, February 11, 2008

Cold Winter Night

Yesterday at work, when I took my second fifteen minute break of the shift, walking across the parking lot to my car was like Nanook of the North. The icy wind was blowing snow in parallel to the ground under a lead grey sky. I had to heave to open the door of my jeep against the wind. Once safe in my jeep, the wind drove the snowflakes with such force against the windshield that their impact was audible, albeit barely. A few days ago, the temperature hit 70°, but clearly we're in for six more weeks of winter.

After work, I braved the winter wind yet again to stop at the supermarket. I went to the more upscale one, even though shopping there is so annoying and I can never find anything. My shopping list: pancetta, half-and-half, parmesan, fettuccine, greens for salad, olive oil.

My father's room at the hospital is on the top floor. As I sat there with him while he watched the All-Star game, the wind was causing these booming sounds as it hit the HVAC units on the roof over our heads and howling through the ventilation system. "What's that?" my father asked, "Thunder?"

"Only the wind, Dad," I answered.

The All-Star Game was being played in Hawaii. I found myself thinking, "I wish I had gone out for football in high school and had gotten a football scholarship and had been drafted by the NFL and after a great career I had retired and started coaching some team that did really well this season so I could be there in Hawaii now instead of here where it's so damn cold." I told my father about how when I was talking to my brother in Florida yesterday, he mentioned that he had spent the day doing yardwork and luckily it wasn't too hot and sticky outside to clear weeds.

When I wrapped up things with dad, I headed home. Walking Faithful Companion was a test of our relationship and my forbearance: "Focus! Focus!" I shouted, as he heedlessly took a long, long time to sniff a leaf.

The Ol' Homestead was toasty warm though. I scrambled doing last minute housekeeping. Everything would need to be--if not Just Right, then at least Just Alright In Dim Light. And it was. Largely.

The arrival of Way Hot Man was delayed slightly by a tree blown down by the wind in the middle of 413 just three cars ahead of him, but omigosh, there was Way Hot Man coming through the back door of my house into the kitchen!

While we chatted, I got the pots on the stove. Water was set to boil for the pasta, and I started a saute of onions and pancetta in olive oil. On the menu was Fettuccine Carbonara. The beauty of Carbonara is that the cooking takes place in the pasta bowl, not on the stove. What happens on the stove are just the preliminaries. In a bowl, I whisked together two eggs, a little bit of the half-and-half, a generous amount of the grated parmesan, and a couple of eggs.

While I cooked, Way Hot Man and I chatted, and he made approving observations about my efforts.

The timer beeped: the pasta was done. Now for the Critical Twenty Seconds. I strained the pasta, dumped it in the bowl that I had heated up some in the oven, emptied the pancetta and onion and olive oil over the pasta, and then the egg-milk-cheese mixture, then stirred it up wildly. The heat of the pasta cooks the egg, see? Brilliant.

When Way Hot Man was living in Berlin, he had a job cooking in an italian restaurant. Their food was the german version of italian food though. I was not unfamiliar with this trope. In college, the polish nuns would serve us kielbasa and ketchup over egg noodles and call it "spaghetti and sausage." He said that germans loved carbonara, even though at his Berlin restaurant, the "carbonara sauce" was something they prepared every morning (Impossible! Absurd! Apostasy!). I answered that I could see why germans would love carbonara: it's basically bacon, eggs, cheese, and noodles.

And so good. Or at least mine was last night.

We finished with a salad, just the thing after the rich, starchy pasta. "The clean-up crew after the parade," digestively speaking.

Then I offered, "Tea?"

Way Hot Man enthusiastically accepted.

I brewed tea.

(Ah, tea. At the mention thereof, I felt compelled to get up and put a pot on.)

Over tea, Way Hot Man and I talked about food and tea and life and cars and dogs and ourselves and Germany and languages like chinese and vietnamese that rely on inflection rather than phonetics and our families and past relationships.

After I took Faithful Companion for his Last Walk of the Night ("Focus! Focus!"), we went to bed. Back to my childhood bedroom, now crammed with the contents of my apartment in Jersey City, my worldly goods.

Way Hot Man and I were naked in bed together for hours, interspersing talking and smoke breaks with making the springs squeak and the headboard slam rhythmically against the wall. Outside, the wind howled and at times screeched like a bird of prey.

Way Hot Man's body is thick and sturdy. He has a pelt of hair on his chest, shoulders, and back. His butt is smooth as a baby's. He has these wonderful little feet, soft and without a single callous, unlike my own horny and rough Poor Neglected Ones.

At two in the morning, I was dreamy and sleepy, but Way Hot Man heard the call of responsibility: he has a dog to walk at home. He dressed, I donned a robe and walked him to the door and watched through the kitchen window as he started up his truck. My cellie hummed. A phone call? Was it the Baron checking in? Nope. It was Way Hot Man. Calling from the driveway.

"It's sixteen degrees out here!" he said.

"Get home safe, stay warm, and I'll talk to you tomorrow."

Way Hot Man's truck backed out of the driveway and headed off into the night. I went to bed and fell asleep immediately, bundled under the covers, the bed still warm from Way Hot Man's wonderful body.

1 comment:

'bastian said...

I'm so happy for you! And only a teensy bit jealous. :)