Baby's Got The Blues

Loneliness is the tight-lipped bitch waiting for me when I get home. She saunters to and fro on the second floor of my house in her stilettos walking to a hypnotic beat making her presence undoubtedly known. She sits at the end of the dinner table tapping her long painted nails on her wrist, signaling and impatiently waiting for me to finish the "insipid" talk. She lies long, languid and lithe on my bed moving as slowly and as lazy as honey as if saying I have nowhere else to go. Even as children fill my home with laughter and noise, she tiptoes in the shadows of happiness to constantly and quite relentlessly remind me that devoid of an equal, I am in fact alone. Often times, I wish and convince myself that she is nothing but a figment of my imagination, a product of my vivid and aging mind. But I know she isn't. And the older I get, the more real she becomes.

She has a twin sister this bitch, Loneliness. Her name is Longing. She comes in unannounced in the strangest places like in the middle of a crowded room, where a band is attempting to drown everyone with decibels not fit for human consumption, or while driving and listening to the radio as the rain goes vertically mad on the pavement. You know that feeling when you are in a room full of people and everyone is laughing and then something crumples your ticker it feels "sour"? When your chest cavity is flooded with the feeling that something so rightfully yours has been taken away from you? That is Longing--the most unwelcome guest of my heart.

When I get the feeling that my unwanted guests (Loneliness and Longing in case you haven't been paying attention) are home, I find myself making Carbonara. I think that maybe, all of the world's problems can be solved with bacon. There's just something about the way simple, earthy ingredients are transformed into something rich, ethereal and soothing to heart, soul and tummy. It's what I'd like to call a gustatory blanket, something equivalent to a human hug. For me it's not just the eating part that is comforting but the whole ritual of making it.

First of all, I boil a big pot of water. In my interpretation of this dish, I use slab bacon. None of those thinly, machine sliced excuses for bacon. Traditionally, one uses pancetta or guanciale (from the jowls of the pig) but I like the smokiness of bacon which both pancetta and guanciale lack as they are not smoked. I then proceed to cut the slab into thick rectangular slices and render the fat over low heat. While waiting for the water to boil and the bacon to give off its ambrosial and deliriously sinful fat, I separate 3 egg yolks, which I mix with a cup of cream and half a cup of freshly grated parmiggiano-reggiano. Once the pasta is al dente, I throw it in the pan of the now lightly-browned bacon, turn off the heat and pour in the trinity of egg-cream-cheese and toss it all around until everything is locked in heavenly embrace. I put it in a bowl and begin to eat while reading a pocket book mostly of the mystery, horror, sci-fi kind. Think Stephen King, Robert Ludlum. Pointless to search for the comfort of food if you end up in masochist hell reading The Bridge Across Forever or Love in The Time of Cholera, right? So it's either a pocket book or a film such as Zombieland to blur the images of loneliness. Better to sleep with the memories of Zombies than stuff that only exists in fairy tales.

In the beginning, I said to myself that this path that will eventually lead to a solitary life is good. After all, everyone leaves whether it be a geographical, physical departure or a spiritual dissipation into the cosmos or vast unknown. Everyone leaves. Eventually, everyone becomes alone. However, is there really a point in preempting a definite ending? Loneliness and Longing, one day we three will have tea. I will have to live with them as the most ironic housemates in all of the earth. But right here, right now I really can do without them. I have a choice. And I choose to not be lonely anymore.

No comments: