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The Quest.

This is a restaurant that I’ve wanted to visit ever since moving to Providence, but never managed to until recently. Situated on the corner of Washington and Empire Streets, it looks out onto both the main branch of the Providence Public Library, Trinity Repertory, and an intersection busy with both foot traffic and car traffic– it seems to be in the perfect spot for dining. Yet, I always either forget to suggest it, or my dining companion of the night doesn’t want to go. It’s like something was keeping me away, until the 4th of July rained havoc on rather typical plans and forced Jewish Friend and I to make some real choices.

Julian’s was closed.

The place where we usually have dinner when we’re hungry and need a meal guaranteed to be good, had inexplicably closed for the 1st and 2nd of July promising to open back up for the 3rd and 4th. So we racked our brains for places within walking distance that sounded good. We unconciously started walking toward Trinity Brewhouse as we brainstormed and finally settled on Broadway Bistro.

It was closed as well.

We continued to walk toward Trinity all the while discussing how we didn’t really feel like Trinity at all, but somehow trying to convince ourselves that a plate of nachos and glass of Rhody Coyote would be enjoyable. Finally, we were standing in front of Trinity and had to admit to ourselves that that was really not what we wanted.

“Let’s see,” I said, “The Local is never good.”

“Never good.” Jewish Friend agreed.

Capital Grille is too expensive, RiRa is just gross.”

“Gross,” Jewish Friend agreed. “I don’t feel like Cuban Revolution, Union Station is just trying to be Trinity so we could just as soon stay here as go there….”

This went on for a while and we eliminated most downcity Providence restaurants before I finally said, “How about that Bravo place right there?”

“Bravo?” Jewish Friend wrinkled her nose, “we could, I guess. It’s ok.”

“Let’s try it,” I pushed, “could be good, and I think they have mac & cheese.”

So we went and upon opening the door, I was really pleased with the vibe there. It’s small, but not cramped with dark wood, low lights, and a wrap-around bar. The outdoor seating is such that you don’t feel like you’re sitting in the middle of the sidewalk with pedestrians tripping over you. The whole place has a laid-back, European feel that I really dig.

“Would you like to sit inside or outside?” the hostess asked.

“Inside.” I said.

“Outside.” Jewish Friend said.

Then we proceeded to have an adorable tiff over where we should sit. These kinds of tiffs are usually thought to be charming or endearing by the male population, but this hostess seemed unamused. Finally, I wore down Jewish Friend and we were seated inside.

Drinks orders were taken after we had had more than enough time with the menu, and then we waited…

and waited…

and waited.

Jewish Friend gets very cranky when she is hungry, and started squirming and acting petulant.

“Where is our server/ what is going on here/ why is that bitch ignoring us?”

Finally, after 5 minutes of waiting for the drinks we had already ordered (that we could see sitting on the bar), and an additional 5-7 minutes of waiting for the drinks order to be taken, I went up to the bar where the hostess was dodging our pointed looks by studying some kind of map.

“Excuse me,” I said, “but we’ve been ready to place our orders for some time if you don’t mind.”

“Actually, I’m not your server.” she informed me.

Since she was the only person in the place who had shown the slightest interest in our table, I was a bit surprised by this, but also not surprised because her ignoring of us had been so brazen, she couldn’t have been counting on a tip.

“Do we have a server?” I asked.

“You sure do!” she replied in a faux chipper tone.

I returned to my seat and assured Jewish Friend that she would be fed soon, and that we would order some pommes frites to keep her concious until her entree came out.

Finally, after another five minutes, a young man came out with our drinks orders and a hunk of warm bread with no butter or dipping oil of any kind. He took our orders, and went away.

Jewish Friend went up to the bar and asked another man for butter in what was intended to be a cute and charming manner, but got the impression that he was making fun of her.

“I said that I’d been served bread with no butter and found it strange. I was trying to be lighthearted and cute, but I really don’t think he took it that way.”

We spent the rest of our meal trying to make it up to our server that we had been the slightest bit rude to the bitchy hostess. We gushed about the dipping sauces served with the pommes frites, “Bechemel, eh? It’s delicious”, we praised him excessively when he brought out refills, we complimented his brute strength at being able to carry my gigantic serving of mac & cheese, “You can carry that with one hand, goodness!” etc.

The reason I haven’t mentioned the mac & cheese really at all up until this point, is that is was completely unremarkable except for its size. $11 gets you about a pound and a half of what the menu called “three cheeses topped with breadcrumbs and tomatoes” but what I call “something that is only slightly better than PastaRoni”. It was bland. It was simply so unremarkable that I cannot come up with anything else to say about it.

Once we got our server, the service was adequate, but I only tipped 10%, which I still feel guilty about.

Decor/atmosphere: 9. I really like the look of the place

Service: 2. I’m really being generous here, they get a 2 because no one swore at me, but I’ll take a little swearing if it gets me prompt service.

Food: 4. The pommes frites really were good, but the mac & cheese was bullshit.

Total: 15

I haven’t spent a lot of time around home-schooled kids, because, why would I? Home-schooled kids in my hometown (and I imagine all towns) were always at home. They weren’t involved in any after-school activities, and no one in their peer group really knew they existed. The most immediate experience I have with home-schooled kids is that episode of South Park where they have the spelling bee and the homeschoolers sweep it. There are two of them in the episode, I think, a brother and sister. They’re both freakishly knowledgeable, but socially awkward and twitchy.

That is the reason that I am vehemently anti-home-schooling. As painful as public school is, the socialization element is crucial. My public school education was woefully sub-par (there was a lot of coloring and other assorted art projects), and I was tortured by the other kids, but I would never take it back or change it (well, I would like to have had a better education, but I had a lot of downtime to read, which was really all I cared about) because it made me the well-adjusted adult I am today. My thoughts are, educate your kids at home as well; don’t expect the schools to do everything, and make sure they learn how to learn and love learning while they get the invaluable and unteachable social lessons that come with formal education.

It doesn’t matter how much you know, if you can’t have a casual conversation with someone, and/or deal with life if it’s less than rosy.

At the public library, we’re in full-swing with the summer reading program. The way it works is that kids sign up, they read and report the reading to us, then we give them prizes– pretty straightforward. A couple weeks ago, I signed up a whole family of home-schooled kids.

One of the other elements of the SRP is that kids set a reading goal, somewhere between 15 and 50 hours that they commit to read before the big finale party. Many kids get terrified when I tell them that 15 hours of reading is the minimum, they start to second guess whether or not it’s all worth it, but eventually give in and sign up anyway (usually with prodding/orders from mom). A lot of kids who have done the program before realize that 15 hours over the course of 2 months is nothing and commit to 20-30. These home-schooled kids– all of whom have odd, religious names– just blinked at me and said “50 hours, I can’t read more than that?”

“Of course you can,” I replied, “We just record only up to 50 hours.”

A couple weeks later, I was at the desk when they came in to report. Each of the reading log sheets has nine hours worth of boxes for the kids to check off– oldest home-schooled kid had filled one and half sheets, in one week. Most kids do about two to three hours of reading, he had done twelve and assured me he would have done more had the family not gone on vacation.

“I’ll give you two more sheets then, for next week.” I told him, “Do you think that will be enough?”

“Maybe.” he responded with a dorky horsey-sounding laugh.

I love kids who love reading; I get excited to talk about books with them and make recommendations– but this kid, I wanted to beat up and take his lunch money, which is probably what would happen to him daily if he actually went to real school.

I’m in a bit of a stand-off with a supervisor at job #1 about the length of my lunch break. She would like me to take an hour; I would rather take 30 minutes. This is an infuriating situation for a number of reasons:

1. I know my rights as a worker, and I’m only required to take 30 minutes of unpaid break-time for each 8 hours of work, yet she keeps telling me labor laws insist that I must take an hour.

2. If I’m at work, I would prefer to be working, and getting paid, instead of sitting uncomfortably in the breakroom watching the clock.

3. An hour is simply too long to sit in a breakroom and watch the clock, but I have no where else to go, and really no agenda outside of the building.

4. I’m an adult, or at least I can be tried as one, I really don’t like being told that I must do something when what I have been doing is not technically wrong.

5. My work is not physically demanding, therefore, sitting for an hour just makes me sleepy.

6. This is a very petty grievance and I’m spending far too much time/energy thinking about it, but if you do the math, taking a 1/2 hour lunch vs. an hour lunch the 3 days a week that I work makes me almost $20–that’s walking around money.

The other day I was asked to come in for a very short shift. This job is 45 minutes away from where I live and it costs me $10 in gas and tolls to go there, but I acquiesced because I had to go to my other job anyway, and it wasn’t that much extra driving.

“You can leave at noon,” supervisor told me.

“Well, I don’t have to be to other job until 1pm, so I can stay until 12:30.” I replied.

“Well, you’ll need to have time for lunch.”

In this case, I realize that she is just being considerate/concerned, but really– don’t. I can live many days without eating if I choose to, and I would rather just eat when I get home and can really enjoy it rather than filling up on some kind of travel food like the instant oatmeal I keep in my purse at all times. If I had been really hungry, I could grab a road bagel of something.

Does anyone really enjoy the breaks that they take at work? Does anyone feel rested and restored after taking them, or are people merely less hungry and more aware that the work day is half done? Perhaps the problem is me, and I simply cannot quiet my mind enough to truly appreciate the break.

I hate being a brat about this because I really do feel bratty, but I also feel like for as old as I am, and as many degrees as I have– this should not be my biggest battle. This situation makes me feel like the little kid I used to be where I would ask questions, get unsatisfactory answers, demand better answers, and then be told to knock it off.

Someone translated my blog into French, and they chose the blog where I talk about Québécois– that may not be a total coincidence. Either way, it’s pretty fun to read.

J’ai obtenu une puissante réponse à mon précédent blog sur Woonsocket, alors j’ai décidé d’en faire un deux-fer. Principalement parce que j’ai été là! Yay!! Yay! Despite all of you doubting Thomasinas, Malgré tout vous Thomasinas doute, je aventurés à ce Woonsocket-et l’a trouvé belle.

Deux amis de la prairie est venu visiter récemment: Heidi et son mari Zac Echola (qui veut son nom sur l’Internet autant que possible). Je devais venir les chercher dans Shirley, MA et sur le disque retour à la Providence, Zac Echola demandé s’il y avait quelque chose pourrait nous arrêter et de faire en cours de route. The Museum of Work and Culture in Historic Woonsocket. Je pensais que pour un peu, puis de rappeler Le Musée du Travail et de la culture dans la ville historique de Woonsocket.

“Qu’est-ce que c’est?” Zac Echola demandé.

Je crois que c’est un musée dédié à les Québécoises et les Québécois qui y vivre et a travaillé dans les usines.”

“Let’s go!” Zac Echola cris, sa femme et laminés à ses yeux.

Donc, nous avons trouvé le musée, se sont rendus, et attendu à la réception pendant environ trois minutes avant un vieux, vieux mélangées à l’extérieur du bureau et réalisé nous y étions.

“C’est seulement 5 $ aujourd’hui, car il ya une douche de mariage en cours au sein de l’Union Hall.”

“Ok”.

“Est-ce que des élèves de vous?”

“Oui,” nous lui a dit: “Nous sommes tous.”

“Etudiants taux est de 5 $», at-il mis en veille “, mais qui ne dépend pas de vous causer c’est ce que vous payez de toute façon.” Il a sorti une carte et d’une amende point marqueurs Crayola violet. “Vous commencez ici à la maison de ferme, et si vous appuyez sur le bouton ci-dessous ici”, at-il a un point sur la carte “, vous pouvez entendre Jessie et Simone de conversation au sujet de quitter le Canada et à venir vers le Nouveau Monde. Ensuite, vous allez ici et appuyez sur le bouton ci-dessous, “d’un autre point,” à regarder le film. After that you go here, and then you can go upstairs. Après cela, vous allez ici, puis vous pouvez aller en haut. Maintenant vous pouvez généralement regarder la télévision dans l’Union Hall, mais il ya une douche en mariage aujourd’hui, si je suis passé en haut du téléviseur et mis en quatre chaises “, at-il a quatre petites marques et une case pour représenter la télévision,” ici. Ensuite, vous allez ici, et il existe des dispositifs à écouter ici, ici, ici, ne pas utiliser celui-ci, le son est si bas que vous ne pouvez pas entendre quoi que ce soit, et ici. “Il a remis la nouvelle nous a marqué la carte», Bonne chance à vous. “

Nous sommes donc allés dans la ferme et écouter de la Simone et Jessie du bon flic / mauvais flic de routine à venir à l’Amérique:

Simone: «L’Amérique est une terre magique, plein de possibilités.”

Jessie: “Mais nous allons perdre notre culture et la religion.”

Simone: “En Amérique, nous pouvons travailler dans les usines et rendre la vie meilleure pour nos parents.”

Jessie: “Je ne veux pas quitter notre patrie.” Etc

L’échange a duré un bon trois minutes, et je ne pouvais pas m’empêcher de penser: Les filles, vous allez passer avec vos parents indépendamment de vos sentiments à ce sujet, afin quitter perdre mon temps. Fort heureusement, il n’a pas été traduit en québécois comme bien, mais que mai ont été plus intéressant. Après Simone avait vendu à peu près tout le monde sur la façon glamour de la vie en Amérique, nous avons vu un bref documentaire sur quel point il aspire à travailler dans un moulin. Noix de vous, Simone.Dans les enfants de la partie du musée, nous avions une canette de tri concours (Heidi gagné), j’ai des coups de poing sur une ancienne horloge en temps (Heidi essayé de me convaincre qu’il s’agissait d’une antique et je n’étais pas censé toucher – il pourquoi ils ont échantillon punchcards il alors, hmmm?), et les biens meubles affiche est née de notre vie sans avoir à pousser des boutons (qui, après Simone conservés nous tous au sein de la maison de ferme de façon trop longtemps, nous avons décidé de nous tout va sauter à partir de maintenant), et la peur de la merde. Au deuxième étage, je renversé par les anciens annuaires dans l’école, joue du piano dans le salon de la triple-étages (nous sauté regarder la télévision que le vieil homme a lugged l’étage pour nous, mais acclamé lorsque nous avons vu les quatre chaises, tout comme il nous avait dit), et a trouvé le dispositif d’écoute qui juste ne fonctionne pas (bien que, quelqu’un a essayé de fixer avec du ruban adhésif-mon genre de personnes).

Puis il s’est mis à neiger sur Magical Woonsocket. Donc, nous avons vu venir à elle, et a remarqué une patinoire extérieure de l’autre côté de la place, que nous n’avons pas aller, mais en revanche, a une conversation sur la façon dont les patinoires extérieures sont assez impressionnants.

Nous complété la journée avec une marche (dans la neige) les trottoirs au centre-ville historique de Woonsocket. Zac Echola émerveillé au nombre de panneaux publicitaires “weiners chaud”, négocié et mal utilisé pour un CD. Here is a reenactment of the bargaining: Voici un Reenactment de la négociation:

Zac Echola: “Je veux acheter ce CD. This is awesome, Heidi, donnez-moi l’argent.

Heidi: “Je n’ai pas de liquidités.”Zac Echola: “Andria, avez-vous des espèces je peux emprunter.” Je n’ai pas mis un point d’interrogation à la fin de cette question parce que Zac Echola ne pas utiliser des points d’interrogation.

Moi: “J’ai un peu d’argent, mais je ne suis pas contribuer plus de $ 2 pour cette stupide chose.”

Zac Echola: «Je ne paieraient pas plus de 2 $ pour ce de toute façon-je vais à la négociation.” Zac Echola marcher résolument au pouvoir adjudicateur de la boutique pion, “Combien pour ce CD, mon brave homme.”

Good Man: “$ 2”.

Zac Echola: (brève pause) “Vendu”.

Zac Echola est alors revenu à pied où sa femme et moi avons été ouvertement se moquer de lui et dit: «Je pense qu’il nous entendre.”

Maintenant, pour donner crédit à tous les commentaires glorieux je suis arrivé sur Fasciné par cette Woonsocket:

Jenna dit:

Q: Combien d’ampoules peut-on vis dans le Rhode Island?

R: Un! There’s only Woonsocket.

— Haha, très drôle, Jenna

Lex dit:

Ne pas aller

– Trop tard, Lex, et je suis de retour en arrière. Vous pouvez venir avec moi.

Sarah dit:

Il suffit de surfer blog ici… Je vis à Woonsocket. Il n’ya rien de vraiment spectaculaire à ce sujet. We don’t even have a bookstore. Nous n’avons même pas une librairie. Le Starbucks tout récemment fermé. Si vous aimez les bonnes affaires, je vais proposer au magasin-entrepôt CVS Mark Stevens (heures d’ouverture sont maintenant 10-6). Si vous tricoter Je vous conseillons de Yarnia.

— Je n’ai consultez Yarnia. Il est un peu hors de ma gamme de prix, mais je ri au nom pour le reste de la journée. En fait, je suis un petit rire à ce sujet pour le moment. Je vais vérifier la entrepôt CVS, parce que j’aime bonnes affaires, et que n’importe quelle ville peut fermer un Starbucks est un-ok dans mon livre.

Joanharvest dit:

Je suis né à Woonsocket, RI 58 ans. Ma mère et son père était propriétaire d’une épicerie sur Road.I Manville est allé à Mt. Saint François qui est maintenant un poste de soins infirmiers home.I suis moitié des Canadiens français. La dernière fois que j’ai visités, juste pour voir ce que les choses étaient comme était d’environ 15 ans. Ma mère avait 12 frères et soeurs, je suis sûr que je encore ont des parents il si nous ne sommes pas en contact. Son nom de jeune fille a été Lemay. Lorsque je vivais là, il était une usine de textile ville. Je voudrais visiter à nouveau un jour.

— Très intéressante histoire de la famille Joan. De mon temps limité dans Woonsocket, je peux vous dire encore qu’il ressemble à une usine de la ville, mais s’est adaptée avec le temps. Je vous recommande de faire visiter à nouveau un jour, comme il est beau.

Alf dit:

Je suis bummed que le Starbucks fermé. J’avais l’habitude de s’arrêter sur ma façon de travailler de Cumberland.

Sur une note positive, je viens de découvrir un excellent restaurant à Woonsocket appelé Vintage.

– Regrettons que Starbucks, Alf, je tiens également à apprécier un café sur la route ma façon de travailler. Aussi, merci pour le restaurant recommandation.Voilà, j’ai mon prochain voyage à Woonsocket tous les projets: achat d’affaires, peut-être remontant à Yarnia, de conduire à Manville route pour voir si Joan parents épicerie est toujours là, et le dîner à Vintage. Peut-être que je vais aller assez tôt pour que je peux avoir le déjeuner, car j’ai entendu que le poisson “n” puces place en face du Musée du Travail et de la culture est très renommée.

Je suis un Woonsocketeer.

My Jewish Friend loves animals. She is unapologetic in her devotion to her cat, she eagerly seeks out the company of animals on the street, and on more than one occasion she has shown me pictures of cute animals that she looks at during class, or if we’re not in class– she emails me links. Then I have to say, “you can’t raise that shrew/puppy/rooster/wombat/chinchilla/aardvark, your cat would eat it.” It’s vaguely reminiscent of my friend Dan who used to (and may still), begin sentences with “I met an interesting dog yesterday.”

There are also times, when Jewish Friend and I can’t come up with a fun free adventure, so we wind up at the Providence Animal Rescue League where we play with kitties and puppies, and she tries to convince me to take one home saying things like “I’ll pay half, but you have to let me play with it for the rest of the day.”

I’ve successfully resisted thus far, though I was completely taken in by a precious little kitten named Orville– man he was cute.

It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon, but also exhausting because there are adorable kittens named Orville that I can’t take home, sweet older cats who really only need a new sofa to crash on until they die in two years, and yowling Siamese with odd-shaped heads that make you wonder if they’ll ever get adopted.

There was one cat too, that looked just like mine. He was huddled back in the corner of his cage and looked scared and sad. I saw that he had been in the shelter for a long time and decided to throw some affection his way.

He swatted at me and then hissed for emphasis. That’s when I noticed the for sale sign just above his cage proclaiming that he had been marked down from $75 to just $25! That’s a pretty big markdown. That’s a pretty rude cat.

Now Jewish Friend has a new roommate who brought with her the meanest cat in the world. The mean cat also likes to stake out the doorway of Jewish Friend’s bedroom, and swipe at her if she ever tries to enter her own space. The feelings of confusion and disappointment that Jewish Friend feels seem to have gotten her down quite a bit, and I’m sure there will be a phone call soon “Let’s go to the Animal Rescue league and see some nice cats.”

Temple has the vibe of a place that men take women they want to have affairs with.

Prior to beginning the Mac & Cheese quest, I had only ever visited the bar at Temple, but I’ve always felt like that description completely sums it up. The bar area is dimly lit with dark wood, and some kind of red room at the end that looks like a rapist paradise (I’ve never ventured into that space though, so it may be lovely). I went there for cocktails with Culture Friend after a night at the ballet, and got a comment from a middle-aged golf buddy about the murkiness of my martini.

“It’s a filthy martini,” I told him.

He said something along the lines of “you bad girl.”

On one of our cocktail outings Jewish Friend and I had seen on the menu that they serve truffle macaroni and cheese for a very reasonable price. We decided to try it one Sunday evening when all of the restaurants we really wanted to go to were inexplicably closed.

When we arrived, there was one other table occupied, and the hostess asked us if we wanted a table or a booth. I immediately replied “booth” and we were taken to a booth so vast that I could have comfortably lived there. Since the booth was so large, and there were only two of us, placement of our bodies and silverware became more cerebral than it should have been.

“It looks like a harem in here.” Jewish Friend said.

And it did.

I’ve never been in a harem, but aside from a lack of heaps of pillows and belly dancers– this place had a total harem vibe, and I think there are actually heaps of pillows in the red rapist room– can’t be sure. Our giant booth was covered in some kind of orange velour and it had a curtain tied back that just seemed to say to me “you can pull me shut and have sex right here.”

We did not do that, and when I asked Jewish Friend to pull it closed just to see if we had the slightly sleazy option of total privacy– she said “no, I will not be doing that.”

The truffle macaroni & cheese is listed on the appetizer menu, so it only costs $12. It’s served in a little hot-pot with a nice crust of cheese on the top and a giant spoon to heap it onto your appetizer plate. I’ve never had truffles before, or truffle oil– so I can’t speak to that aspect of the mac & cheese (which is clearly its selling point), but I can say that it was delightful. It was cheesy without being overly cheesy, messy but not in a way that leaves you with oil and flecks of dairy all over your chin, and filling without being heavy.

Perfect wintertime comfort food.

Decor/atmosphere: 5. Harem vibe, sex booth.

Service: 7. Seating and food delivery was very prompt, but we had to wait extraordinarily long for our bill.

Food: 8. Mac & cheese was excellent, fries were merely ok.

Total: 20

A while ago, Jewish Friend and I were at a diner and I noticed macaroni & cheese on the menu. Since we were having breakfast, I didn’t order that, but I remarked how much I love macaroni & cheese and wondered out loud where the best macaroni & cheese in Providence is.

“La Laterie,” Jewish friend informed me, “they have the best, someone sampled all of them a while back and said La Laterie is the best.”

“Don’t you think it would be fun to try them all and compare them?” I asked.

“La Laterie is the best.”

In spite of having been raised kosher (or maybe because of it), Jewish Friend likes to eat as much bacon as she can– clearly sampling all the mac & cheese Providence has to offer is not as exciting for her as it is for me. Nevertheless, she loves to eat out as long as she can sample the mac & cheese that I order, and get her meat fix.

The plan is to write a mini-review of the restaurant as a whole paying particular attention mac & cheese. I’ll note decor/atmosphere, service, and food and assign each a rating between 1 and 10, 10 being the best. After I’ve sampled all of the mac & cheese I can find, I’ll list them in order of best to worst as I see it.

One of my co-workers apparently has a rather cool Jesus mural in her basement. I’ve yet to see the mural, though I’ve expressed my interest more than once and have been to her house. Within my first week of employment, co-worker and boss lady were talking about some kick-ass party that had been had and how groovy it is to hang out in this room with the Jesus mural.

“I want to see it.” I said, perhaps a bit eagerly.

“Yeah,” co-worker said, “you’ll have to come to the next one.”

“Unless,” boss lady piped in, “I wouldn’t want you to be offended by the mural, I could see how some would be offended by it.” and she gave me a significant look.

I couldn’t tell if I was being tested, like if I could figure out the secret handshake, or if they genuinely thought I may be someone who would be offended by this mural, and wanted to give me an easy way to decline the invitation.

Since I had already expressed interest in seeing it, I started to feel a little like the desperate, nerdy kid just begging to let him/her come over ‘just for an hour or something.’ Then I realized that there seems to be no good way, short of saying something like “I hate Jesus, and I’m sure I’ll love anything that casts him in a less than holy light”, to really emphatically convey that you want to see the damn mural.  I wasn’t even angling for a party invitation so much as just 30 seconds in this woman’s basement, but there is no good, concise way to say that.

Like I said, I still haven’t seen the mural. I’m not going out of my mind here, but I really want to know if there is a good way to assert your true feelings in a situation like this, or if I should just brush it off.

When I was in high school, there was an incident that I still remember vividly as just being bizarre and not knowing what to do with it. I used to hang out with the local rock stars (which still sounds super cool, I think). They had a band, and the lead singer’s parents had given him their garage to practice in. They turned the space into what was pretty much an apartment- couches, fridge, tv, amps etc., and we spent all of our time there. One day, some friends of the family were visiting from Winnipeg, MB and they came out to the garage to say hi. The woman expressed a thirst and was offered a can of Coke.

Then my friend who had offered it to her, turned to me and said, “Unless, did you want this, Andria?”

I was not thirsty at all, perhaps I had accidentally looked at the can with longing, or swallowed in an exaggerated manner– I don’t know. “No, I’m not thirsty.” I said, thinking that would be the end of it.

“Are you sure?” he asked now pulling the proffered can away from the other woman and getting ready to bring it to me.

“Yeah, really, I’m sure.”

The woman grabbed the can away from him and brought it over to me. “Here, take it, it’s ok.”

I pulled my hands back, “No, really, I’m not thirsty.”

“I can stop and get something on our way out of town, you take this.”

Finally, I could think of nothing else to do, so I just looked at her and said, “Seriously, I don’t want it.”

She seemed offended, but took the can back and opened it. “Ok, well, thanks.”

Then there was a moment of awkward silence as we all tried to think of ways to shift the conversation away from the controversial can of soda.

So I’m all about sensitivity to others’ sensitivities, and sensitivity to others’ thirst– but sometimes it just gets ridiculous. If I say I’m not thirsty and I really am– that’s my problem. If it’s awkward to hang out with me because I’m your employee, then we’ll all just say that we plan to hang out and then never follow through on it– everyone wins.

I do really want to know, though, is there a good way to deal with this? Is there a thing that you can say that asserts your true feelings without seemingly overly emphatic, or is it all just doomed to awkwardness?

I used to always have to work on the 4th of July. When I was in high school and didn’t have a car, I had to walk home after dark, and I always made the joke that it was like walking home in Northern Ireland with random booms and pops scaring the crap out of me the whole way. Of course I was waiting for a stray bottle rocket to skewer my wrist, or for a string of Black Cats to dance too close to my shoes. Now my neighborhood is being terrorized by a Laotian gang known as “Laos Pride” who shot and killed a kid six blocks from my house.

“PROVIDENCE — A decision by two Smith Hill teenagers to walk through a pack of Laos Pride gang members cost one of them his life, the police said.

Jeffrey Lopez, 19, was gunned down Monday night on the front porch of an apartment house less than two blocks from where the confrontation took place on a Camden Avenue sidewalk. A second shot grazed the back of Lopez’s friend, Carlos Javier, also 19.”

Apparently the Providence Police’s Gang Intervention Unit has made this a top priority, but I’m not sure what that means since the paper tells me that gun violence has surged in recent months. This is why I don’t read the paper or watch the news.

I was talking to a co-worker about this the other day and she asked if I had heard the gunshots from this recent event. I was out of town at the time, but I told her that I always seem to hear random pops and cracks at night, so much so, that I’ve really stopped paying attention. Her eyes got really big, and she didn’t say anything.

When I lived in downtown Fargo, my parents feared for my safety. My mother told me that the entire year I lived in that apartment, she slept poorly. They find my neighborhood in Providence colorful and charming, “I think people really take notice of me when I’m walking around your neighborhood.” my dad told me when they were here visiting before.

“Why do you think that is?” I asked him.

“I think it’s because I’m so tall, and I have my khaki pants pressed…”

“And because you’re white?”

“I am white.”

I have no big plans for the 4th of July. I have a stack of books and travel DVDs, and a cold I’m recovering from. Apparently Smith Hill is also known for a super kick-ass 4th of July party. I think I’ll sit home, and listen to the festivities hoping all of that booming is the good kind.

A while ago, I met a friend at the mall for a movie. I have a firm rule that I will not patronize a movie theatre that serves Pepsi products (which is why I was so excited to find the greatest, Coke-serving movie theatre ever), but my friend had gotten us free passes, which supercedes the no patronizing rule since I’m paying nothing.

I got to the mall early because traffic was light and decided to treat myself to Taco Bell. Yes, Taco Bell is a treat for me. I realize that the food is horrifyingly close to being plastic, and the guacamole and sour cream are dispensed with weird guns– but I think it’s delicious, and I’ve had very little luck finding decent Mexican food in Rhode Island.

I picked out a table near the window, took my book (Diary of Anne Frank) out of my bag, emptied out the 15 packets of hot sauce onto the burrito wrapper, and tucked into my delightful meal. I finished my small, free cup of water quite quickly, but had a water bottle of tepid water in my purse. I poured that over the remaining ice. Then, when I was done with my burrito, I pulled out a squished but still edible fruit and nut bar from my purse’s inside pocket to have for dessert.

Then I realized what I had done was a little odd, and a little like something that a crazy person might do. I wondered what I would think if I had been another person in the mall food court watching me do what I had just done.

Moments ago I looked into my purse and smiled with satisfaction as I saw the medium-sized box of Kleenex that I stole from the hotel in Montreal nestled in its depths. I mentally congratulated myself for being so smart as to take it.

I’ve started reading Babysitter’s Club books again– picking up where I left off when I was a kid.

I need to get a new piece of duct tape to repair my jacket but am reluctant to buy duct tape as I never use it fast enough and it gets all goopy-sticky, which I find extremely annoying.

I hoard food, and have no qualms saying to people “I hoard food” like some people say “I’m a soprano” or “I speak French”, like it’s a hobby.

I’m very excited to visit the National Plastics Museum

I’m shipping $125 worth of underwear to a friend’s house because my neighbors steal my mail, and because it’s been about 7 years since I bought underwear and most pairs have holes in them. I prefer to get it all done in one fell swoop so I don’t have to think about it.

In the past 4 months I’ve gotten banned for life from a diner and picked a fight with the curator of the National Diner Museum (because it’s not a real museum, and its website is poorly written!).

Maybe I’m not eccentric, I’m just interesting– maybe it’s all subjective.