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The bi-monthly pub quiz I’ve been going to for almost two years always has a few themes worked into the questions.  The themes can be based on the time of year, something topical, or something totally random.  For instance, with St. Patrick’s Day looming, the themes this Sunday were Saints, the color green, NCAA Basketball (unfortunately), and random Irish stuff.

Early in the game Gentleman Caller and I both noticed an older gentleman sitting at the bar and drinking a cloudy yellow cocktail in a martini glass.  We debated for a while over what it could possibly be.  I said lemondrop, he said “that’s a shot”, I said “maybe it’s both”, he said “how would bartenders know what to make you when you ordered that if it’s actually two things?” etc. The old man at the bar seemed quite happy with whatever it was that he had ordered, and we promptly forgot he was there as we delved into the intense world of quizzing.

The visual round for this particular quiz required us to identify saints from their pictures.  This was tricky business, but we did better than I thought we would despite my suggestions like: “That guy was in the REM Losing my Religion video.”

When the quizzmasters were reading back the answers, the old guy with the fancy cocktail apparently took offense to SOMETHING, and ambled off after drunkenly yelling something unintelligible.  What I think he said was something like “you certainly can’t be a Catholic in this place!”  It also might have been, “You certainly can’t be a saint in this place!”  Gentleman Caller thinks he said “blah blah blah… in the ear!”

Regardless of what it was, it certainly didn’t make much sense, and after he left in a huff there was the collective look around in bafflement before we continued on with the answers to the visual round.  Even though it’s the least important thing in the world, I still wonder what the drunk guy said, and more importantly, what he meant by it.  Was he angry?  Was he trying to be funny?  Did he just want attention?  These are the things that stick in my head and render me unable to accomplish things.

Years ago, I was at Big Sky Resort in Montana and I met a guy from Mississippi, who not only assumed after hearing that I was from North Dakota that I was racist, but who also asserted that I had probably never even met a black person (I guess he just assumed I hate and fear the unknown).  I spent the better part of the night following him around demanding to know what would make him think that.  I wasn’t really offended because his accusation wasn’t based on anything I had done/said, and I’m not racist, just intrigued as to why someone would boldly make that assertion since all he knew about me was that I currently lived in Fargo, ND, a place I’m sure he hadn’t and will never visit.

He was drunk as well, and I never got a real answer out of him.  That clearly still bothers me, as well, but would it kill people to be a little less cryptic so I can go on with my life?

It’s that time of year again where I really, really want to go on vacation. As a result, my travel documentary watching has gotten a little out of hand (again). I was at friends’ house on Monday for dinner and the hosts were telling tales of far-flung locales and trekking up mountains. My contribution: “In Indonesia, for a nominal fee, you can watch a pack of Komodo Dragons eat a goat.”

Host replied “That’s true, have you been?”

“No, I just watched a travel documentary about it.”

Now, I don’t want to go watch Komodo Dragons eat a goat (certainly I wouldn’t pay for the privilege), but it would be nice to hang out in Indonesia (or anywhere, really) for a while. I know this time of year does always get to me because this is when I was in England two years in a row, and various spring break destinations other years– but it seems too, that I tend to surround myself with adventurers. That’s cool, I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it makes me jealous. So, Best Friend by Proxy (BFbP): I’m glad you had fun in Bali and Thailand; Boss lady: I’m glad Granada was lovely, Hosts from Monday night dinner: I loved being able to try a bunch of weird-ass food, and I WILL come visit you in Jakarta– try and stop me.

In other culture shock news, I now live in the most Catholic state in the Union– who knew. Also, not caring much for organized religion, who knew that it would affect me? Yesterday was St. Joseph’s day. I didn’t know there was a St. Joseph, but apparently he’s Mary’s husband– father of Jesus, makes sense that he gets a day. He’s the patron saint of workers and Sicilians (interesting combo). Presumably, he’s had this day as long as I’ve been alive, but not being Catholic, and not being one to learn about saints, I had never heard of him.

Yesterday, I got schooled in Italian pastry. Rhode Islanders love their pastry as evidenced by all of the Dunkin Donuts in the state, and the fact that they all seem to do brisk business, but Italians, apparently have pastry needs above and beyond that of the average Rhode Islander. On St. Joseph’s day, you must eat zeppole, which is a cream filled pastry (I have one sitting on my counter, but wasn’t hungry enough to eat it last night– I’m such a heathen).

I shouldn’t be totally surprised because I’m sure a lot of these people don’t know what lutefisk or lefse are… maybe. I honestly have no idea where the pastries I ate growing up even come from because my dad’s family is Norwegian, my mother’s is English, Irish, Swedish, and Bohemian, and Minnesota and North Dakota have a lot of Germans and Icelanders.

Maybe what I’m reacting to is just the fact that I came from the land of Germans, Norwegians, Swedes, and Icelanders to the land of Italians, Irish, Portuguese, and Cape Verdeans, or maybe I’m reacting to the fact that the bloodlines in this state seem to have mingled less and there are distinct communities. Although Mountain, ND is apparently the most Icelandic city in America, and I got schooled on Italian pastry by a woman who admitted that she is neither Italian nor Catholic, and she had also made Irish soda bread.

So, this week I have eaten, as far as food I had never eaten before: Irish soda bread (plain and with raisins); Kimchee; some fermented tofu that I don’t know the name of; a fermented rice dessert that I don’t know the name of, but the liquid tasted like sake (which makes sense), I have a zeppole at home, and a pot-luck on Saturday (who knows what I’ll find there!). I guess even though I’m not traveling abroad, I’m still experiencing new cultures and trying new foods– and watching tons of travel documentaries.