We ask it incessantly – those of us who are unceasingly caught off guard by the fleet feet of time – because it’s a question worth asking. From time to time it’s worth reflecting on how we spend our time, to see if we’re using it well, although reflection seldom makes us feel any better.
Sherman aggressively asked the question again last week: Where in the hell has the year gone? We were at Magnolia Pub & Brewery, on the corner of Haight and Masonic, smack in the heart of America’s most famous experiment in self-organizing social constructions.
“For Christ’s sake,” he urged, “how is it Memorial Day already?” He sucked on a tall glass of Chimay to try and coat his dismay. “I swore I’d have my taxes done by now – before we went to Pebble Beach.” (Sherman has a weekend house along 17 Mile Drive. He and Jan and the kids go every Memorial and Labor Day.) “God damn business is a pain in the ass,” he complained. (He has a business on the side. I don’t ask any questions. Don’t even know about it, actually. Never heard of it. Nope..)
Magnolia was a good call. Government made Sherman grumpy. To soothe his wild beast we ordered a starter plate of deviled eggs – they’re tangy, a little bit bitey, and came with bacon and a creamy yolk. Deviled eggs are one of Sherman’s comfort foods.
For his main course, Sherman paired his mind-softening Chimay with a plate of housemade lamb merguez, which came served with eggplant caponata spiced with zaatar – a surge of middle eastern spice that he dedicated to the recently departed Osama bin Laden. He accused my chicken sausage with braised little gems and caramelized cippolinis of being “quaint”. I thought it was good, though I kind of liked his merguez better.
We ordered a side of fries to go with our sausage plates but the waiter brought a tossed salad by mistake.
“What the –?!” blurted Sherman. “Fries man, we ordered the fries!”
You don’t mess with Sherman and his Magnolia fries: they’re handcut sweeties with good salt. I told him to keep his mouth in check; we’ve eaten at Magnolia before and we’ll be eating there again.
Much as he tried to avoid it, with his griping about the IRS and some characteristically backhanded compliments about killing bin Laden Sherman had fully opened the door to his least favorite topic and only reasonable sequitur: government elections. Salty fries, while vigorous and delicious, do not a tonic make. The Republicans have all begun jockeying for position to get their party’s nomination so they can run against Obama. Regrettably, Sherman opined, none of them was likely to get sucked up by the coming Rapture.
When I joking suggested a Palin-Trump ticket for 2012, Sherman just about choked on a caramelized cippolini he’d swiped off my plate.
“Not too quaint, eh?” I said.
Sherman grunted. “If either of those two lunatics gets elected to the Executive branch of our government, I’m leaving this country for good.”
(Provided he’s paid his taxes.)