I’m celebrating. In a very small way. No, not because I finally took a food photo that gets the colors right and actually makes the food look appetizing.
Rather, I am pleased because this is the avocado salad that kicked this whole blog off, just a bit over two years ago. I ate it then because I was celebrating because the colitis that the ipilimumab had brought on was helped by steroids. I didn’t realize that it would smack me down almost immediately and I’d be a stranger to fresh veggies, cooked veggies, and food that tasted like anything, for a number of weeks.
I joined my local gym a couple of weeks ago. Across the street from it is the Dominican restaurant where this salad comes from. To celebrate my first gym visit, I stopped in there to get this salad to go. They were out of avocados that day. I tried again today, after my workout. Success. I don’t think the owner thought very highly of my lunch plan. He insisted I take a hefty sample cup of Dominican oatmeal to try. I tasted it. It was thin, like gruel, and decidedly did not hit the spot (but I lied).
All I wanted was to come home and dig into this salad, which is humble and almost certainly wearing dressing that comes from a bottle (what they call in Newfoundland, where I visited ages ago, “Eye-talian dressing”).
In one of the many poetry workshops I took in college, I was assigned to write a poem that was a celebration of an ordinary thing. Back then, if I recall correctly, I wrote a poem about a bus farebox.
Later on in college, I read Brendan Behan’s Borstal Boy, his nonfiction novel about the three years he spent in a juvenile prison. I remember especially being touched by scenes like this one, in which he receives a decent meal from a prison guard (ignore the highlighting):
I just ate the salad, while autumn sunlight streams through the window. I drank seltzer, an act which would have been just a fever dream two years ago today. People today like to say about something good that it “is EVERYTHING.” We all know that isn’t true. I wish it were true. What this was, though, was something.
And now, I’m going to enjoy an afternoon of untroubled digestion and productivity. I wish at least that much to you.