Wouldn’t You Really Rather … ?

I finally bought a new car. It nearly killed me. I know that for many people purchasing a new car is a thrill, but to me, it’s a journey to the land of confusion. Too many models….too many choices. And to be honest, if you haven’t guessed it by now, I’m not a car person. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m not much for hitchhiking or taking mass transit. You really can’t do either living in Phoenix. But today’s cars all seem to look alike. I guess I’m what you might call car blind.

Do I need to pick a color too? 

I test drove a lot of vehicles over a number of months (please don’t gasp—I already admitted I don’t know what I’m doing). It was an odd experience. Mostly because the person sitting next to me (the salesman/woman) was a total stranger. Someone whose very livelihood depended on my decision. And being a sensitive guy, I had a gnawing feeling that if I didn’t buy the car, their job might be on the line.  So, I made nervous small talk and hoped against hope that I would like the car. But I mostly didn’t.

I’m a throw back

I guess I’m really not much for the 2017 models. I like old things. Turner Classic Movies, pies made from scratch, antiques, and yes … car museums with Studebakers and Packards. For some reason, I have a yen to own a big, shiny, gas guzzler from the 30s and 40s. I get that they weren’t good for the environment, lacked safety features, and probably drove like tanks. But anything less seems to be—well—less. That’s how you see the world when you’re car blind.Continue reading . . .    

Betrayed by a Fortune Cookie

Last Saturday, we had lunch at a local Chinese restaurant in my home town of Phoenix.

Being born and raised in New York City, and after living in San Francisco for ten years, I find there tends to be a difference in style between the two Coasts when it comes to preparation. Luckily in Phoenix, you can find Chinese food that caters to either palate.

East Coast Chinese tends to be very Americanized – chow mein, egg foo young, heavy sauces, crispy noodles, sweet and sour everything. West Coast tends to be lighter with lots of seafood options and gentle flavors. East Coast reminds me of my childhood – West Coast – my once insurmountable Mill Valley mortgage.

But both Coasts share one thing in common. The check always arrives with a Fortune Cookie.

Though once disputed by the Hong Kong Noodle Company in Los Angeles, the Courts found in 1983 that the fortune cookie was an early invention of a San Francisco bakery. Should you journey to San Francisco, you can see the cookies being made at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory – part of a walking tour which includes Chinatown.

So there we were at China Chili (East Coast style) in Phoenix. The meal all but consumed and along comes the check. We both reached for our fortune cookies. Jeff, read his aloud. Typical fortune about a bright future. I opened mine and stared at the slip of paper – “Faith answered. No one was there.”

I’ve heard of a bad meal but not a bad fortune cookie. I almost insisted on a do-over as I watched Jeff fall apart with laughter.

Now I realize a writer needs more than faith to be successful, but somewhere in the recesses of my brain, I’d hoped faith in future success would be an advantage.

Next time, I think I’ll ask for the almond cookie.