My apartment was spotless.
I don’t really get motivated to clean out my whole life in the Spring, but somehow, when the air gets crisp and I start buying apples and making soup, I go into, like, Defcon Autumn Cleanse Mode. So I had done the ceremonial cold-weather wardrobe switch in the dressing room, scrubbed my kitchen floor (on my hands and knees, thank you), and finally, after over a year at the Nest, finished filling the empty wall spaces that had somehow not really bothered me until rather recently. I had also, I will confess, treated myself to the acquisition of a new soy candle, the price of which, while not entirely prohibitive (obviously), would have been quite likely better spent on things that might fall more decidedly into the “necessities” column. (But it smells SO lovely. Like figs. And me.)
Clearly, the thing to do at this point was to make dinner with/for a dude. A current Delightful Young Dude.
So we had a plan. We were gonna make this. And this. We were gonna ransack my newly replenished cheese collection, finish the wine we cracked the other night and likely start (and finish…) another one, and have a generally lovely time.
And things were very much on track for all of this to happen. Until, waiting for the bus at North & Kimball, homegirl got her first nosebleed of the season.
The readers with delicate nasal tissue will feel me on this one. The hardier folks are gonna have to dig a little deeper. Because, let it be known: A nosebleed on the fly, with only a profoundly chivalrous Dude and a pocket-pack of Kleenex to defend you from utter mortification and general hot-mess-itude, is probably The Most Infuriating Inconvenience ever to befall the human species. And this one, it still pains me to say, was a serious humdinger. (Note: To my further irritation, I found out this very morning that the whole debacle could have been avoided by executing a rather simple maneuver outlined by my mother, bequeather of the problematic nasal tissue in question. But we won’t talk about that anymore, at the risk of… my head exploding.)
It hum-dinged to the point, in fact, where it was decided it might be prudent to take the Puffs Plus party off the #82 bus and into the bathroom of a wee corner laundromat while Dude darted across the street to the Walgreens for… more tissue. (And, as I found out later, some cookies. “To replenish your blood sugar. You know, like after you give blood,” he grinned. What a guy.)
About twenty tissues, five muffled, embarrassed apologies, and thirty minutes later, we emerged from the bathroom. I was still holding tissues to my nose, but the worst appeared to be over. We had decided to go back to Dude’s house – which was still relatively nearby – until the situation blew over (oh, pun!) completely.
By the time that happened, though, it was roughly 5pm. I was, actually, sort of exhausted after the whole ordeal and had plopped myself onto a stool in the kitchen as Dude popped open the pack of double-chocolate Milanos. He handed one to me, and asked what we should do about dinner. It was, admittedly, getting a bit late – it would take us a solid 40 minutes to get to my place, another 30 to grocery shop, and then that chicken needed at least an hour and a half to roast and rest. At this rate, we would be eating at 8:30. Fine for a Friday or Saturday night; less cool for a schoolnight.
Butbutbutbut! My apartment! Roasted vegetables! My soy candle! No no no no nonoNO!
So I got real. (Okay, I pouted openly for a few minutes and snarfed like three cookies. And then I got real.)
“What do you have in your fridge?” I asked with equal parts disappointment and resignation.
And Dude opened up his fridge and his cabinets, and announced every last viable item we might consider for the evening’s consumption. After several minutes’ consideration (and a few more cookies, and an offer to don a Swedish Chef costume to make me laugh [I had to decline, unfortunately, or risk another nosebleed]), it became clear that the Shit From His Fridge was leading us south of the border. On hand, he had tortillas, chihuahua cheese, a red onion, some garlic, a can of black beans, a can of tomatoes & peppers, and a wee can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. We decided to run across the street for tostadas, a bell pepper or two, a bit more cheese, and some chorizo to round things out.
We came back. Dude fished out the iPod jack from behind his turntables; I handed him my little Nano. The “dinner party” playlist was really just a compilation of all the songs that were evocative of moments/places/people that mattered to me. (We’ve all made this playlist; it’s the one you make when you want someone to get you.) Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone; Jamie Lidell, Elton John; Common, Ratatat; M. Ward, Iron & Wine; a mashup, a remix, a cover. I swung my glass around and warbled to Lou Prima, we bobbed our heads to old Kanye, stirring the chorizo into the onions & peppers. I went from pouting into my cookies to smiling into my wine and snacking on the all-Brunkow cheeze plate that Dude had put together after an especially fruitful visit to the Logan Square farmer’s market.
Soon, the pan was simmering away, full of a red-brown mess of chorizo, peppers, onions, garlic, black beans, tomatoes, and those chipotles with their (reeeeeally good) adobo sauce. We had tostadas and tortillas. We had wine. (We had 5 Milanos left for later.) We had a whole ‘nother playlist – his – to get through.
I will never not detest a nosebleed. I will also probably never not detest foiling of plans, especially my own. What I don’t detest – and rather adore – is the providence of folks who just want to make it all better, have a few cookies, make some tacos, and get on with things as they stand.