September 23, 2003 - 8:08 a.m.

extra super-duper fancy schmancy tomatoes

so, i've apparently not updated my diary in such a long time that i'm no longer a gold member.

which would explain why all those pictures disappeared. i suppose now's as good a time as any to start writing again with a new look, a new ... well, it's not actually a *year* - but the year of my previous gold membership is over so ... whatever.

it's all new and good. or will be. just hold your horses and i'll get to it when i get the chance. you're so demanding.

anyway ...

i've always considered myself able to handle stressful/difficult/surprising situations with aplomb. what? there's a crisis? p-shaw! i'll smooth through it without breaking a sweat. you should have seen how calm i was when the bank guard cut off his finger.

did i tell you that story? i don't think i did. well, this is not that story. that'll have to be another day.

*this* story is not nearly as significant, but it does show how one can easily be humbled by plain tomatoes.

my calm demeanor? the cool-as-a-cucumber exterior? means nothing when i'm talking to someone who's first language was not english. then it's nothing but a mind-aching paranoia that the other person is going to think i'm an idiot for not understanding them. never mind that they probably get people asking them to repeat themselves more than once. never mind that they're probably feeling just as frustrated because they can't express themselves clearly.

no ... in my mind this is what is on an endless-looping tape: "they took the time to learn *your* language! what's your problem? here they are, trying to communicate with you and you don't have the common decency to *UNDERSTAND THEM*??" so imagine trying to listen to someone and comprehend what they're saying while someone is yelling *that* in your ear.

yeah, i thought so.

we were at blue water taco grill the other day an i ordered a smothered burrito, but since i abhor cliantro (and i *know* we've had *that* discussion - don't get me started), i asked for no pico de gallo and no cilantro. she started preparing it and when she got to the point where the pico de gallo would go on, she asked me a question. i didn't hear/understand what she said so i asked her to repeat herself.

she said:

'would you like plain tomatoes instead?'

and my brain said:

'plain tomatoes? did she say plain tomatoes? what are plain tomatoes? i've never heard that term before! are they prepared a special way? is there something different about them? look at her! she's expecting a response! tell her! do you want plain tomatoes? oh my god! what are *plain tomatoes*! i know! look wildly around - that'll make the situation better. look wildly around and pretend like you're contemplating that question. comtemplate it like it is the *most profound* question you've ever been asked. she's waiting for you to say something! *SAY SOMETHING*! *DAMMIT! DO YOU WANT PLAIN TOMATOES OR NOT*! oh ... plain tomatoes. those tomatoes right there that are all by themselves. just chopped tomatoes. plain. yeah. you'd like those. those would be nice ... and you should probably tell her now.'

and i said:

'oh, plain tomatoes. yeah. that would be good.'

and my brain said:

'stop acting so nonchalant. you're not allowed right now. you're an idiot.'

and i really couldn't argue with it.