Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Typical Night Out

My wife and I were driving into Key West Friday night and in the traffic I saw a cyclist stepping into the crosswalk pushing his bike in front of stationary oncoming traffic. I stopped and when I glanced in my mirror I saw a huge white van barreling down on me. I couldn't move and we took the blow. Our seats folded flat from the force, the cubbyholes on the dashboard flew open as did the sunroof cover above our heads and the car was pushed several feet forward. Happily the airbags did not deploy and we later found the car was drive-able and all the lights still work even though the trunk no longer locks closed.
It was a bit of a caper filling out the police paperwork and the unfortunate man who hit me lost his load of fresh water as the force of the blow broke a connecting pipe in the water tank he was transporting. I felt bad for him as these absurd crosswalks are a damned nuisance and the city has asked the state to modify them. Personally I think they should be replaced with aluminum pedestrian bridges and frankly I dread the day they are replaced by traffic lights. Traffic will come to a standstill.
Something like this that I got from the web, perhaps prettier and perhaps bicycle accessible but this way no one gets killed and traffic keeps moving. You'd think it would be simple enough and as North Roosevelt wins no awards for beautification adding a few bridges to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe seems a no brainer. But there again I know nothing about urban transportation.
   Image result for aluminum pedestrian footbridge over a highway
After we got our police report (from my colleagues which was a bit weird as I was on the wrong side of dispatch) we continued with the program of our first night out in six weeks of overtime, influenza and bad schedules. A glass of wine at the piano bar at the Gardens hotel and a chat under the stars with the pianist an old friend from his school district days. Michael has retired and plays piano Friday evenings at the hotel. We also met another long lost friend and chatted with her for a while which all helped us to forget that the back of the car is pretzled...
Walking across the street to the car my wife found a parking ticket on the windshield. I swore up a bit of a storm I'm sorry to say but it was a good joke. One of the parking control officers must have recognized my electric blue car and put an empty envelope on the windshield across from my pay stub. I must have looked demented going from enraged to laughing helplessly within seconds. It can be good and bad working for a police department in a small town. And I've been there a long time by now, ideal to be the victim of a prank.
My wife had long wanted to try the House of Wu which is reported to be excellent by everyone she's spoken to about this new Asian food restaurant. We ordered that very fashionable sandwich called a banh mi and the white coated man set to organizing a crusty baguette type bread with the ingredients. My wife and I used to live not far from San Jose in California which became the locus of Vietnamese settlement for refugees after 1975 so we have long had access to excellent Vietnamese  cuisine.
We both really liked the sandwich, duck, foie gras and julienned carrots and all. I ordered one of their many teas, a pot of Russian Caravan which should (and did) smell a bit like creosote. My wife smelled it and incredulous, watched me enjoy it, before tasting it and saying it didn't taste anything like it smelled. She really should learn to trust me.
 And the bun came next filled with curried chicken (vegetarian buns are available) and delicious. The steamed bun itself was much heavier than the usual white puffy things we are used to in the US and the consistency made it much more tasty than I expected.  
 We shared three dumplings , big heavy things and they too were perfect. We were given a knife to cut up the portions as we were splitting each dish but we did not ask for forks and none were offered though I am told they are available to replace the red plastic chop sticks. I find the Chinese preference for eating with twigs when Europeans have long since figured out how to make forks rather peculiar. I am a product of my culture.
I looked up Wu trying to figure what the word means and it appears as best I can tell to be some sort of derivative of Cantonese Chinese involving food and of the type from Shanghai. I am no Sinologist so perhaps my Internet search let me down. I should have asked but our server was East European (and charming and capable) and I didn't think to inquire of the head chef while we were there.
House of Wu is excellent, no reservations on that score. This place needs lots of visits to explore the cuisine. My wife held off on Black Pepper Crab Custard and I was feeling rather too full to eat it, whatever it is, by myself but we shall return. I like this place a lot.
Now all that's left is to get the car fixed. As one comment said on my Instagram page, cars are a "time suck." Considering I got this one to replace my drowned car after Irma I would have to agree.