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Showing posts from November, 2017

To F and the leg o' lamb.

F and I moved to Baltimore, his hometown, in 2000 so he could be closer to his family.  Our lives changed for the better when F decided to go to culinary school (Baltimore International College, now defunct, but it had good 2 and 4-year culinary programs).  During class breaks he would call me up from a pay phone outside of school to relay interesting bits of information he learned. I’ll always remember the first week he was enrolled in a sanitation class when he called me up one morning. I’d barely had time to say “Hello?” into the receiver when he barked out, “WE’VE BEEN EATING LETTUCE ALL WRONG. WASH THAT SHIT THREE TIMES. EVEN THE STUFF IN THE BAG THAT SAYS IT’S ALREADY CLEAN. WE’RE ALL GONNA GET SICK AND DIE”.  I dropped the phone and in a panic ran to the refrigerator.  Grabbing the lettuce bag by the corner with just two fingers and holding it away from me as far as possible so that it would have the least amount of contact with my skin, I dumped the contents into the sink and…

taxi stories.

‘Xin chao!", I announced to the driver, getting in the back of the taxi. My many shopping bags situated, door closed, settled in seat. Then I gave the address of where I was going. “Muoi tam Nguyen Thi Minh Khai”.

“Very good”, said the driver in perfect English. “Your Vietnamese is very good!”.

“Oh - you are very nice. But I am still learning. I try to learn addresses and numbers. But your English is excellent”.

“I learn at University. Many years ago. And from driving taxi. Where you from?”

“San Francisco”, I said. I’ve realized it’s much easier to tell people this than to say Atlanta, as most locals don’t know where that is. And since I was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and my folks live most of the year there, that’s where I have begun telling people I’m from.

“Ah! San Francisco!”, he said excitedly, then belted out, “I left my heart in San Francisco! High on a hill, it calls to meee!”.

I giggled. This has happened to me a couple of times before. Not all taxi drivers can s…