Tue 29/08/2023

I am not the type to keep a regular diary, as should be clear by now. I will simply give some recollections from the days in-between entries. My life is not that eventful.

On Sunday we went to one of my wife's colleague's place for dinner. She is from Naples and her mother and sister are visiting her; the mother wanted to cook dinner for her daughter's friends so that's how my wife and I ended up there along a bunch of other colleagues. It was not awkward as one might think, in the end it was a pleasant evening. I wanted to get there early to snatch some cooking secrets under the guise of helping out, but it turns out that basically everything had been prepared ahead of time. We took the bus to and from, because she lives in the suburbs and because taxis are starting to be too expensive nowadays (that is to say, we are starting to be too poor). The dishes were simple - some baked tomato pasta and some meatballs - but very tasty. There was also a cake, with a jam made from the berries that grow in the colleague's garden. Mosquitoes bothered us all night, which I was surprised by, seeing as we get none at all at our place in the city centre. I killed a few with a couch pillow but ended up making a mess on the walls, as they had already bitten someone (luckily we were able to clean up). My wife is one of the likely mosquito victims (she always is, also thanks to her bloodtype), as she has a number of bumps on her legs now; bizzarrely, they only showed up prominently today rather than on the spot. I got to check her amazing ass real close for more bumps, so this has been a net positive for me.

Speaking of annoying bugs, our kitchen has been invaded by fruit flies. I do not understand the reason, since the bin is mostly empty and there was no exposed fruit sending off scents. There must simply be more than usual in the area, which raises more questions than it answers. The bins are in the back of the building and appear to be emptied regularly, so it can't be that. This is not one of those things where eventually you find out, you just have to make peace with it. In any case, I have taken care of the problem for now by setting up an old-style trap: a bowl of vinegar, sugar and a drop of washing liquid to break the surface tension. It is funny how rudimentary yet effective this is. Last time I counted there were 17 dead fruit flies in there. Fuck them.

I talked to my mother on the phone on Monday. Usually she creeps up to me on Sunday, but this time I had to turn her down and postpone because of the dinner. I don't feel like denying my parents these weekly chats anymore, however bothersome they are, seeing how I live abroad and they are getting older. I still regret not seeing or talking to my grandfather more regularly. He died in 2019 but his death still stings. One thing I cannot do is work through deaths, process them and move on; I just let them haunt me until they become part of me. That is the only 'resolution' I am willing to accept - me carrying the ghost on my shoulders for the rest of my life. Sometimes you have to make room for another ghost, that's all there is to it. No wonder my back hurts.

My mother, like many others I'm sure, has the power to ask you exactly the wrong questions, the ones that nag precisely at that thing you are desperately trying not to think of (work, in my case). She was the same during uni, would always ask if you had prepared for such and such exam - exactly the one you were avoiding. My brother confirmed she has been the same with him. You would think she had figured out by now when to change the subject, but it took me a long string of monosyllabic replies to get the point across once again. Eventually she changed subject and we talked a little about food - one of the few subjects that relaxes me rather than making me more anxious, as the reader has figured out by themselves. She has realised that food will be a window to talk to me in the near future, so for the past couple of evenings she has been sending me pictures of her dinners and asking me to show her pictures of mines. I have indulged her, because I know she misses me for real.

I have brought the food topic back up again, so I will mention our dinners. Yesterday I made pasta with octopus and potatoes. I did not follow a specific recipe, but rather followed the preparation of 'pasta e patate' up until a point, and then stir-fried the octopus on the side and tossed the pasta with all its condiments until creamy. I used the water I cooked the octopus in throughout the preparation, which infuses the dish with the octopus flavour. It was quite tasty indeed, the only real issue being the octopus was a little tough. I can try boiling it for longer but I have not figured out exactly how much longer. These atlantic octopii are not easy to work with. Today's dinner was one of mixed dishes: I made babaganoush (because admittedly I am still aching for the one we had at BABA), some spinach tossed with raisins, and Siracusa-style peppers. Here is the recipe for the last dish. I don't know what is up with the picture at that link: they look a bit yucky and you can't even see the mint. Mine did not look like the ones in the picture, but they actually looked better so I can't complain. I tried to create some smokiness in the babaganoush by roasting the aubergines on a really hot grill pan ahead of moving them to the oven, but it did not do much. I am afraid you really need an open flame to char the skin enough that it results in that marvelous smoky taste, but I have an ugly electric cooker unit in the apartment and I am not about to try and char aubergines on a candle.

Other than that, today I did the weekly grocery shopping and some more usual things - the reader can probably fill out the missing pieces by copy-pasting parts of their own day over mine. I gave some money to a homeless woman sitting in front of the supermarket, which I never do, but I had already passed her once earlier and felt like I should. I don't normally do it not so much because I am a cunt, but because after the interaction I can't help but think "that might be me someday" and the thought is too much for me to bear. I have a safety net and all, but I have always felt that the barrier between us is thinner than most would like to think. One accident will not make you cross the barrier, but a string might. Who knows what brought that woman in her situation. I would say 'addiction' if I had to guess based solely on our brief interaction, and I would probably be right; but there is not necessarily blame in that. We all have addictions, and there is no insurance they won't eventually spiral out of control because of some event or another. When I have more money I want to set up a monthly donation to the local soup kitchen; not because I am a good person (I am not) but just in case karma is real.

I will finish this entry with the standard weather update. The skies are grey and the temperatures are going down a little; there is a decidedly autumnal vibe to the air. Summer is definitely over, not in the sense that it ever really began (save for those two measly weeks in early June), but in the sense that there is no chance left for a bit of summerly weather. That's it folks. My wife suggested going to the beach next Sunday for a walk anyway, since at least it won't be raining; I provisionally said yes, but it's hard to feel excited about a downgrade like that. Maybe I should buy a kite and fly it with her like we are in a Noir Désir video; that could give purpose to the trip. I haven't flown one in ages, which is a shame because I remember fondly every time I have. I remember building them in my father's workshop with my brother when we were kids, my brother assisting me because he was too young to handle tools. They were simple, diamond shaped, some cheap laths and some tissue-paper glued on or fashioned into a rudimentary tail. They would usually not fly very well, or at all, or come apart mid-flight; we would blame it on either there not being enough wind or there being too much wind on that day. I remember having my parents buy me a kite to convince me that I could have fun at the beach (the beaches we had access to are just plain horrible); its skeleton was made of sleek black plastic and it was in those bright highlighter colours that were fashionable in the 90s. I think I cried when it crashed and broke, mostly because I was back to the reality of being at that horrible beach.

Go back