Crepes, Sparingly

July 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

Have you ever noticed that “Runaway Train” is always playing when you go to the doctor? Please tell me it’s not just me.

Sterile gauze smell, check. Wallpaper borders, check. “Runaway Train” playing softly in the background, check.

I used to love that song. The consistent, low-grade whine of it matched perfectly my disposition of my pre-teen years. Then at some point – probably around 16 or 17 – the song took a turn for me. It was old and played out and I was more of a Fleetwood Mac/Jock Jams/random one-hit-wonder song I heard a million times in Sweden, girl (my schizophrenia in music was also developing at this time).

At 16 I traveled to Europe for three weeks with my soccer team. One week in Denmark. One week in Sweden and one week in Paris and Amsterdam. That trip was everything. And the crepes I ate in Paris were everything. Cliché, it may be. Care, I do not. There is a reason Paris crepes have the esteem they do. People don’t just say they love Paris crepes because they heard someone else say it, or because they think it sounds cool. It’s because they ate a crepe in Paris and their life was changed forever.

Ever since that trip when I hear the word crepe my mouth becomes a swimming pool. Mostly, I refrain from eating them. Last night I wasn’t strong enough. It was a Bastille Days celebration and crepes not only felt appropriate but it had been at least two years since I had indulged. So I indulged. And, per usual, was disappointed.

Some things should be left in certain times and places. Trying to recreate such special moments and tastes is treacherous because if it’s off, it’s a tease. If it’s way off, it mucks up the beauty and purity of the original. Not all food and not all moments. Just the ones. For me it’s pisco sour in the mountains of Peru, zilvás gombóc (plumb dumplings) in my aunt’s snug dining room in Hungary, and street crepes at twilight in Paris.

It’s hard to resist. I can’t. Every once in a while I trip up and order that crepe/pisco sour/not a zilvás gombóc because, nonexistence. And then I learn that lesson I’ve learned so many times – these magical moments with these treasured dishes, much like treasured musical moments, cannot be recreated. And if I’m going to try, I must do so sparingly, choosing carefully.

You hear that people-who-choose-the-music-for-doctor’s-offices? Sparingly. Soul Asylum’s power lies in being played in 1995 to moribund pre-teens alongside a smoldering incense burner. Otherwise, it just loses that magic.

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