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Think Spaghetti!

November 26, 2009

I began this post on the train somewhere in Montana and finished it at my son’s place in Seattle. It is Wednesday, November 25, 2009, so I am unsure why it says November 26 on the post and a bit frustrated by this. What will it say tomorrow? Why can’t I control technology? This is messing up my carefully-caculated plans. ARGH!

I’ve been wearing a button that says “Think Spaghetti.” I bought it at a thrift store for a quarter. It’s what I call an “evocateur,” meant to evoke response and start conversations. It’s working. I’ve been asked about it lots of times by folks curious about its meaning. I’m collecting their stories. Why? Why not? Part of the fun of traveling is talking to strangers, but it can be awkward to get a conversation started. Asking them to “think spaghetti” helps. Here’s a sampling:

• My fiancé and I went to Italy and he had me take his picture next to a lifesize picture of Sophia Loren. He said she’s his ideal woman. If that’s true, I wonder why he likes me. This was said jokingly and it’s obvious she isn’t worried. (Note: Sophia Loren once said about her figure: “Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.”)

Lady and the Tramp. Noodle-eating together.

• My favorite food. I especially loved spaghetti in a can when I was little. It was a big treat. We got it whenever my parents went out. It kept us quiet for the babysitter since my brothers and I knew that if we weren’t good, no Chef Boyardee© for us.

• Don’t eat spaghetti on a date, that’s my advice. My husband still reminds me of how messy I was on our first date. I remind him that he was the one who picked the restaurant. He reminds me that I could have ordered ravioli. And so it goes!

• Old Spaghetti Warehouse, someone else says, and I (W-OZ) remember that my husband and I ate our first meal as a married couple at an OSW in Underground Atlanta with my sister, who also spent our wedding night in the same bedroom with us since our budget didn’t extend to two rooms that night. She kept telling us that if we’d give her quarters for the vibrating bed, she’d go to sleep.

• The man at the Amtrak ticket window in Cincinnati tells me about regular spaghetti dinners he’s been attending at a church since he was little and how delicious everything is. I have the details, but I’ve packed them in my suitcase. Incidentally, his name is Tom Holley and he is NOT the person who was rude to us at the train station there. He’s a delight. Helpful and fun to talk with. In fact, everyone we encountered on our Amtrak voyage was wonderful. I definitely recommend taking the train.

• “Save a turkey; eat spaghetti!” someone tells me and I remember why I actually began this post and what it has to do with success in school. It’s too late to give you this advice for tomorrow, but the season of high expectations is upon us, so here it is anyway. Whatever the holiday, when you’re in school, it can be helpful to give up your expectations for what you ought to do to celebrate and instead relax, doing what is easiest and what will give you the most time to spend with people you care about. Tacos or pizza or soup or toasted cheese sandwiches or spaghetti are perfectly fine holiday meals and a lot easier to clean up!

How can you create less holiday stress for yourself and those you love?

As far as food goes, I’m pretty easy. I love Japanese food. I love meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I love spaghetti. I’m easy.
• Frank Oz

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