A truck hit a bus, which jumped the center divider and hit a car and made a big mess. The freeway was closed for hours so my wife took me to Dots, an experimental sushi bar on Mariahilferstrasse in Vienna. Looking for the address online, I found a page of comments either complaining about the service or remarking on the hotness of the waiters. Maybe there was a slight element of slapstick to the service – our waiter brought us a neighboring table’s order (“Looks great, though!” I chirped) and forgot my dessert – I can’t really verify the latter. Our waiter was handsome, but the rest were fairly ordinary, albeit with perfect hair. Main thing, though – okay interior design I guess, except maybe those big framed Marilyn Manson photos with the mouse ears – the food was really, really good. It was the best sushi I have ever eaten.
Not so sure what to do with the “experimental” adjective. Not clear to me what hypothesis they were testing. The hypothesis that this would be good tasting food? I liked it a lot. Interesting and more importantly tasty combinations (the black tuna, which I am mentioning only because I forget everything else had black sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and maybe coconut?). The adjective “experimental” puts me off when applied to non-scientific pursuits like food, or literature or music. I find art experimental by nature, and much of what is called experimental art or music or whatever blah blah blah etc etc.
After eating there – I’ll be back, but will make reservations first (the vodka/lemon sorbet dessert was also tasty) we headed home (on our way to our cars, parked at the Museumsquartier, I bought the comic book “The Wise Robot will answer your question now” by Tom Gauld (from which I took the title of this post) from a vending machine because I like the idea of vending machines selling comic books), in separate cars as we’d arrived at different times from different quarters of the compass, and our freeway onramp was closed, not due to the accident as I’d originally assumed but due to construction.
I went one way, my wife went another way. She phoned me at one point to tell me how lost she was, which streets she’d driven down the wrong way, etc. Little did she know she was doing a lot better than I was. I was taking an existential detour. My road had no exits. It was pitch dark. One of my headlights was apparently misaligned because other drivers kept flashing their brights at me. There was construction, and the speed limit was way low and the roads narrowed to one lane, and nothing but shit on the radio. It was pitch dark, did I say that already? I did not know where I was or where I was going. I sort of had the feeling I was heading north, after which I’d head west first chance I got, and look for something that looked familiar.
At one point I was not actually in the Czech Republic, but way closer than I wanted to be.
I was on a tiny, narrow country road that would go uphill, in a landscape that had appeared perfectly flat, steeply uphill, winding switchbacks. Or it would plunge down into some valley. At least the weather was okay.
I planned to start taking bigger roads. At every intersection, I would take the larger road, I told myself. That way, I would eventually return to civilization. But the roads kept getting smaller, including the one I was one.
Eventually, they got so small that I had to get out and carry my car. Which is okay because my car is so small.
At some point, after a long time, I was in bed swapping Getting Lost stories with my wife. She was asleep, though, so I had to whisper.
…Things the addition of which may improve circumstances, but will not rescue a failing situation? things that are only available to those who do not need or appreciate them? Things of which there are never enough?
What’s wrong with the Czech Republic, hey? Really you must come while the beer garden is open.
Okay! Deckchairs, tabasco, insurance: two things useless to people on the Titanic and one thing they all should have had more of.
But, seriously, I like the story very much; it almost makes me want to try sushi! And the part about being lost and driving on dark, narrow, rural roads reminds me of the time we were driving to New Hampshire when I was about eleven years old. It was a ten hour drive from our home near Buffalo, and my father always insisted on leaving Friday night (after working all day) and driving all night to get there. On one occasion he announced at about 4 AM that he was tired and that my mother would have to drive. There was a sign that said “Bristol 19 miles.” My mother drove, through the woods on the two lane winding roads, pitch black, for about an hour, at which time my father took the wheel again. There was a sign that said “Bristol 21 miles.” My father was furious. “You drove for an hour and we’re two miles farther away than we were before!” But that wasn’t the worst of it. The whole hour my mother was driving she thought she was dreaming. “I thought I was in a terrible nightmare, and that all I had to do to wake up was to crash the car into a tree.” We kids heard this a lot, in fact every time my mother heard us joking about “the time Mom drove on the way to NH.” But one thing I’m very sure of – my father never heard it.
But it’s all true, and these stories don’t always have such happy endings.
Maybe the restaurant was experimental the same way that the “contemporary Korean” place I went to in Melbourne recently was contemporary? Since the food exactly resembled all other Korean food I’ve ever had, including that actually eaten in Korea, I felt the urgre to ask what “contemporary” meant, exactly.
“Well,” the waiter said, “after 10pm we play contemporary Korean music.”
you could be right. we left before 10, so don’t know if they played experimental music after that.