Thursday, February 1, 2018

"I want a LARGE salad!"

Many years ago - say about twenty years ago - we visited New York City and stayed at the Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side. We dined at the Café Carlyle (a supper club) for a show by Steve Tyrell and in the main dining room (the Carlyle Restaurant) for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The intimate supper club was an elbow-to-elbow congested, raucous affair (the drinkers clinging like limpets to the bar were festive to a fault).  The breakfast experience in the main dining room - though sparse at 8:00 am by comparison - featured a bracing runway parade by an overweight middle-aged couple wearing designer sweat pants and matching tops and Robert Downey Jr. (who sat next to me) wearing a baseball hat (an indiscretion which has always ruffled me).  Dinner was far more dignified - and the food was beyond perfection.

We lunched in the dining room on a cloudy Saturday afternoon. While waiting for our order to arrive a tall, willowy man materialized on his own in the doorway entrance at the top of the short stairway. He surveyed the room below with a gimlet eye.  He was wearing a dark suit and his accent - when speaking to the maître d' - betrayed an East European descent.  Once seated - and after having roundly chastised a succession of well-intentioned but otherwise bootless servers for their redundant enquiries about his health - he fairly shouted that he wanted a large salad, adding that he would prepare his own dressing with the oil, vinegar and Dijon mustard.

This morning we went to Publix to buy grocery provisions. I stocked up on zucchini squash spirals, organic radishes, crisp green pepper and celery hearts.  I already had a large stock of Sociéte Roquefort cheese de la France (naturally). Though my breakfast is unmistakably intense on protein (ham slices, turkey slices, pulled pork and American cheese) I assuage the excess by presuming to balance it in the evening with raw vegetables (and the antibiotic effect of blue mould).

Our early morning enquiry about opening a US bank account precipitated considerable activity throughout the day. We later received, completed and returned the customary application forms and now await advice regarding on-line account access and confirmation that we can link our existing Canadian accounts.

In the middle of this banking kerfuffle we received further documentation regarding next year's hibernation plans.  Apparently our initial application triggered a corporate reassessment of procedure.  Though we're somewhat miffed that our prior efforts were effectively wasted, we have dismissed the indignity because we are thrilled about the upcoming arrangement.  I have no doubt in my mind that the persuasiveness of these plans has contributed to my happy embrace of healthful meal planning.  Sweets and starches are by comparison such calculated analgesics.

I managed to insert a short bicycle ride in the day's proceedings.  We're currently in the range of afternoon low tides so I profited by the opportunity to cycle on the beach for about five miles before relenting and lounging by the pool in the warm sunshine.

It's the first day of February.  We're already beginning the countdown to departure even though there remain 2½ months in our sojourn.  This anticipatory behaviour will lose its strength as the temperatures rise and we regain the pleasures of the Ocean (in which I haven't swum since last October - neither here nor in Key West).  Our nomadic temperament is however poorly disguised.  Though we don't qualify as adventurers we're nonetheless open to variety.  Nor am I ashamed to confess that time is running out on the convenience of these aspirations.

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