Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Out of body and out of mind while buying Winter street tamales

At a stand under a giant umbrella

In my brain it's snowing. The flakes make even the illuminated pathways so slick that thoughts pinwheel desperately before falling flat with a thump. I cannot form an argument. People think I'm stupid and crazy. They try to charge me an extra dollar for tamales. A cold sweat breaks out.

All around me the pinwheeled thoughts scatter in a transcendent trembling wonder -- glitter ice everywhere. I'm glad to be alive. It's so beautiful. The vendor's cooler is full of tamales, pork and cheese and chicken, worth every extra dollar. Jalapeños melt everything.

Meanwhile, my state of consciousness cannot fund its programs. It's Illinois. It's Chicago. It's ineptly governed, but I live there, with a plastic bag full of corn husks and tamales. You can't get that so easily in any other state in any other city. I drool while I walk. Goo goo boo goo boo. Goo goo boo goo.

I eat on the street. The icicles are beautiful frozen goo. I'm happy. These tamales are delicious, maybe overpriced, but who can put a price on deliciousness. The corn batter is so soft and the pork so tender, or is that cheese? No, it's pork.

Once I've eaten, I'm okay again, and I'm not sure what happened earlier, but I'm greatly pleased with my choice of dinner. It feels like I've learned something. It does.


Blogger jorg wobblington lopez said...

Chicago sounds like a great place. It's actually snowing here, and not just in my brain, but it's snowing there too. I've never had a tamale. This reminds me of when someone like d.h. lawrence or someone gets high off hash brownies and rides the train.

11:47 PM  
Blogger sybil law said...

Now I want a tamale - AND snow.

Beautiful piece.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Rassles said...

Tamales, tamales.

I love Team Tamale.

1:08 AM  
Blogger JMH said...

jorg - never had a tamale? Email me your address and I'll ship some to you. It'll be cultural interchange.

sybil - thanks, I want a snow tamale too.

Rassles - it's incredibly practical to form a team to seek tamales. It's Mexican party, it's hangover reduction, it's everything. It's an honor to serve on that team for that night.

1:34 AM  
Blogger D'Arcy said...

you can never put a price on deliciousness

8:48 PM  
Blogger JMH said...

No, certainly not.

4:01 AM  
Blogger jorg wobblington lopez said...

O.k., I'll send you mine, and you send me yours so that I can mail you some poutine. Then it will be cultural exchange. I think poutine mails well, but I can't be sure.

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never eaten a Tamale. Friends from South America have explained them to me however.
I looked at some of the posts i've missed- i really liked that list of party ideas :) Sorry i never visit bloggyland anymore.My bloggyland persona feels like a friend i've completely lost touch with.As does my actual personality.I can't even explain what i mean. I'm pretty sure i've gone mad for good this time. I don't have anything to blog about anymore, and anything i DO want to say, i'm not comfortable sharing publicly anymore. But it's nice to see that you are still focused on your writing - which is as engaging as ever :)
Sorry i'm such a stranger. It's probably best for people to be away from me. I'm kinda like a common cold- pretty insubstantial and generally harmless, but fucking irritating and badly timed.

I hope the winter is not treating
you too harshly. Take care x

9:00 PM  
Blogger JMH said...

jorg - I had some poutine in Montreal when I went there. It cured what ailed me, and I slept very soundly, though I woke up deeply ashamed of my karaoke performance. I'm sure it would be fine if you just dumped a bunch in an overnight envelope. It should keep as long as it's cold outside.

Bon - You're always appreciated here. The cold comparison is very clever, but also very much not the case.

Winter is pretty awful. Cold and dark and wet is just not good, unless it's a chocolate Labrador puppy after a swim.

10:33 PM  

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