new Things I Ate in Cambodia: a nice day in town?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

a nice day in town?

A Nice Day In Town?

I know: this doesn't have much to do with food, other then the inherent deliciousness of Siam Square's pad thai-in-a-take-out-box. But I thought it might be nice to provide some context, to let me know where I'm coming from in my intermittent posts about New England as filtered through Western eyes. I might be residing in New England for a bit, but I love California - even Sacramento. I am going back to Northern California permanently after December 13 when the semester ends, and I am already counting down the days.

I like the Berkshires. I really do. It doesn't have ostentatious natural beauty like the mountains I know (or even my beloved Blue Ridge range.) It doesn't have a developed local cuisine, the skiing is kinda lame, and you can't swing a cat without hitting a deeply self-satisfied hippie. But still: the fall is glorious, the springs are verdant explosions of life, and the sunsets can sometimes be a wonder. And yes, it's true: New England knows how to make a good pizza. Us Californians can't. At least not without putting homeopathically empathetically grown tempeh artichokes on it anyway. So it's not all bad here.

Small secret: I don't like Simon's Rock. Not one bit. In fact, "passionate hatred" has become my main opinion on the place. Still, I can appreciate (to a degree) the charming Norman Rockwellesque character of Great Barrington. I can generally enjoy myself in town, even if I do tend to find myself dying for a banh mi or a decent lunch under 10 bucks or some semblance of culture not run by really old Ivy League graduates. But it can be a pretty place.

Today's venture into civilization began with me hitchhiking down the hill (usual.) I nearly sprinted over to Siam Square, my standby Thai place, weak with hunger. The friendly lady running it immediately recognized me, what with me being in there twice a week, and took my to-go order of Pad Thai.

I don't know if it was my hunger or the beautiful Indian-Summer day or what but it tasted good. I plonked down my little takeout box on the park bench, all alone beside the firestation, and happily chowed down on my tamarindy-noodley lunch. They'd even prepared it in such a way to get just a little oh-so-good char on the noodles, which combined with the meaty chunks of chicken, made me a happy puppy.

I then read another 100 pages of Jack London's, "The Sea Wolf," which is totally un PC by most liberal arts college standards. I don't care if he wasn't being Culturally Sensitive or exposing the Massive Flaws Inherent In Our Philosophical System (though he kinda was trying to, what with Wolf Larsen commenting a lot on our essential...yeastiness.) I love good adventure yarns.

And then I went on one of my usual strolls through town, taking incredibly awful photos as I went (I'm good at that.) I walked down past the Co-Op and to the middle school, where a baseball game played entirely by laughing, light-hearted middle aged men was going on. I watched them flop around for a while, then parked myself by the bridge and watched the river go out. The quality of light was gorgeous, and as I heard the clink of the bat and watched the jet-trails spin overhead, I momentarily thought, New England ain't so bad.

But then I remembered winter and the lack of banh mi and I wanted to go back to California again.

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