[Olive] Oil and Water

Flikr image from bitjungle via creative commonsThis week’s blog broaches the subject of things at odds in our daily lives.  At odds with us, that which we’re at odds with, and those naturally occurring situations that are more the rule than the exception.

Oil and water, shall we say?

We’ve all tried to mix the two at some time, whether for salad dressing or science class.  It’s one of those illusory things where it seems to work for a brief instance but then

(cue dramatic music)

the two express that ne’er shall they meet and again part ways.  This generally happens in front of dinner guests.

I can think of so much I’ve created by my own hand over the years that has been an introduction of oil and water … these things in my life that feed me yet are consistently at odds with one another.

Staying up late to work on painting my bathrooms?  In direct conflict with a desired early rise for a gym session.

Being lactose intolerant and eating a cheeseburger with a milkshake (yum).

Writing each and every activity into my calendar BY HAND and then lamenting over my lack of free time on any given week.

My life was turned upside down this week by olives.

I hate olives.  Hate them, hate them, hate them.  If I go to hell, I imagine that hell will have a cafeteria that serves nothing but olives.  I have been at odds with olives and the fact that I have to share space in the universe with them … likely since the dawn of my days.  Never liked ’em, sends salads back that arrive with ’em, and completely avoid the section in Whole Foods dedicated to ’em.

I have been know to alert the local HazMat team if presented with a pizza sporting olives and go hungry as an act of dissension from you unbelievable olive-eating fools that walk the earth with me.

(tell us how you really feel, Erika)

Hence the title of this week’s Redheaded Fury:

(Olive) Oil and Water.

That’s my world, folks.

Monday of this week, I imbibed and ingested at the latest and greatest of culinary hot spots, Vintner Grill.  Meeting up with Bessy Lee (which had us both wondering why we didn’t do this more often), the chit-chat flew and our outbursts ranged from giggle to guffaw.  I asked the bartender in the most frank fashion if he made a palatable mojito (my drink-du-age-thirty-four), and he said that was up to me.

The answer is an inarguable “no.”  His mojito sucks, and thank you Bessy for agreeing with me, goddammit.

We continued our dialogue-shaped diatribe on the human race and ordered-up some hummus to satisfy the growls that were most unladylike and beginning “down below.”

Caught in conversation, I inhaled one tasty toasted pita wedge dipped in chickpea yumminess after another, along with a few forkfuls of the random mixture of veggies that were served on the side.

By the way, the hummus is a must-have at Vintner Grill.  I would sell naked pics of people I know (and admit it) just for a plate of it.

Bessy: You must like olives.

Erika: No, fucking hate them.  Why?

Bessy: Well, those (pointing to the red and green victims impaled on my fork tines) are olives.

Erika: (pause)  No shit?

Bessy: No shit.

~Insert here a distracting restaurant review in order to draw the attention away form the fact that I had just vacuumed-up a serving of olives like a supermodel presented with free coke.~

The ambiance in Vintner Grill—breathtakingly simple.  Clean lines in lime and white, with a ceiling and paneling reminiscent of Nantucket and lamps that hint to the days of Goodfellas, illuminating your dining experience as only shaded light can.  The waitstaff seemed polished, the bartenders forgettable.  The menus were intriguingly offered-up on clipboards, the wine list was nothing short of exhausting, and most every table was filled when we rose to leave at 8:30pm.  Worth the trip, but skip the mojito.

For 34 years, I’ve been under the impression that olives were merely those offending little black rubbery rings glued to a pizza.  Bitter, and for lack of a better word


But here in the company of a friend, I had been just distracted (and hungry) enough to abandon a preconceived notion and make like a Dyson, never losing suction on my olive ingestion mission.

I’ve come to learn since that olives come from a variety of countries and regions, and colors range from red and bright green to yellow and black.  I’d personally mistaken them for miniature heirloom tomatoes with how they were presented next to the sell-my-soul hummus.

Monday evening’s conversation fed my soul and brought a really neat person a bit closer to me in my life.  In addition, I feel pretty lucky to now be over my “Olive Issue.”  Frankly, I’m pretty surprised I didn’t do the whole “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEW!” thing and spit them into a napkin.

Maybe I’m growing-up. (perish the thought)

So now, as I’ve broached the subject of oil and water, I know that the two CAN meet.  While they’re likely never meant to completely homogenize, perhaps they can swirl around one another in close observation and enduring mutual respect.  Appearances and preconceived notions provide ground ripe for sabotage when it comes to letting ourselves enjoy some of life’s tidbits, and I know that there are some things/people that will never mix …

Rosie O’Donnell and The View
Peanut Butter and Vinegar
Rocket Fuel and an AMC Pacer

There’s also a price to pay for us trying to mix oil and water in whatever way we choose.  In my case, it’s a little ribbing about my vehement arguments against the olive in light of my recent discoveries.  Whatever the price, though…

we generally find it to be worth bearing.  At least for a while.