July 23, 2024

Column: “That Got Me to Thinkin’…? “Whatta Ya Like?”

“That Got Me To Thinkin’…?” “Whatta Ya Like?” Chapter 88
By Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams

I was looking at the front of the Weekend Plus section of Friday’s Seattle Times and it featured lamb sliders on the cover.  “I hate lamb,” I declared to my betrothed, sitting across the living room as she pecked on her phone.  “And they smothered them with mint,” I angrily added.  “Why?” she shuddered—“To cover up the taste,” I grimaced, knowingly.  We then traveled down the cilantro path (it’s soapy to me; strong and herby, but not unpleasant to her), and that recurring picture of the stupid dress that you either saw as cream and white or blue and black.

I asked if there were other examples.  She said she loved the smell of chlorine, but admitted that might be attributed to her old swim team days.  I feel the same way about fresh cut grass and baseball season.  I love the scent of burning wood—which is not too uncommon—but I Googled why I keep smelling it randomly while sitting in my chair and it said these olfactory hallucinations “might be a sign of trouble” so I probably have a tumor (pronounced like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop).  

On my drive home from Bellevue to Auburn there’s a plethora of distinct odors: from Lake Washington algae, to burnt molasses in Renton (I hope this is from a confectionery and not a crematorium because I take deep, deep inhales every time I pass), to the Oberto pepperoni factory (rendered hog and spices!),  to real skunk-skunk not weed-skunk (real skunk burns your nostrils a bit) somewhere around Emerald Downs, and finally the Smith Brothers Farm, whose dairy cows will make you hold your breath on Summer eves.  I like all of these pungent aromas (except the last one), but I guarantee that if you travelled with me you would differ on some or all of them.  I’m waiting for the weirdo that inhales deeply near the dairy farm.

My neighbor across the street growing up, Dan Osier, would eat gizzards and sardine sandwiches as a kid, much to my dismay as I attributed it to his distinct Germaness and overall oddballery (in retrospect he was a bit of a genius), but he really seemed to enjoy them beyond their boyish gross-out factor.

I’m now having trouble deciphering my navy from my black socks in the mornings—holding them directly under a lamp to figure them out or calling Lou in to tell me which is which with her young eyes.  A sizable percentage of men are colorblind (8%—I looked it up), but only a fraction of women (0.5%)…furthermore, I’m convinced women go through life seeing millions of other colors that don’t even exist for men (“That’s chartreuse not honeysuckle, dummy”).  

My wife is now over clinking her bowl of cereal and I can hear her chewing it.  Some people’s biggest pet peeves are open mouth chewing (she isn’t I must clarify because I like living) or slurping.  Myself, I’ve never really been a cold cereal guy…it always just seems like a flavorless cop-out of a meal.  Give me some sizzling bacon, runny eggs with salt cooked in butter, and black, freshly-brewed coffee to make it a real day.

So what are we, just a bundle of tastes, preferences, pet-peeves, dislikes and whatnots?  I didn’t even get into musical preferences, I just know that when I pile into my wife’s car and she’s playing some sappy love song from the ‘80’s I can feel my hackles rearing up, and when I happen to respond curtly to something she promptly switches it to over Ozzy’s Boneyard for me and my whole personage relaxes (“Better?”)  It must be a lot of work to be married to me, what with my endless particularities and inane curiosity.  I’d love to be a fly on the wall when she vents to her girlfriends (ladyfriends?), but that’s the subject of a whole other column.