Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Unfit for Proper Experimentation

Because life is unlike the closely monitored and controlled environment of say, a scientific lab, one cannot easily determine the direct cause and effect relationship of stimuli in one's own life. Everything is always changing. "Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart," no matter what one believes to the contrary.

Take for instance, a rather peculiar change that has come over me in the last few months:

As is usual, I find myself coming home from work every afternoon hungry. That's only natural right? It's dinner time. Lately, I find that I prefer to cook a nice small meal for myself, sit down to eat it, washing it down with a nice cold adult beverage (generally beer, typically a lager.) Afterward I clean the kitchen, and only then, when the kitchen is clean do I go about my regular nightly activities.

In this unfolding of events, two things are new. One of which is the cooking. I have never been much of a cook. The extent of my cooking knowledge has always been spaghetti, scrambled eggs, sandwiches, and cereal. I have until now foregone even these measly morsels in favor of picking up the telephone to place my order. Now I find that I really want to come home each evening and cook something tasty. Maybe not entirely healthy, but tasty all the same. Last night I cooked tacos, with a small baby spinach salad on the side. Delicious. Tonight was hamburgers with the extra ground beef I had after making tacos. Granted, these are not difficult meals to prepare, but I am a novice, and I plan to move on to more complicated dishes as I continue to learn.

The second new part of the scenario above is the beer. I've never been much of a drinker. I certainly like alcohol, but my drinking has previously been relegated to parties and gatherings with friends, and only ended up happening fewer than 10 times per year. Now, I am pretty pleased to come home after work and open up a nice and cold Newcastle, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Amber Boch, or other refreshing beverage to wash down whatever meal I manage to scrounge together.

I can attribute this sudden, and may I venture to say drastic, change to two recent developments; either one or the other, or a combination of the two.

The first development has been the recent purchase of a house. Suddenly I am faced with the cold, hard reality that takes the name "mortgage." It looms over my head like a Sword of Damocles. I now know that when I come home every night, I need to be pinching my pennies and cooking at home rather than dining out (always the right choice when faced with the daily dilemma of dinner, until now.)

The second development has been the introduction (to me) of a new fiction author who I have spoken about on this blog previously. In all of Haruki Murakami's novels (the ones that I've read so far) the main characters spend a rather surprising amount of time cooking, eating food, and drinking both beer and whiskey. It may not sound interesting to read about lonely and detached Japanese men wandering about Kyoto or Kanda or Tokyo cooking and eating and drinking, but I promise you this: pick up one of the author's novels and you will become as entranced as I have (again a tip of the hat to Scott for presenting me with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle as a gift last year.)

Without the ability to create both a constant element and a variable element in order to measure the resultant change, as I might have done in a lab, I can't know beyond a reasonable doubt which of these two have contributed to these recent changes in preference. I suppose I can only rest assured that it was some combination of the two, and allow my life to continue to float forward in this always changing world in which we live.