Saturday, November 28, 2020

They Were All My Friends, and They Died

Every year if you've cooked a giant meal, chances are you have leftovers from Thanksgiving.  So, then you have an obligation, maybe even a little pressure to do something fun and exciting with them.  After all, basically you have about 5 or six ready made, extremely tasty elements at your disposal.  I personally love leftovers, simply reheated, as is.  For me, many times they taste even better than the first time because the stress level is down completely and much of the self criticism is gone.  Still, it's fun to try to create new ideas.  
The pizza slice place next door has saved us through the Pandemic, so naturally my thoughts went to making these stacked turkey slices.  I cut the cornbread like a pie, then in half.  I smeared a layer of mashed potatoes on the bottom, then gravy, shredded turkey, a bit of rice stuffing, pepper jack cheese and melted in oven.  I topped with a dollop of raw cranberry relish and not only were they super cute, they were delicious.  I've had issues with overdoing amounts of toppings in the past because I figured more was better but actually, I've learned a little something this year finally and that is what you layer, how you layer, and how much, all serves an important purpose in inching towards a more perfect dish.  
Even though it was all there, I walked in the kitchen with zero ideas, then suddenly this idea washed up in my brain.  That's a cool and mysterious thing that happens once in a while, if you're lucky with creativity.  

Another local mystery is happening in the waters behind my workplace.  This year I've marveled at all the fish feeding along the shore, more than any other year.  They were literally jumping out of the water and I felt like they were my friends to visit each day before work.   If you ignore all the garbage washed up on shore,  the Erie Basin is a beautiful life source for birds, turtles, and fish alike.  
I'd never seen so many before and wondered if it could be a bad thing that they needed to feed so close to the edge. 

And then now a couple of months later, I started seeing them circle towards the top, no longer in groups and it looked as though they were having trouble breathing.  I thought possibly they had spawned nearby.
And a few days after that this is a daily site.  Dead friends floating everywhere and the ducks aren't touching them and also seem scarce.  Thor Equities has been pounding the earth restoring the bulkheads on it's site all summer in order to build 23,000 square feet of retail and 795,000 square feet of creative office space right next door.  It will also feature a waterfront esplanade and open waterfront.   But it wasn't until the recent serious dredging of the Gowanus Canal's black mayonnaise have a I noticed dead fish.  Possibly, the new life I noticed this summer was coming from the disturbed habitat next door but now the killing may be from the devilish toxins in the canal also next door.  Yesterday (12/16) I walked past the Smith and 9th Street basin by the subway and there was the absolute WORST stench I had ever experienced for about 2 blocks.  The potency made you gag through two masks.  I have smelled weeks old decayed human bodies because I worked in an apartment rental agency in the 80's in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco at the height of the Aids crisis but this was even worse, most likely due to the amount they are dredging up. 
I rode out to the end of the pier where a teenage boy from the neighborhood stood looking down at the morbid site and I asked him if he'd ever seen anything like this before and he very sullenly said, 'Nah, I been coming here for awhile and I ain't never seen nuttin' like dis.  It's probably a mass suicide or something'.  I looked up and laughed at first, thinking he was joking but he stayed looking down and I realized he was serious.  I didn't want to bother him with my dimestore theories, so I just said 'Damn, I hope not. Hey, stay safe alright?' and rode away. 

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