SINCE MARCH OF the year 2020, I have been attending a “Happy Hour,” every Friday, except it’s not a Happy hour, it’s a few of us standing around, spaced out, in a parking lot near a bourgie wine and liquor store, drinking beers. The store also has beers. My wife invented it, this not-Happy hour, and we call it Crappy Hour™. The idea is we have this crappy thing to do until we can be Happy, in a real bar, with proper drinks in front of us. We don’t know when that will be.
The store where we get our drinks is kinda fancy. I can’t call it a complete deli, but they have a counter with meats and cheeses they will slice up for you. The sliced meats and cheeses are so fancy that as you get your order sliced, they put a piece of paper in between each slice of your meat or cheese, to separate them, in order to make it less difficult for you to use your slices. The place also has fine imported chocolate candy bars that have way too much cacao in them for my taste, but it’s the kinda chocolate that goes well with some snappy vino or a fine cheese, I get it.
Also, for a few months, this store has had a display of imported pasta in colorful wrappers in a non-conforming length, like, double the typical length, and every week I’ve been in there getting a tall can of whatever beer, I’d eyeball the display, until I finally was in there re-upping on probably my third beer and I pulled the trigger and grabbed a pack. It cost nine dollars. Nine dollars! OK, $8.99.
I justified it in my mind by reasoning that it’s fancy imported pasta, and it’s at least double the normal amount of a single package, it’s a one-time thing, a culinary exploration, if you will, and I further and finally justified it by reasoning the purchase as kind of a tax, for using the store’s bathroom every week. The store has TWO really nice bathrooms and hot water for the hand washing, plus a choice of paper towel and/or hot and loud hand blower-on-er. Anyway, I brought nine-dollar spaghetti home.
It’s a beautiful package, and that’s always a big part of my experience as a consumer. I will buy stuff just because of the package at least once, but nine bucks for spaghetti? Anyway, I cooked some of it, and it was good, it was fine, it was spaghetti, what the fuck was I thinking? Nine dollars! OK, $8.99. Maybe I shoulda tried the vermicelli.