Some Like It Hot

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I was running late at the studio yesterday so, instead of coming home to prepare dinner, I stopped off at our local Thai restaurant and brought home some chicken curry. I ordered it medium hot. One bite and I was reminded that my definition of hot and the Thai definition are separated by a few hundred degrees. It reminded me of one of my very first dates as a shy and awkward youth.

After summoning up the courage to ask a young lady for a date, I sought advice from her friends on where they thought she’d like to go for dinner. The response was immediate and unanimous. “Chinese food,” they said, “She loves Chinese food.”

“Perfect,” I thought, not knowing my Moo Goo from my Gai Pan. But I threw caution to the wind and booked a reservation anyway. How hard could it be? Food is food.

I didn’t recognize a thing on the menu. I let her order her course and then relied on the classic fall back position. “I’ll have what she’s having.” What I didn’t understand then was what she was having was extra hot.

I have a few very specific physiological reactions to extremely spicy foods… none of which are attractive, especially if you are aiming to impress someone.

First my nose begins to run. Like a fire hose. Next my eyes water. Think Terms of Endearment on steroids. And then, (and I didn’t even know this was possible), I begin to projectile sweat. Literally.. sweat droplets would leap from my forehead like they were launching themselves from the decks of the Titanic and, to my utter embarrassment, without regard to where they might land.

Throughout all this I kept trying to make small talk to keep some semblance of order and dignity to the date. Thankfully the waiter noticed my plight and brought me extra bowls of rice with the helpful advice, “Eat. You feel better.” I would have replied but my tongue was now swollen to twice its size.

I never went back to that restaurant. I never had a second date with the girl. But now, with every Chinese meal I eat, I order an extra side of rice. One never knows.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitizing of film, videotape, audio tape, photos and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

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