I go through phases of wantingness. If you don’t know what wantingness is, I will explain.
It’s somewhat akin to desire, but it’s more general, it radiates. It’s the feeling of wanting everything. EVERYTHING.
Like I just want to shop and it’s a good idea to buy everything.
Yes, I need a flat-topped ginger jar (even though I had no idea such a thing existed before today).
Yes I need a bell-jar lighting fixture to hang my non-existent grand foyer.
Yes, I will go to Sorrento, Italy and eat seafood at Michelin starred restaurants.
Yes, 28 is a bit young for wrinkle cream, but I think I will buy some anyways, just in case.
Yes I do need a winter coat, and yes I would like those killer riding boots, and yes just give it to me all of it! I need it!
A by-product of our times, I suppose. What with the internet positively overflowing with blogs about stuff – foodie blogs, fashion blogs, interior design blogs, travel blogs, and websites where it’s easy to spend money without even knowing you’re spending it, and your damned friends posting pictures 24/7 about their vacations, dinners, new clothes, hotel rooms, new cars, weddings, babies and baby bump photo sessions, backyards, shoes…. It’s enough to make a person go:
The wantingness comes in waves. Sometimes, I barely feel a twinge of it. Other days, a bowl of delicious, steaming wontons is enough to take the edge off the wantingness. But at times like this, when Wantingness greatly exceeds Money-havingness, my only recourse is to talk about it. Talk about it at length. Exhaustively.
There are some things that I have wanted for years. They are the things I know I will pursue my entire life; unattainable perhaps, but it’s possible I am happier with simply the possibility of getting them. Things like:
Recognition and respect
Fitting into a size 6 outfit made out of non-stretchy fabric
The perfect house (study with wall-to-wall bookshelves, bathroom with a full vanity/deep bathtub separate from shower/heated floors, solarium – I’m not entirely sure what this is, but I know I want it)
Achieving a level of economic security where planning a month-long trip abroad does not induce any anxiety about my bank balance.
Writing creatively for a living, full-time
There are other things that I could probably do, realistically, in the near future with just a bit of concerted effort. Like:
Being able to touch my toes without groaning
Dancing salsa with regularity
Improving my French
Taking a cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu or similar
There are also some things I’ve lost because of carelessness that I still feel a pang of loss about when I think about them:
I had a pair of forest green ankle boots that I got from Anthropologie on SALE because they were the last pair and they were my size. Usually footwear at Anthropologie costs you a limb and a half at least, but these ones were like forty bucks. They were leather. And they had this wicker/tan embellishment on and around the side. I hesitated when buying them because I was like…green? Really? Wicker? Fo sho? But after I bought them I loved them more and more, and I got a bunch of compliments, and they were sooo comfortable. Anyways. long story short I took them to China with me, and I left them in a hotel room.
I kicked up a huge stink after I discovered they were gone when we got to the train station, so I was allowed to go back to get them, even though 30+ people were waiting for me (the translator).
but TWIST AGAIN
They disappeared on the night train.
I don’t know how. I stuck them underneath my bunk and then when I woke up the next morning, GONE.
STOLEN! My Precioussssessss. Nasty Hobbitses.
I’ve also lost other stuff, like friends, and pets, and homes, and cities, but that is for another time and another blog altogether. All I will say about these losses is this
Today, the Wantingness is large. It is looming. So voracious that it has consumed my entire morning. I have been hopping from one blog to the next.
But the thing I want most is this:
I’m not entirely sure what they’re called. Crayfish. Crawfish. Crawdaddies. Little Lobsters. Hard-shelled shrimp. I dunno.
My cousin calls them Lobsterlings. One time on Facebookchat.
Me: What are you doing?
Miracles Maggick: Eating Lobsterlings!!!
Me: What the fuck are lobsterlings?
Miracles Maggick: 小龙虾！笨蛋
From henceforth they were known to me as lobsterlings. And yeah, my cousin’s name is Miracles. You wish you could be this awesome, but you can’t.
Yeah. I know they’re not that good for me. That they subsist entirely on excrement and pollution. That they’re probably dyed red with dyes so toxic that some teenaged girls in Nanjing were paralyzed after eating them (every year a rumor goes around that some girls in some city were poisoned to death). That the oil they use to cook these things probably came from the sewer. That they contain a high concentration of mercury.
To all this, I say. Fuck it.
I cannot conjure up a memory in my mind that is happier than sitting in one of the restaurants on 寿宁路 (Shouning Lu) in Shanghai.
Popping these open one by one while drinking can after can of 王老吉 (Chinese herbal drink. It’s herbal, so it’s healthy. And supposedly it helps to 清火- lit. “lessen the fire within”, which acts as a necessary counterbalance to all the 火(fire) found in the crayfish, the 13 spices they cook it in, and the oil. This stuff is nice. Sweet. Tastes like…tastes like…something really Chinese. And Liquorice).
Crowded knee to knee with the boisterous, drunken locals. A pile of shells growing steadily in front of me. I feel like Shiva, goddess of destruction, and none are spared my carnivorous appetite. Shredding, breaking, crushing, sucking….
If you don’t come home smelling like seafood, trash, cigarette smoke, and burping 13 different spices, you weren’t really there.
These snails are really good too. Fat, chewy, spicy. I’m drooling from both corners of my mouth just looking at them. No joke.
I would eat on Shouning Lu every single day if it weren’t for two things.
1. The morning after.
I won’t go into it in too much detail. In the past I would have gone into excruciating detail with diagrams and everything, but I’ve grown. Suffice it to say, don’t plan to leave the house the day after eating 2 kgs of Lobsterlings. That’s why I always say Lobsterlings are a Friday/Saturday thing.
2. The boyfriends I’ve lost.
Except for a handsy Korean guy I dated while I was 16, none of the boyfriends I’ve had have been Asian. Not sure why this is. Maybe because the Chinese boys I grew up with mocked me mercilessly and I’ve got a lingering aversion. Or maybe it’s because all my friends tell me that their Asian boyfriends are really quick to point it out if they gain a couple pounds.
Anyways. White boys and other species of non-Asians (with very few exceptions) suck at eating food which requires a modicum of manual dexterity. Shrimp, Lobsterlings, crab, bony fish, snake, duck necks, chicken feet, snails, bone marrow (FYI. I just spelled bone like this: Bown). They don’t have any appreciation for how much better food tastes if you have to break a nail to eat it.
When confronted with a pound of crustaceans, they look like this:
And then when they see me balls-deep in some Lobsterlings, they look like this:
And then the next night it’s like:
Fei: Let’s get lobsterlings!
BF: I don’t want lobsterlings again. Please can we go somewhere else. Please.
Fei: I’ll help you eat them! I’ll peel them for you.
BF: You always only do like the first couple and then you get lost in this hypnotic vortex of consumption and it’s like you’re not even my girlfriend anymore. There’s shell-scraps everywhere. Last night one of them hit me in the eye, and my eye is still kind of leaking something weird and spicy.
Fei: Ok. Well. There’s a McDonald’s nearby, you can get a Big Mac meal and bring it to the lobsterling street so we can eat together.
Fei: Come on. Just tonight. And tomorrow night, cause I don’t have to work Monday, so I can stay in for the poops.
BF: …We need to talk…about us….
Thankfully. My current squeeze has no problem with my lobsterling fetish (though he might object to being called a “squeeze). He indulges me. Is perhaps even slightly amused by it; eyes safely protected behind his glasses, he is an oasis of calm within my vortex of flying shell bits.
If that isn’t love. I don’t know what is.
He happily chomps away at his Double Cheese Burger, and once in a while even eats a lobsterling or two. Mostly, I appreciate it, but part of me secretly resents it when he does this. I know he’s trying to participate, but he doesn’t actually like them that much, and if you don’t like them you’re just wasting them! He doesn’t even eat the brains!
The lesson we can all take from this blog post:
If you can find someone to sit next to you quietly while you massacre some bottom feeders, you’re really lucky.