"When did I decide I do not like this?"
And I try to remember the moment. It seems to me if you do not like something you should have a strong memory of that, "do not like moment" to back up your, "do not like declaration." We all know it sounds much more valid when someone declares their hatred for something and then when asked why they can give you a long detailed story about how they KNOW they hate it because they tried it in Alaska, in November of 1999, when they were wearing the bracelet from Uncle George, and it snowed a foot, a day they will never forget.
This is the thought process that went through my mind last Saturday night when I was up in Washington and an old friend from high school texted me to see if I liked sushi and if I wanted to meet at a sushi restaurant. I was proud of myself for telling my friend the truth that I did not like sushi. Usually my need to not not have confrontations, combined with my need to not be high maintenance keep me from admitting things like that. (Yeah, feel free to comment on that little gem of unhealthiness in the comment section :) I really wanted to hang out so I said I was coming and I would be happy to give it a try.
As I have grown up I have become much braver at trying new foods, as a kid I was definitely described as a picky eater. As I was driving to the restaurant I realized that if I really thought about it I could not even remember if I had ever eaten sushi and I felt a little sheepish about declaring I hated it when I could not find that moment that should be embedded in my mind of the trying and hating process. I do have strong memories of sitting across from friends in restaurants while they were eating sushi and feeling sick just watching it but that clearly could not count.
I got to the restaurant first so I sat in my car checking out the scene. The first thing I noticed was that the neon sign outside the restaurant had the words belt and sushi on it. I had no idea why. I was pretty sure belt was not a Japanese word so it seemed unlikely that it could be the families last name. Maybe there was a mountain named belt in Japan? Maybe I needed to be wearing a belt? Can you tell how much experience I have had with sushi?
Of course, as soon as I entered the restaurant it was apparent why the word belt was in the neon lights outside. I had never seen anything like it. A conveyor belt was snaking around the seating arrangement and on this belt were different color plates with various kinds of sushi, watermelon, pineapple, desserts, spring rolls, and dumplings on them. Some had clear lids covering the items on the plate and others were just open. All the plates were casually riding on this squeaky, gold colored conveyor belt like it was the most normal thing in the world. I was bursting with questions. WHY? WHY? and some more WHY?
Luckily, my friend was comfortable and familiar with all this "sushi belt strangeness" and knew exactly what to do and immediately chose a plate off the belt for us to try. I needed a quick chopstick lesson before starting in. I am woefully uneducated in the Asian food department. I asked lots of questions and arranged my glass of water a few times until I knew I could not put it off any more.The moment had come. A little unassuming, harmless looking wrapped bundle of rice was patiently staring at me. I am not going to lie I was not excited about this moment. But I took a deep breath, used my chopsticks, grabbed the bundle, dipped it in soy sauce, and shoved it in my mouth. It was....awful. I have never choked something down so maturely in all my life. If I was just a year younger I would have spit it all out and declared hysterically that I was going to throw up. But thankfully that was last year. I just made a yucky face at my friend while I chewed the entire bundle in misery.
To my credit I took at least one bite of everything my friend chose off of the sushi belt. And now I have that, "when I knew I hated sushi moment" deeply embedded in my mind for when I need to refer to it again. For the record I did not want to hate sushi. I was really hoping I would love it. I know how it feels when I love something and I am so excited about sharing my love of it with someone. I wait with bated breath to see if they will declare they love it and then we will have a bonding moment. Yeah, no sushi bonding moment. But never fear I think our friendship is still intact. I am hoping that my friend did not need me to love sushi. I definitely loved the experience...learning about new things is always fun for me. Now I can have a small part in a future sushi conversation if necessary. And as always the company you are with is what it is really about.
On my drive home I could not stop musing about the wonder of that sushi belt. I smiled as I let my mind wander to thinking about what if life was like a sushi belt? What if different moments in life were laid out on colored plates with clear lids on top and they were all going around and around, clockwise on a conveyor belt? And there were certain times in life that you had to go sit in front of the conveyor belt and choose your education, your kids, your car, your house, your weight, your trials. Yeah, I know...but it was an entertaining thought. I would hope I would have enough money for the plate with the BMW on it and the plate with the vacation home on it.