It all started simply enough, as, I suppose these things usually do and then quickly and sloppily exploded into its own life force, as, I suppose, these things usually do. A subtle vibrating of my cell phone and that was it. I was lost, irrevocably, hopelessly lost. Only I didn’t know it yet. Up until then my cell phone had only been for, obtusely enough, phone calls. I stared at its tiny frame in complete confusion. Was that a missed voicemail message? Did I change my ring tone? The unfamiliar noise gently prodded me to poke around the menu of my ancient Nokia to see what else lay within its neglected screen. The icons glistened with excitement as my clumsy fingers roughly navigated over them in a desperate attempt to solve the puzzle of this unknown noise. I landed solidly on an envelope picture, very early 90′s AOL graphics, but, who am I to complain, it was a free phone and I had chosen to park my own technological atrophy alongside those antiquated images. It was there, in the comfortable realm of email (and email only) that I had watched the world spin a web of change around me and I had become one of those lost, clueless, old people (Christ, I am only 37) completely ignorant and disgruntled over the likes of texting, IM, and Blackberries. But there I was, watching an envelope image on my cheap phone swollen with new promise, just begging me to click on it, and I suddenly felt the careless Thelma and Louise lust for adventure. This phone was my own undiscovered Brad Pitt in a cowboy hat.‘Come on, you will be alright. You will have a good time. And anyway, how bad can it be?’ Nokia beckoned, reminding me of that same question posed to me many moons ago in a stuffy ’87 Renault. I knew (like I knew in ’87) that this was most probably a bad idea. I knew (like I knew in ’87) that this would turn into a habit of sorts, and addiction, and most definitely bring me lots and lots of trouble. Being the smart, sound, levelheaded gal I was, I knew I should nourish the image embedded in my adolescence of a frail Nancy Reagan and just say no. I knew all this and yet, or because of, I proceeded to throw all reasoning out the window and I clicked (like scratching a good itch), instantly enabling my impregnated envelope to open and reveal a secret message (they call them text messages) waiting for me. It was a bit of a scary moment, those seconds before tapping on my icon, filled with anticipation and newness, but instantly rewarded by delight and excitement, and as quickly as I had done it, I knew that whether I was right or wrong this would end up costing me (just like I knew in ’87). I had just lost my textinirgy and was well on my way to becoming a texting slut.The first text message was simple enough: “Miss you” followed by a cute little face icon. From then on the texting was endless. 39 messages of nothingness bounced wildly between my beloved and I in one day. It was a new found love, a frenzied infatuation, a porthole to communication we (who thought we’d covered every form of communicating over the past twenty years) had never visited before. Text-addicted teenagers I had once mocked where left in the dust as my fingers raced to form broken phrases about my sore throat, our son’s goal, or the simple fact that I missed my mate. The closeness I felt with him was so real and intoxicating that just Nokia’s tender shudder (which had once seemed so alien) would send me scramming for my purse to peruse my lover’s latest thoughts.Of course, our texting inevitably led to food. ‘What panties are you wearing?’ simply doesn’t cut it in this relationship. Instead, my lover and I would rouse one another with our culinary adventures:”In Lndn. Had Piccdly Crcle Shwrma. Tstier w/u here.” Send.”Discvd new spot. cilntro aioli secrt ingrd in wrap. yum.” Send.” The lmb is rstd on a spt. Croatn ntl dish. more ltr. lv u lots.” Send.The days apart seemed to fly this way. The fact that he had been traveling all over Europe for almost two weeks didn’t seem to phase me as much. I suddenly felt as if I were, in a small, beat-up-Nokia kind of way, right there with him, smelling the tanginess of yogurt-marinated meat and freshly grilled thyme and feeling warm and spicy pickled mango sauce oozing out of my lafa. It’s been about eight hours since our last text correspondence and I am realizing that this is simply because he has been on a plane home all that time. I’m not quite sure what it will be like in Real Life. My courtship with my Nokia will end and I will resume my conventional relationship. No envelopes. No send button. No abbreviated teasers about the ahi tuna ceviche with a hint of fresh passion fruit juice that was just right. That is, until his next trip, which will be in 24 hours. For one tiny moment I am slightly grateful my spouse travels as much as he does. There are so many more messages left to send.
Tuna Ceviche with Passion Fruit
1 lbs fresh sushi grade ahi tuna cut into 1 inch cubes
2 passion fruits, juiced (cut in half and scoop the pulp out) OR 1/2 cup fresh passion fruit pulp (available in frozen fruit section) or Latin Specialty markets
1/3 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon scotch bonnet pepper sauce
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cup red onion, julienned
coarse sea salt, to taste
Combine marinade ingredients and add to the tuna, mixing well.
Marinate a minimum of 3 – 4 hours before serving.
To serve, place in chilled martini glass.
Makes 8 servings