13 September 2007...12:49 pm

Jane Came By With A Lock Of Your Hair

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It was dinnertime with my roommates, and it’s usually not a problem that Collette doesn’t eat ham. I try not to dietarily discriminate. Last night, though, we were (a) with Spencer and (b) at a tapas bar, so pork products were in favored abundance.

Spencer promised her he’d only order one porky dish, and then raised his eyebrows and looked out from beneath them the way he does when he’s about to make a joke that probably left his eighth-grade classmates rolling in the aisles.

“During the Inquisition?” We looked at him. I don’t hear too much about the Inquisition these days. “That was a way they’d test if you were Jewish, by making you eat pork.”

I thought that was great news. “Spencer, you’d be saved!”

“I’d be fucked.” Collette is too chic to be flapped by such historical trivialities.

We were silent until Lily said, “that seems like a particularly polite way of conducting the Inquisition.”

She was right, and we rewrote history:

The Tejadas simply didn’t want to have the Steins to dinner anymore because Frank always drank too much Ribera del Duero and made jokes like a donkey. Dealing with this social inconvenience had caused Roberto and Alicia Tejada considerable consternation.

One night, the couple was laying in bed when Roberto said, “Mi querida! I have the answer! We’ll tell them we bought eighty pork loins. Because there is no refrigeration, we will need to eat them in order, every night, for about three months.”

Alicia said, “Mi media naranja, what the heck is refrigeration?”

Roberto told her he’d explain in five hundred years. The next morning, Alicia saw Susan at the market and put on her most regretful face. Susan wondered why Alicia was sucking on a lemon.

Alicia explained the meat situation, and Susan said she totally understood. Later that afternoon, she called Devra Halperin.

“I don’t want to say convert, Devra, but I think that if we want to have any social life at all, we should either hightail it to France or pretend to be Catolicos.”

And thus was Spain Inquired.



Above is Molly Picon, who has a serious problem with her friend buying so much damn pig product. She also cannot even believe the inanity of my blog post. Molly was born on the Lower East Side, which is where Collette and Spencer and Lily and James and I were eating, a hundred and nine years later.

My neighborhood is changing, like Spain did, but also completely not how Spain did at all. We live on Essex Street. In the daytime, Essex Street is ruled by the same laundresses, storefront lawyers, bargain eyebrow threaders and dusty pharmacists who have presided for decades. James is pretty sure that he’s heard the same Clinton Street music that Leonard Cohen did in Famous Blue Raincoat.

James told us about the music last night, though, as we were drinking chilled Garnacha and Collette and Spencer were eating tiny, beautiful, mainly ham-less things. We were the well-polished facade that descends over the Lower East Side everyday at dusk, the walls and bars and broad-shouldered drinkers who you can hear from fifth floor fire escapes.

Maybe if I lived on Ludlow I wouldn’t notice the discrepancy. Maybe I will just meet you at the Psychic Vacuum installation on Delancey Street tomorrow afternoon at four. I will be the Catholic holding a BLT.

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