The past few days have been rough, and I wish there was a word to describe how I’m feeling right now. Okay, there is one—jetlagged—but I’m ignoring it because I don’t think it adequately portrays the extent of my current struggle. The word doesn’t sound nearly tortured enough.
My eyes are packing their bags for the flight back. I’ve caught what I assume must be the bubonic plague. I’ve downed so much bottled Starbucks, caffeine now runs in my veins. My contacts and lack of sleep have given me double vision. I haven’t had three meals in one day for a week, which I suppose would’ve at least helped me cut down on my overall junk food intake if not for the fact that the “meals” I do eat consist of Cheetos and… yeah, just Cheetos.
But that’s the physical aspect. Mentally, it feels a lot more like the following 100% true scenario.
A couple weeks ago, while I was still in Taiwan, I was struck with an inexplicable craving for goose meat (or maybe I was craving grease, as they’re pretty much the same thing). Reckoning if goose was more widely eaten in Asia, the dish would probably taste better there, too, I subtly hinted one or forty-two times that we seize the opportunity while it lasted.
After some deliberation and a ten-minute drive, we arrived at “The Goose Restaurant.” Despite it being around 7PM, there were no customers in sight—which I maintain could’ve been remedied by choosing a better name like “Me Goose-ta” or something—but we’d already made eye contact with the owner and it was too late to turn back.
By keeping my eyes on the prize (figuratively, as there were no geese in sight), I was able to ignore the stares of what seemed like the owner’s entire extended family and made myself comfortable at the first table. I didn’t even need the menu. “Goose,” I ordered confidently. “I’d like goose, please.”
Without missing a beat, the owner replied: “No goose. We don’t sell goose.”
“What?” I repeated, dumbstruck, and for some odd reason I wanted to laugh. “B—But your restaurant’s named ‘The Goose Restaurant.’ That’s the reason we came here.”
The owner waved her hand dismissively. “They were killed by the latest strain of avian flu. Supply dropped, geese got expensive. Plus, they didn’t taste good anyway. No one sells goose anymore, so you might as well eat here. Have some duck.”
I don’t know who started laughing first, me or Mom. Either way, within seconds of eye contact, the two of us had completely lost it. It was obnoxious, defeated, incredulous laughter, and I’m sure it must have been absolutely terrifying.
“Soooo, duck?” The owner asked uncertainly after a minute.
“Sure,” I managed after a particularly winding bout of rather despairing cackling. “Duck.”
And so, friends, that unnecessarily long anecdote just about sums up how I feel right now—like I’ve been anticipating goose but am blindsided by duck, leaving me too emotionally drained to summon any righteous indignation so all I can do is hollowly laugh until I figure out what exactly is wrong with me.