My literary and food life converged today at the lunch counter at Tacqueria del Sol in Decatur. Next to me, a lively woman was talking about her recent trip to NY City and her encounter with the rudest/most authentic restaurateur in the city – maybe the world. Christiane Lauterbach (for the uninitiated, she has been reviewing restaurants in Atlanta for over 25 years) had been in NYC as a member of the review board for the 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards. Told by another critic not to miss this place, in the retelling of the experience, I was reminded of a restaurant in St. Louis in the ’60’s/’70’s when I lived around the corner at Grand and Lindell.
It was an Italian restaurant, very old with equally old Italian men servers. We were warned they were the meanest men alive and it was a point of pride to survive a meal. I was eighteen and student poor but we saved up to get a lunch and a lesson. Remember that age? My attention was on the dare, certainly not the menu. Their accents were challenging so it didn’t really matter what they said because I couldn’t understand them anyway. I knew Southern and Ohio accents by that age. I made it through the meal, wide-eyed and food innocent (the scent of burned food in my home was common, another blog topic on attention) linking Italian food and rude servers until I married an Italian (see blog on divorce and attention).
Maybe the issue was communication not insult. But in Ms. Lauterbach’s newly found restaurant, the insult was the entree of communication and the meal was all the better for it. This attitude she conveyed, is an authentic life lived through insult and straightforward passion.
My blogging is my authentic life, not an insult rather an entry to a life with attention as I know it. It’s not literary; nor a talent but an expression of my lifelong challenge and passion – Authentically my Attention.
What’s your authentic challenge with attention?