Maisy’s Proustian H2O
Once upon a time, I had strep throat. It hurt. Strep made the act of swallowing a form of self-flagellation.
Each swallow set off an assault of spikey tracheal bacteria that flayed my throat and set tympanium micronaut warriors to jabbing my ears drums with rough-hewn toothpicks, twisting them mercilessly for 15 minutes. ...
To stave off this torture, I deferred swallowing for as long as possible. The ensuing dehydration caused the Greatest Period of Thirst in My Life. But quenching my thirst meant unbearable agony.
I vividly remember sitting in a chair for four straight days, waiting for the end. During that siege I vowed that, should I miraculously survive, I would henceforth each day drink eight large glasses of ice-cold, crystal-clear water.
Not beer, not wine, not Caol Ila on the rocks, but water: cool, clear water. A solemn vow.
OK, so I checked out Maisy’s last week. The Monte Cristo struck me as quaint, and on a lark I ordered it. I suppose it was good. I wouldn’t order it again, but more on personal preference than because of any flaw in Maisy’s rendition of the sandwich. It was filling, but less decadant than ones recollected from the distant past. I found it dull and uninspiring.*
But it was the glass of water that triggered a Proustian remembrance.
On the few blocks walk to Maisy’s, the wind acted like a flux for bone marrow and the Arctic chill that blasted down Charles Street. By the time we made the restaurant, my fingers felt so brittle cold that I thought they might break off when I pulled on Maisy’s big wooden door.
Normally, I don’t order coffee at restaurants that aren’t Denny’s (or its ilk) because the servers never bring around refills often enough. It’s decaf for cry eye! What do they think’s going to happen? An overdose? Sheesh. But I was cold. I ordered coffee.
Well, it took forever to get the damn java. I would have slammed it down to warm up but I was afraid that would leave me with nothing but water to drink during my meal. That’s when I remembered the chair, the tympanium micronauts, and the Vow. I tried the water. It was cold and good.
After our meal, our server stopped by and asked if I’d like refill on the coffee. I paused, considered, then placed my hand over the empty cup. No thanks.
As we wrapped up our postprandial conversation, I sipped the water. Yes it was cold. And so was I. But I was alive.
* Again, no slight to Maisey’s. They may make the best Monte Cristo of all time. In any case, I like Maisy’s (313 N. Charles) too. It’s a haven from “pubs.”
(Barbara Haddock Taylor/Sun photographer)