Last week, I found myself in a bit of a pickle. I had to pick up a few packages from the post office, but none of the parking spots nearby were open. It was drizzly and I didn't want to carry an armful of boxes in the rain.
My eyes settled on the handicap parking spot across the street, clearly painted blue with a handicap sign posted in front of it. I'll just park there and do a quick in-and-out, I reasoned. I figured it'd take no more than five minutes. So, I parked the Jeep, ran across the street, asked for my packages and ran back out.
As I was packing the backseat of the car, I noticed an old woman staring at me from her parked car. I hurried along and ran to the driver's door.
"You're parked in the handicap spot! Can't you read?!" she screamed at me.
"Yes, I'm just about to leave," I said, flustered.
"You've been parked there for a while!" she screamed back angrily, "Next time, READ!"
Her car screeched off.
The level of hostility that was spewed at me in that brief moment shocked me to the core. I mean, it really disturbed me. It continued to bother me for the next hour or so as I drove.
What a mean old lady, I thought. If the situation were flipped, would I have behaved the same toward her? Certainly not. And, given the chance, how should I have responded? "Sorry you're having a bad day"? That would've been patronizing and sarcastic. No, no, I wasn't prepared enough for a response. It was probably a blessing that I was bewildered and tongue-tied.
I had a stomachache the whole time I thought about it. Her message was indeed warranted–her delivery of it, however, was not. Don't let this ruin your day, I told myself. Nothing that came through my mind made me feel any better. I just couldn't fathom directing that sort of anger towards a complete stranger. After being involved in that awful exchange, I had an even stronger conviction never to inflict such a behavior on anyone else. It was the ultimate reminder that, while you can never control the circumstances, you can always control how you react to it. Eventually, as I went about my errands, the angst subsided.
As I got back into the car to drive home, I thought about it again. Truth was, I knew I shouldn't have parked in the handicap spot. I could've parked further away and walked to the post office. Maybe she was handicapped and I had robbed her of her spot.
Then, the perfect disarming response came to me.
I should've said: "You're right. I'm sorry. Thank you for pointing that out. I'll be more aware next time."
When we bid farewell to the ranch this past summer, I felt like I was exhaling for the first time in four years. What a strange, transformative time it had been for me. It was there where I discovered just how adaptable I was. It was there where I cultivated a rich internal life for myself. It was there where I connected with Nature. It was there where the literature I chose to read resonated like never before. It was there where everything I thought I knew about science, religion, philosophy and politics was turned upside-down. It was there where I experienced a relationship that kept stretching itself to varying degrees before snapping back again.
The unknown contains infinite possibilities.
This past Fourth of July weekend, we were invited onto our friends' boat in Marina del Rey. The plan was to ride to Paradise Cove in Malibu, dock there for two nights and catch the fireworks show. I was tasked with making dinner the first night. With a tiny kitchen to work in–not to mention the constant rocking of the boat itself–I took inspiration from "quick n' easy" communal-style dishes, like dips and salads from a quirky Israeli restaurant in Silver Lake called Mh Zh. My menu was, as follows:
Mixed bitter lettuces
with finely grated sharp cheddar, dukkah and toasted pine nuts
Pea and burrata salad
with mint, dill and lemon zest
Spicy lamb ragù over hummus
with harissa and labne
served with grilled flatbread
The easiest dish to pull together, by far, was the pea and burrata salad. It's "semi-homemade", if you will–you're essentially putting frozen peas that have been thawed and dressed over a ball of burrata. It's a fabulous summer dish to serve as an appetizer with friends... Whether or not you're on a boat! For my version, please find the recipe below!
1-2 balls of burrata
5 ounces of frozen organic peas
Very good olive oil
Maldon sea salt
Freshly cracked pepper
A few sprigs of fresh mint leaves
A few sprigs of fresh dill
1. Prep the frozen peas according to package directions and set aside in a mixing bowl.
2. Chop the mint and dill and add to the peas. Toss. Then, zest the lemon over the pea and herb mixture. Toss again.
4. Pour about a tablespoon or so of olive oil into the bowl with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and toss the mixture until thoroughly incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss again. Adjust proportions to your liking.
5. Gently place the burrata into your serving bowl. Slice a cross over the top of each ball and open to reveal the creamy interiors. Spoon the pea salad on top and finish with a generous lashing of olive oil before serving.