No filet o fish has ever been devoured with more pleasure than the filet o fish I devoured at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. 

We took the ferry from Bacolod to Iloilo and then we needed to get a ferry to Guimares. There are two ports in Guimares, two ferry terminals in Iloilo. We asked our cab driver and he told us the port we were leaving, and then he drove us to the other port, where the woman at the ticket window told us to go back to where we had come from. We called uncle and went into the mall and availed ourselves of air conditioning and wifi. I ate at Jollibee, K. got a rice and egg dish from a stall. I would have liked it better if she hadn’t squirted a bunch of mayonnaise over the top. 

What do you like to get here? asked R., less versed in the way of the NYC diner. I got my usual, he got a BLT, we split a slice of blueberry pie. It has been twenty years now, maybe more. Everything is different but lots is the same too, his world has more colors in it than mine does, pie is better warm, Boise is a long way away but airplanes make it closer. 

I think it took me something like four tries over five days to write a fifty word abstract last week. I am looking at a summer somehow already like a third gone. Writing is thinking and I don’t want to show up at the end of it having not thought at all. Putting words on pages is hard. For the last week, putting lunch in my stomach was hard too. I caught some kind of stomach virus, low-level nauseated for seven days, I didn’t want coffee in the morning or wine at night and certainly nothing like lunch in the middle. But today feels better. Today is a day to start again. Smashburger for my usual: grilled chicken on a chipotle bun with pepper jack cheese and jalapenos with a side of fries. Always makes me want a candy bar.

I was at work and the heat in my office was broken and I was so cold but you know what warms a person up? Coating their insides with hot fat. 

I have a bargaining thing that I do with the cheeseburger at Smashburger. It is a wrong food, bad, I am bad to want it, it makes me feel bad, but I don’t believe there is another food I love so much, that gives me so much pleasure in the mouth. So I try to say no, back away, get the chicken sandwich, as if that’s any more likely to keep me alive. I know that I am more likely to say yes if I wait and wait and don’t eat lunch until very late in the day. Today I stalled lunch with an orange, a packet of almonds left over from my last airplane flight. I asked colleagues for alternatives. I tried to walk past. But hey. Why not. Really. The world’s about to die, in part because of Smashburger cheeseburgers. I did get the child size, though. There is some good in that, slightly less dead cow?

By now I know the transfer situation at the Salt Lake City airport so well that I knew I had just enough time to dash in and out of the McDonalds line if I wanted to have enough to eat for lunch.

O. played in the ball pit while I looked at chairs, then he came with me and sat on the two chair finalists I picked out, he and I agreed on the best chair, we also agreed we were hungry so stood in the absurd line and got lunch. I think they ran out of food, hence the backup. I was so hungry by the time we got to the front that I made terrible choices and we ended up with not quite enough food, a sense of scarcity at the IKEA cafeteria.  You know that was all on me.

The international terminal at the Ottawa airport is a sad little collection of three gates, the rest of the Canadian flights behind a glass wall, H. said she’d join J. and I for lunch if only she could be subatomic gastronomy. Instead J. and I went to the bar area and ordered food and sat and ate and chatted and if you’d told me ten years ago when I first found his work that we’d be lol’ing at an airport bar a decade later, well, it’s been a good life so far and I’m lucky.

The problem with a cheeseburger and fries is that even though it is the only thing I want in the whole wide world, it is always regrettable, always every single time a thing to regret. And yet. Gobbled it. Delicious. The best best best.