What She Needs Is Some Hot Dish

This week’s questions include but are not limited to the following:
• Showermilch – lemony fresh and containing the words for ‘shower’ and ‘milk’, why does this burn my skin? And what’s up with the pictures of sparkling sinks and tubs on the back?
• Why did my flat-mate put an attractively packaged cleaning chemical right next to the shampoo and body wash?
• Why can’t I speak and read German? I’m never going to get a referral to the dermatologist to treat these chemical burns if I only know the words for meat, salad, and meatsalad.
Wine Tasting
• Why is the wine in Germany so inexpensive? We just went to a wine sale and tasting, and tried 15 bottles of delicious wines from Languedoc that were each priced at $10-12. I don’t understand how wine producers (or importers) break even at that rate, what with the growing and the tending and the picking and the pressing and the fermenting and the bottling and the likelihood that something could go wrong and make the wine unsellable.
• What is the word for tasting the same grape from the same winemakers, but bottles from different years? Is it a vertical tasting?
• Why do I want to know that last one? It’s so that I can change the subject quickly the next time (at an intimate wine tasting hosted by two importers for whom the tasting and importing was their passion, and who had personally selected and brought back only wines that they liked and were proud of,) I describe a wine as smelling and tasting like a wet goat. Keep it classy, Bets!
• Why am I surprised that so many Germans don’t have any idea what I’m talking about when I say ‘Happy Hannukah’? Why am I then unable to stop myself from saying things like, ‘A latke sure sounds good. Is there somewhere around here that has them this time of year?’ or ‘Have you seen my menorah? I thought I left it right here next to your yarmulke.’ Or ‘What’s the word for a male Shiksa?’ As if I don’t already have enough issues with language- and culture-based misunderstandings, I have to make little you’re-not-doing-enough-in-the-way-of-reparation jokes that are designed to provoke confusion.
• Did you know that a full-sized, 12-ounce can of tomato juice has only 60 calories? Wow, right?
• Why did the person sitting behind me at the airport just say, “those robots are really exciting”? And why aren’t my eavesdropping skills more effective?
• Have you ever seen anyone carrying an iPad without also carrying a laptop? Seems to defeat the purpose a bit, no?
• Why did I bring only Lucinda Williams to listen to on a 10-hour flight? Ye Gods, it’s a good thing you can’t bring sharp objects on planes these days: I won’t be able to do much damage sawing at my wrists with a cheap plastic knife. For those of you who aren’t familiar, a representative sample of her lyrics: “If we lived in a world without tears, how would bruises find a face to lie upon? How would scars find skin to etch themselves into? How would broken find the bones?” and “Scorpions crawl across my screen, make their home beneath my skin, underneath my dress, they stick their tongues, bite through flesh down to the bone, and I have been so fucking alone… since those three days. Did you only want me for those three days? Did you only need me for those three days?” or, the somewhat more up-tempo, “Don’t make me sit all alone and cry. It’s over, I know, but I can’t let go. He won’t take me back when I come around. Says he’s sorry then he puts me out. I got a big chain around my neck, and I’m broken down like a train wreck.”
Oh, Lucinda, feel better soon, OK? I’ll bring over a casserole later but I’ll just leave it on the mat if you don’t feel up to answering the door…

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