Friday, March 07, 2008

la vraie wisconsinite

The day moves slowly. I have law applications to review. I concentrate for a while, then put the stack down.

I need an Ocean post, I tell Ed.
I look outside. It’s a bright day. The kind you love in January – blue skies, magnificent sun, temperature hovering around…12 F.

You could take pictures at the mall…
I would like to forget as best as I can that I live close to a mall. No. No.
You’re restless. You want to visit something? A brewery? No. A pastry shop? No.
Let’s look up Madison tours on the Net. Here’s one! You want to take a tour of the radiation center in Stoughton?
Oh, here’s another! It’s a Badger Coach thing: you can go on a tour of Savannah! For $999! By bus!
We are getting awfully close to the gates of what I would consider hell – the image of me, rattling along for days on end with a group of cranky strangers first to Savannah, then through Savannah, then back again.

Want lunch? -- he asks. It’s a code question. He knows I don’t eat lunch. It means: I’m hungry and would love to go out and get something to eat and wont you please join me and sit across the table and sip your cappuccino and read a book or something?
I agree. The next best thing to having a plateful of huevos rancheros, with beans, rice and blue corn tortillas is watching someone else eat them.

And still, my camera rests in my bag.

Ed suggests I stock up on table wines (it's cheaper that way) and so we head over to Steve’s. I fill up a box with handpicked selections – all beautifully toned in shades of summer fruits.

And still, I remain uninspired.

But wait. This is the new Steve’s. With a cheese shop at one end and Rachel in her big white apron, waiting to tell me which one to take home.

Okay, show me the most expensive cheese you have. I need an uplifting photo for an uplifting post on the beauty of cheese.
That would be the Hook’s 10-year-Cheddar. Not very photogenic...
She’s right.

Pick another prize of all prizes.
This one! Oh, try the Rogue Creamery Blue, with Pear Brandy Grape Leaf!

It is a beautiful sight: ripples of dark blue against a firm, golden hunk of cheese.

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Behind me, a customer is taking in the heady smell of fermented milk. He leans forward and considers his selections.

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This is my town! We’re caught in a vignette of cheeses and smiles and paper wrapped parcels and I am drunk without having had a drop of wine (yet) and it feels so good to be here!

Cheese. I belong here. I’m a Wisconsinite. Heady cheese. A cheese in my head. Glorious. (Even though the Rogue is from Oregon. The state. Shhhh!)