Since moving to the desert, I have been greatly saddened by the lack of fresh seafood. You have to understand, I used to work half a block away from one of the best sushi restaurants in DC and sometimes I just really need some good sushi. So a couple of months ago I found out that a friend of mine lived in Japan for two years and knows how to make sushi like a PRO. He didn’t know it at the time, but I determined there and then that Spicy Tuna would be part of my life again. A few weeks ago, I commandeered my grandmother’s house and the stars aligned with great friends, a lot of rice, some tuna, salmon, mango, cucumber, avocado, and loads of various and sundry tasty morsels to create the best sushi night between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada.
The point of this, however, is not to reflect on homemade fine dining. At the end of the night, after putting away the leftovers and getting the house reasonably put back together, I ushered the last guests to the door and went back to finish up the dishes. At close to midnight, and up to my elbows in suds, a visiting family friend walked into the kitchen and started rinsing and drying the dishes I had washed. Two minutes later, his wife joined him and I was relegated to making small talk while they busily tidied up the remainders of my party.
They made quick work of the kitchen, and I was left completely blown away by the simple service that this couple happily performed. They were in the house visiting from out of town, heard my guests leave and knew I was alone with a mess. Without hesitation, they were right there, pitching in and making sure I didn’t spend the whole night cleaning away. While I went home with fond memories of the close friends and the great food from the evening, the more lasting impression was from two new friends who taught me a little bit more about how to live a life focused less on myself and more on those around me. It’s one thing to ask, “what can I do to help?” and then leave with a satisfied conscience. It’s something else entirely to just walk up to the sink, grab a washcloth and get to work. My goal going forward is to stop asking and just start doing.
Update: The image here is from Jiro Dreams of Sushi. That guy is a master, but his people skills could use a little work.