Thera Thibeault: No Reservations in the Danger Zone

Someone!  Hurry up, quickly!  Ask me what I want to be when I grow up!  Just, no…seriously, stop what you’re doing and just ask me.  This is really important to me as a segue into my blog post, though!  No, I don’t care that you’re really busy right now…just…ugh!  *stomps foot*

Ok, so what do I want to be when I grow up?

I want to be Anthony Bourdain.  Ok, not the *actual* man (because, yeah…impossible genitalia swap nonsense) but the Tee equivalent…but more Tee-ness.  You know.  You get it.

If you’ve never watched No Reservations or Parts Unknown or been privy to even hear his voice (I could listen to him talk all day…he’s like Bob Ross if Bob Ross cussed incessantly and without repent, chain-smoked, and drank like a submarine), I honestly feel a little bad for you.  Not that bad since…um, hello…Netflix!  World at your fingertips, homeboy!

*as an aside/soliloquy/parenthetical without the parentheses substituting asterisks: don’t waste your time (but let’s be honest, my time is more important so don’t waste that either) mentioning, commenting or even conceiving  anything negative about Bourdain on these premises because they will be promptly ignored (and obviously, overtly wrong) and also you might find yourself getting tee peed.  Additionally, this post isn’t about him…well, not all of it*

I started watching the Travel Channel whenever in my life I had access to basic cable television…probably circa 2005.  It’s not that sad…I read books, you ass!  Along with anything far-awayish in which I could indulge, I became an immediate fan of No Reservations and developed an odd, quasi-celebrity crush on Bourdain.  Understand, reader, it wasn’t because I was physically attracted to him (but not so not attracted as to say I wasn’t at all…? *cough*) but rather the way his show and writing stimulated my brain along with my…ohmygod, I’m such a geek.  Ok, let’s just say it’s like the way I love Kurt Vonnegut or Michael Keaton or my high school English teacher.  I honestly don’t know how else to describe this so just keep reaching for a strained connection.  I don’t really ask that much of you people, do me a solid.

Suffice to say, I want that.  All of it.  The oceans between, foreign soil, people smiling at me mumbling insults cloaked in unfamiliar languages.  The food…oh, the food.  I’d risk all the heartburn, diarrhea, vomiting and fevers in the world to try every kind of five-star and peasant-village cuisine I could get my fingers or fork on to include insects, innards, anything fermented or pickled…  The culture shock and exchange, being so submersed in something so out of left field, my whole world grows by universes.  The beer, the dancing and music, the sheer terror that only stems from inevitably shady and outrageously unsafe forms of transportation that you only get in other countries (although cab drivers can come prettttty close, sometimes).  I want the boat springing a leak on a densely muddied river, I want to walk across a tundra and freeze my theoretical nads off and saunter half-dehydrated through a desert wondering how so much sand gets in all those gnarly nooks and unmentionable crannies (I don’t wonder, I know why.  Sand looks like tiny rocks and tiny rocks are assholes.  That’s why.)

In a very real and tangible way, I long for that.  When I think about it, my insides ache.  To be able to travel the world to eat, drink, speak, dance, listen, walk, think…and write about it all?  That, my dear friends, is my niche, if I ever had one.  I could fill that tiny hole in the world and nearly have it flow over with my very little cultural experience along with little bias, my maddeningly small cache of brushes with the unfamiliar and unnerving and a huge, fast-firing and spongey girl-brain just waiting to soak it all up, throw it all through my synapses and spew it out of my fingers at unsuspecting and hopelessly-devoted readers like you…lucky.

To be given that opportunity, well, shit doesn’t fall into one’s lap like that.  I believe in bootstraps and pulling oneself up by them (although, speaking from a realists’ view, I’m fairly certain that doesn’t work…I mean, we can’t ignore physics…WE CAN’T LIVE IN A DREAM-WORLD, DAMMIT!)  So, I’m going to try my best to create these small opportunities for myself.  I like to write and I like to eat cheese; it’s a good place to start.

If I had a second choice as to what I’d want to be when I grew up, I’d be Garfield (a big-ass fat orange talking cat?! Pfftt…act like you’re not impressed.)  Although cats are small, soft-furred demon animals, that mofo had it made.  Odie never stood a chance…that slobbery, yellow bastard.

2 thoughts on “Thera Thibeault: No Reservations in the Danger Zone

  1. Let me start by addressing your desire to be Garfield. Your “big-ass” is big enough and it is sad; it doesn’t need to get any bigger, furrier, or orange.

    Now, as for No Reservations and Tony Bourdain…I agree with all of these sentiments.

    I have had the opportunity to travel a little, which gave a glimpse, but it was mostly western Europe, so it wasn’t too much of a culture shock given how “Americanized” many of those countries are.

    I was once at a sushi bar that was a little more “traditional” than your typical sushi bar in America. While there I was talking to my friends and I made the comment about how I sometimes wish I was born in a different country just so I could appreciate the food.

    Now of course, inevitably, I was told that my idea was bad and I should feel bad. You don’t have to be from another country to appreciate the food. And then, (and this is a Maltese guy and a guy who’s been to Japan, mind you) they attempt to use American as an example. Do you need to be born in American to appreciate a hotdog or Twinkies? Etc, etc.

    They just didn’t get it, that it was exactly my point. In American you don’t have to, because we lack a definitive culture for which the food to develop around. Oh sure, there’s regional food like grits or a philly or a coney dog. But these things are available everywhere, they’re commercialized. Anything not homemade is re-developed and packaged for efficiency reasons.

    And then one can watch something like No Reservations, or do the tiniest bit of traveling like I did, and one can see how other people in the world have a deeply imbedded culture that’s usually older than the USA itself.

    I had a point in there somewhere.

    I hate you, Tee.


    • I absolutely agree with all of the ideas you expressed in the latter half of your response.  While I’m glad for all the diversity and the grab-bag cultural amalgamation that is the US, we really don’t have a way to experience any cuisine unique to our country.  Which is kind of the ideology behind this country but it really makes you pine away for something that really plants you back in history where the most indigenous of dishes originated.



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