Jin twirled his chopsticks in the cheap noodles he had purchased front the corner store. His eyes were drawn to the juxtaposition of the organic swirls of noodles in his bowl with the straight wooden sticks jutting out from the center like a water spout from a whirlpool. A plasma jet from a quasar, but far more humble. Jin tightened his grip on the sticks, pressing the noodles more firmly together, pressing them into pieces. He sighed, leaning back in the cheap IKEA furniture. Cheap noodles. Cheap furniture. The back on the chair creaked ominously. CRACK!! A side support split sending shards of wood knocking into the wall like so much hail.
Jin sighed, this was the fourth chair so far. Breaking so easily, like the noodles in his bowl. It wasn’t a big deal, it was still pretty cheap firewood. Kinda. It’s what he told himself to justify the cheap purchases. He knew, deep down he should just shell out a little more once to get a higher quality chair, rather then spending less more often. He knew math. But he couldn’t stop. It was his training growing up. He would have to check out garage sales next week, maybe pick up a high quality chair there for cheap.
He turned back to his cooling noodles. Too salty for his tastes. Why was it that cheap food relied on salt for flavor? Salt is a flavor enhancer, not an actual flavor!! Yeah, there was a little beef flavor here, but really, only barely enough to legally hold the label without being sued for false advertising. He rarely finished the noodles. He couldn’t bare the thought of what they were probably doing to his circulatory system. So again, spending less money on an inferior product led to wasting more money in the end. Jin considered…maybe he’d have to check garage sales for some cheap food too!! Haha, no.
It was his upbringing again. The difference being that growing up he had a mom who cook. He could not. She would buy ridiculously cheap food like Potatoes and Rice and make it taste like a king’s feast, but all Jin could do was microwave the potato and throw on some butter. Nasty!! Even cheap noodles were more palatable than that. Besides, swirls!! Jin stuck his head back close to the bowl and twisted the chopsticks causing the noodles to writhe, coiling like synchronized snakes in a seemingly ordered fashion that always led to impossibly chaotic knots. He knew the feeling. His life felt like that too. He would do everything in an ordered way, creating order from the chaos of his life, doing everything to the best of his abilities, making and keeping the lines straight and parallel, but then when he stepped back, everything would be more chaotic now than before, and the knots would be more impossible to untie. It would be chaos disguised as order. A façade. Except for headphones in the pockets, naturally and chaotically tied knots are easier to untie than the knots created by order, whether planned or not.
When had dinner become so philosophical? What a joke!! Maybe if he enjoyed his food more, he would stop thinking such thoughts that ruin his night. Maybe tomorrow he’d get some proper dinner. Maybe the trick to fixing to his world and setting his line straight would be found in proper food, and if not, maybe it would lead to the trick. Hopefully at least it would discourage such philosophy. That would be a good start.
By: Ryan Cottam