Friday, February 02, 2007

Followup: Spare Chang

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In the space of less than 2 days, four separate people from across the country—Houston, Texas; Long Pine, Nebraska; Columbus, Ohio; and Jackson, Mississippi—clicked onto this Web site. All four, eerily enough, used almost exactly the same Google search:

"pf changs potsticker sauce"


Also, one search for P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps. Still.

Their Google searches took them here, to a column I wrote called "P.F.'s B.S.," about the Mystery Sauces they leave on your table at P.F. Chang's—yes, sauces about which I've already spent too much time and emotional energy attempting to comprehend the existence and use of, which by the way I'm still not 100% down with. And won't be, until the company revises its policy to clearly label the stuff with easily comprehensible instructions for mixing and suggestions for appetizer foodages to use them on.

Point being, four people. I'm not sure why the sudden burst of interest in P.F. Chang's pot sticker sauce. Did Regis have P.F. Chang on this week? How can four people hundreds of miles apart, different physical and cultural climates and such, all have the same obscure craving, phrased the same way, all searched on Google, all driven to my Web page?

I've concluded it's the same guy.

The odds of four people in less than two days all googling information on P.F. Chang's pot sticker sauces and lettuce wraps and all four finding this Web site—those odds are too much for me to think about comfortably. Yes, the same person is driving across the country—the searches go mostly from east to west. Guy's probably driving a convertible. Sun glinting off the chrome. Sticky flecks of brown goo on the gear shift. A laconic, leathery stranger whose past is unknown and whose future is uncertain, restlessly combing the barren stretches of Middle America for the answer to which Chang pastes go with which sauces and why and on what. Forever he'll search, alone—remembering with an ache in his gut his once chance at really knowing why, Starla the Chang waitress from Tempe who was his woman, and who he wasn't so laconic with, and who came tantalizingly close one night to revealing everything ("If you really love me Starla you'll teach me what you're mixin' "), until one morning before he could roll out of the sagging bed she snuck out carrying her shoes in one hand and his cigarettes in the other, and left him a Dear John letter smeared in wasabi on the bathroom mirror. And he never even got to tell her he didn't care anymore.

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