As a former high school teacher and a former resident of Shanghai, China, I have been lied to a lot. Straight bald faced, sociopathic lies, like “I swear I turned in my homework” and “There are no earplugs in China.” I tend to be slow to call bullshit on people, because the standard Seattlite response is to a) make a in incredulous “seriously?” face, b) accept the lie at face value in order to get away from that situation as quickly as possible, and c) delete that person from your life forever. It’s not our way to say, “that’s a lie, you’re lying.” When I do see someone do that, I find it breathtaking.
A few years ago when I was living in Manhattan, I called the super to fix a toilet that was leaking loudly. I have a particularly short fuse with leaky toilet flaps because of the one in my townhouse in Seattle; I must have tried to replace that flap a thousand times. Anyway, I happened to be home when the handyman came to look at our toilet, and he acted like he didn’t know what the problem was. “All toilets leak,” he told me, looking in my eyes. I couldn’t believe he was trying to get out of a $4, 10 minute easy-peasy fix. He looked at me to see what I would say. I looked back at him and told him “there are two other toilets in this apartment, and neither of them run all the time.” He rolled his eyes and got to work.
Yesterday I called Fish King in Glendale, California, and asked them if they had ogo seaweed. As is often the case in my experience here in LA, the dude didn’t have any and couldn’t help me but for some reason wanted to talk to me about ogo seaweed. We put that in our poke! We import that from Hawaii! I was like, shh shh shh I’m calling to BUY some, not write a wikipedia article. He sounded sorry and said, no, there is no ogo available, and he used the word “shortage.” “Shortage?!” I asked him, incredulously, and the chuckled nerviously, as if I had just caught him in a lie.
I got off the phone and immediately called the Uwajimaya Seafood Department in Seattle, and asked the dude if there was ogo seaweed; he said they had less than a pound left. I told him I was calling from LA and asked if there was a shortage; and he was like no, no way.I told somebody else here in LA the whole story about Fish King and Uwajimaya, and he was trying to be helpful, but he says “I think there is a shortage because poke is huge in LA at the moment!” Two things; first, I have yet to see any ogo seaweed in any of the hwe dup bap mixed with OCEAN SALAD that passes for poke around here. I’m a little bitter. Second, I just established that there IS NO SHORTAGE. I literally just explained how that was bullshit!
Also yesterday: I went to Kaldi Coffee in Atwater Village to buy coffee beans, and the beans they had on the shelf were already roast +12 days old. I asked if there were fresher beans, and the guy said “no.” I asked when they roast, so I could come in, and he said, usually we roast Wednesdays and Saturdays. It was Sunday. So I asked, are there beans in the back waiting to be bagged or something? He said, yes, they have to de-gas before we can bag them up.
De-gas? Sounds like total bullshit, right? So I called my my boy R, who ran the roasters at one very corporate coffee company, and at one uptight, well-known, high quality coffee company. R told me that yes, espresso beans have to de-gas, but not coffee beans. He said he’s never heard of that all-caps “EVER,” and that the only purpose of that is to keep fresh product away from the customer.
So I’m not sure if the dude was bullshitting me because he was too lazy to bag some beans for me, or if he genuinely and honestly believed deep in his heart that fresh coffee beans have to be “de-gased.” But it sure sounds like bullshit to me.