A few months back, a cousin from North Carolina visited San Francisco on business. Nick and I had dinner with him and his business associates at an upscale restaurant in the city's North Beach neighborhood.
That evening led me to start a "Do Not Do" list.
I ordered duck, which I love but don't often eat, from the menu. So did at least two others at the table. When my dish arrived, I gazed upon the entree with alarm. It was the color of eggplant, looking like it had been barely introduced to a flame. The others who had ordered this foul fowl dug in and seemed to be enjoying it. I showed it to Nick, who curled up his nose and suggested I send it back to the kitchen immediately.
I decided to be brave and plunge ahead. The duck was sliced into medallions. I ate one and a half medallions before I accepted the fact I was simply enduring my meal, not enjoying it. I sent the duck back for additional cooking. But the gastrointestinal damage had already been done. I'll spare you the details of the unpleasant aftermath, except to say that the dish should have been named Daffy's Revenge.
The next day, once I had sufficiently recovered, I decided I'd reached a point in life when it was time to be clear about what I would not be doing again, ever. "Eat rare duck" became my "Do Not Do" list's first item.
That incident occurred back in January. To my surprise, I've only added four items to the list since, and they're rather half-hearted items that I probably will do again, such as "Going out more than once during the workweek."
As it turns out, I feel old enough to not want to waste time and effort, but not old enough to shut the door forever on a list of things. For example, I was tempted to add "Eat anything rare that is usually cooked" to my "Do Not Do" list. But then, about a month ago, I (hesitantly) tasted a friend's tuna tartare appetizer and loved it.
So for now, I'm living each day with a seemingly endless "To Do" list and a really short "Do Not Do" list. Somehow, the imbalance between the two feels right.