Sichuan hotpot is where you find out some very dark things about yourself. You look around at the others in the crowded, painfully bright dining room in Chengdu, wiping the backs of their necks with cold napkins, their faces red and contorted with pain. Some of them hold their stomachs. But they plow on, as you do, dipping chopsticks loaded with organ meats, fish balls, and vegetables into the giant works of dark, sinister-looking oil. It's like that Victorian brothel in London you've read about, the one that had a spanking machine -- could paddle forty custormers at a time. There's that kind of consensual perversion going on here. As if we are, all of us -- though strangers to one another -- bound by an awful compulsion we share. The liquid boils and bubbles like witch's brew opaque, reddish brown distillate of the mind-bloingly excessive amounts of dried Sichuan chilies bobbing and roiling up throughout. The oil is cooking down, reducing by the minute and growing yet more powerful. You drag a hunk of tripe through the oil; it disapperars below the surface, where it shrinks, then hardens like an aroused nipple; and then you remove it from the hell-broth and into your mouth. The heat from the dried peppers nearly lifts your head off -- but there is something else. Tiny black flower peppers, floating discreetly alongside their more aggressive counsins, have an eerie numbing effect, first on your tongue -- and then your entire head. There's the by now familiar floral dimension: you smell it everywhere in this part of China -- it's in the air... But now it comes on strong, comes to the rescue; like an ice cube applied to abused flesh, it counteracts the pain and burn of way more hot pepper than any man can or should reasonably bear. Sweating through your shirt, resisting the urge to double over in pain, you begin to understand.
Pain -- followed by relief.
Burn, follwed by a pleasing, anesthetizing numbness. It's like being spanked and licked at the same time. You were, after many years on this planet and what you thought had been a full and rich life, pretty sure you didn't go for such things. The film 9 1/2 Weeks left you unmoved. At on point in your youthful misadventures would the offer of even playful discomfort have appealed -- even if the person offering was a German supermodel in ass-less latex chaps.
Pain, you were pretty sure, was always bad.
Pleasure was good.
Until now, that is. When everything started to get confused.
《Medium Raw》的全部笔记 5篇