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Pfefferminz tee, a.k.a. “peppermint tea.”

“The landlord has just built it,” the promoter declared. I inuited that he was unenthusiastic about his modest, well-designed kitchen. I traced this lack of enthusiasm to three possible sources: 1) he did not own his apartment; 2) he had hoped for a less modest, more elaborate kitchen that his landlord had proved unwilling to build; and 3) he is German.

“I find your choice of countertop self-effacing and poignant,” I admitted. The promoter had chosen countertop in a butcher block style, betraying exquisite taste. “I myself am redesigning my own kitchen, and have considered butcher block.”

“To purchase butcher block would be very stupid,” the promoter informed me. He lit a cigarette.

“Really?” I stared at the promoter intently, my mouth agape. “But you yourself have purchased a butcher block countertop.”

“I know,” the promoter admitted, exhaling. “Butcher block is very stupid. Every month you must, you know, spray it.”

“With fine finishing oils?” I queried.

“Yes, yes,” the promoter confirmed. “Who can remember this spray? Look at the countertop!” The promoter gestured violently at his countertop. “The countertop is dry. Dry! Dry! Dry!”

I moved closer to the countertop and ran my hand over the butcher block. The promoter was right! Someone had neglected to spray the countertop with fine finishing oils. As a result, the countertop was rough to the touch—-quite the opposite of butcher block mindfully-treated with fine finishing oils!

“I see your point,” I relented. “Your butcher block will dry out if you do not treat it with the finest finishing oils. But look here—-” I pointed to a set of modern, flat overcabinets that the promoter had installed in his kitchen. “I find your choice of modern, flat overcabinets compelling. America, as you may know, was originally a British colony. For this reason, many Americans are obsessed with ornate, quote-unquote ‘colonial’ cabinets. This outdated ‘colonial’ style evokes a ubiquitous, faux Benjamin Franklin hominess. But I understand that I am no longer a colonist. Thus, I will exercise my inalieable right to modern, flat overcabinets, like these—-a masterful choice that expresses a sophisticated aesthetic.”

“These cabinets are from IKEA,” the promoter declared. His cigarette had burned down almost to the cherry.

“And well-chosen cabinets they are,” I continued. “There is no shame in an IKEA cabinet. IKEA cabinets are inexpensive, and stylish!”

“These cabinets are a piece of shit,” the promoter said.

“Well…” I struggled to stake out my position in re: IKEA. “I know that IKEA products are not always well-crafted, but their modern style—-“

“No!” the promoter exclaimed. “Do not go to IKEA for cabinets! See—-look here!” The promoter pointed to a cabinet. I gasped—-this cabinet had no handle. “See here? This cabinet has lost its handle. We install IKEA cabinets. Two months later, the handle breaks. The handle falls off. We go to IKEA. We say, ‘Can we have another handle? For the cabinet?’ IKEA says, ‘Sorry! That handle is out of stock and has been discontinued.’ So, you see? We sit here with no handle for the cabinet!” As if to emphasize the wrong that IKEA had done him, the promoter, at that moment, extinguished his cigarette in a nearby ashtray. Though the cigarette no longer burned, I knew that the promoter was fanning the self-destructive flames of lifelong, white-hot, anti-IKEA hatred that could only end in personal tragedy.

“Do you like Born Against?” I asked. The promoter began to discuss the merits of the storied hardcore group Born Against. I wiped my brow in relief. For not the first nor last time in my life, I had slyly changed the subject.