I’m going to divulge a secret that I sort of alluded to previously. I love comments on The Delicious Life. It’s not really anything shocking or shameful – appreciating a remark, a question, sometimes even discussion amongst the commenters. But for some reason, I am a little embarrassed by how emotionally affected I am, not by the comments themselves, but by their very existence.
Because comments made here on The Delicious Life automatically send me an email notification, I love receiving emails. Not just love, but luuuuurve. Like a silly school girl whose stomach hops up against her heart and sets it aflutter when she opens her notebook and spies a note with her name scrawled on it in that recognizable-only-to-her chicken-scratch of her crush, so too am I when I see that little slide-up window in my lower right hand corner. When I’m working in another application (oooh, that sounds so very technical) that little slide-up window alerts me that I have new mail. I love clicking over to my Inbox and seeing that little bold number in parentheses (if you use gmail, you know what I’m talking about). I love when my new emails are comments on The Delicious Life. It’s a good thing I work from home because I’m sure that if people actually saw me, they would wonder why every once in a while, my eyes will open wide, I’ll blush, hold my breath, maybe there’s a barely perceptible *giggle* and suddenly I’m grinning like a foolish monkey at my computer screen.
It’s slightly strange how much I love comments, how much I look forward to them after every post that gets published, how giggly silly giddy happy I am when I receive one, whether it’s negative or positive, how disheartened I am when no one has commented on a post within hours of its publication, how dejected I feel when, with each passing day, a post sinks lower and lower on the page without a single comment. The curious thing is, I’m not exactly sure why I am so affected, but I am. I think it’s a combination of things. Comments are affirmation that people are actually reading, that the contents stirred up sort of emotion, and that the person thought it worthwhile to make a comment, whether a compliment, a question, or a criticism. I guess it means that they care, otherwise, they’d just click right out of The Delicious Life.
I guess it’s enough to say for whatever weird, psychological reasons that are hidden under layers and layers of anxiety, trauma, emotions and whatnot, I love comments. I love comments!
But I hate comments that are anonymous.
As much as the very arrival of a comment email in my Inbox makes my heart skip a beat, discovering that it’s an anonymous comment makes me *sigh* with a fairly even balance of sadness and irritation. It's like I'm a schoolgirl again, and the note I just opened up and read is actually not from my crush, but from...the annoying dork who sits behind me in Algebra. Even when an anonymous comment is complimentary or encouraging, it bothers me that I don’t know who said it. This too, I cannot seem to explain. Perhaps it’s a fear of the unknown. Perhaps a mild sense of not having full control of a situation. I am not sure.
Certainly, I understand some of the rationale behind wanting to remain anonymous – safety concerns, protecting identities from weirdos and creeps. But the web itself is already a great veil of anonymity. My site statistics can’t really tell me anything more than from what link a visitor came. Okay, so it can tell me the IP address of the computer of a visitor, but there is no way for me to know which visitor is associated with which specific comment. The two applications aren’t that closely linked. Or are they? Hmmm?!?! You'll never know, now will you?!? No, really, they’re not, and even if they were, do you really think I’m smart enough to figure out how to connect the two? And really, do anonymous commenters who leave nasty, spiteful, mean, "You have no taste!" comments think that I will come after them? I am not like that. Unless it’s that time of the month ;)
Some may say, “But Sarah, even you remain anonymous with just your first name, and not even a full picture of your face in your profile.” True, very true. But my last name is “Delicious.” :) There’s no such thing as “just a first name.” Your name is your name. Let’s take it one step further here, the name doesn’t matter so much as the identity. The personality is what matters. Who the person is, and always remaining true to it. I’ll just refer ourselves to that great English bard who wrote about a rose. As long as I am always Sarah, I am still as sweet (or wicked, as the case may be). I could have called myself “Princess,” and “Princess” would still be me. I am just Sarah, and that is who I am. As far as the picture is concerned, well, I have always wondered why I even put a picture up in the first place. A photo is irrelevant – I just put something there because I know the way the human mind works. It needs to tie an identity to an image. I could have put an picture of a small pink monkey there, which would have been a more accurate reflection of myself, but there’s a photo of my Crest whitestrips-semi-whitened smile. It doesn’t show my whole face because this is a blog mostly about food and who wants to see a nauseating photo of the hairy warts on my enormous fivehead (that’s a four-head that’s so big, it’s called a fivehead)?
Perhaps anonymous comments bother me because I put my heart and soul out there on the web for everyone to poke and prod, because I stand behind every word I put out there, because I take responsibility for my opinions and statements and how they may affect someone else, but someone who remains anonymous does not. Anonymous can be careless with his or her words, can hurt someone else’s feelings, and not have to feel guilt or back himself up. Sure, there have been plenty of anonymous sweet nothings whispered in my Delicious ear, and my human heart can’t help but appreciate them, but how much more valuable and significant that comment is when I know who it’s from. When anonymous commenters leave criticisms or even nasty remarks, they lose some of their credibility because no one is accountable for them.
I just want to know the “who” behind the “what.” For all I know, 200 anonymous comments could be from 200 different people, or they could all be from the same person. It’s hard not knowing who you are, anonymi. I mean, how would you like it if I posted about restaurants all the time and I never identified them? How would you like it if I raved and raved about a place, but you could never go there because I don’t reveal the name? How would you like it if I blasted some restaurant for roach-infested bathrooms, slimy servers, and rotten food
, but you would never know how to avoid it?
Just to see how it feels, I’m going to blog about this great little sushi restaurant that I went to, but I’m not going to identify it by name. It shall remain nameless! How’s that for anonymous?!? Ha! See?
Anonysushi is, in actuality, pretty anonymous (obviously, Anonysushi is not the real name). Before the first time I went there, I had neither heard anyone ever mention it nor read anything about it. When the name came up as the venue for a b-school mini-reunion dinner, well, first I recoiled at the idea of doing the mini-reunion because inevitably, there would be hyperfluous (I made that word up, I think, but you know what I mean) conversation filled with small-talk, gossip and career one-upmanship cleverly disguised as “news.” Then, I realized that the name, though slightly ridiculous, also sounded strangely familiar.
Hmm...Anonysushi...Anonysu...oh! That’s right! I did remember that the Japanese exchange students in my section often talked about Anonysushi in our personal chats (what better way to bridge a language gap with exchange students than to talk about food?). The Japanese students weren’t fond of the more popular or trendy sushi places, but made many trips to Anonysushi. They said it reminded them of home.
But as anonymous as it would seem, not only because of its absence from the more conventional circles of “buzz,” but also for its unassuming location along a busy boulevard between equally unassuming stores and salons, its modest sign, and lack of flashy valet parking, Anonysushi is popular. They don’t take reservations. Once we receive a genuinely welcoming “Ira-shai-masse!” upon walking in, there is a quoted wait of at least 30 minutes. It’s shoulder-to-shoulder at the sushi bar, conspicuous cramming of chairs around a table that’s two to three too small, and people standing backed up against the wall like patient soldiers. Oftentimes the wait is spent outdoors because there is no space for a true waiting area inside. No one seems uncomfortable, unhappy or impatient, though. These are folks who have been here before and know the drill.
Anonysushi is small – tiny to be more accurate – and there’s nothing remarkable about the decor – simply the standard furnishings that would suggest a Japanese restaurant – short fabric drapes over doorways, prints on the walls, signs for Japanese beer, and of course, Maneki Neko. The salient feature about Anonysushi, though, is that the place may seem anonymous, but the staff certainly doesn’t make you feel anonymous. Our preferred seating is at the bar, where sushi chefs are attentive, friendly, sometimes charmingly goofy, anything that makes you feel comfortable, whether you are on a first date with a sushi first-timer, a neighborhood regular, or in the case of my Japanese schoolmates, simply missing home.
The quality of the fish at Anonysushi is not necessarily the superiority of what I would imagine at Urasawa or some of the other top-dollar, top-shelf place, but it is always fresh. Though the lively environment might allow the chefs to get away with slight sloppiness, sushi and sashimi are well-executed. Sashimi, like thin slices of hirame draped over the edges of a small shot glass with ponzu for dipping, has an artistic presentation, but it’s not gaudy with unnecessary garnish. There is no cheating glut of less expensive rice with nigiri sushi, as is sometimes the case with cheap joints, nor an overwhelming mass of fish. It is balanced. Anonysushi does some of the fancier, more creative rolls, but I have never tried them, and will keep my general opinions about those kinds of rolls to myself. ;)
Anonysushi is a neighborhood place. It's respectable in its modesty, food, service, and atmosphere, which is probably why it is crowded with neighborhood regulars who like to keep it to themselves, local Japanese folks, and every once in a while, me.
See?!?! See how it feels when you don't know the name?!? Maybe, just maybe, I will reveal the place if I get at least 20 non-anonymous comments on this post!
Anonymous commenters, I’m calling you out! Crawl out of the webwork. Let’s get to know each other. I may bite, but if I do, you'll enjoy it. We both will. I promise.
1330 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90403