I’ve tried tofu before. In fact, in Australia, it was a staple in my and Mr Moi’s diet.
But I’ve never tried tofu on before.
Today I met with two friends, Mind the Gap and M. Being a lovely sunny morning, and the temperature only nudging 28 degrees cel, we decided to walk to the local market, Volodomyrski Rinok, in order to purchase some of the lovely fresh produce that’s available this time of the year.
I’ve been the the market enough times to have a couple of favourite sellers: the mad Azeri guy who insists on calling me his girlfriend (and yes, he’s met Mr Moi). The mad Ukrainian lady whose stall is filled with Asian cooking accoutrements like sushi mats, hot pots and rice cookers. I just go there to get MSG-filled instant noodles. And the Chinese mother and son who sell sauces, rice noodles, nori paper, Chinese herbs and spices and… Tofu.
Visiting the mother son duo, I walked into their little stall to examine the shelves in detail. At one point, this involved me picking my way over tubs of milky white water, which were sitting on the ground. I didn’t actually know what was in them, but I assumed stinky seafood (I thought I saw a squid tube in the water…)
Then I saw the mother pull a huge slab of lovely fresh, firm tofu out of the tub. Firm tofu! I hadn’t seen firm tofu my WHOLE time in Kyiv. I was so excited, I swivelled around to Mind the Gap and yelled, ‘Oh my gosh! They have fresh……!’
And that’s as far as I got. My foot, dressed only in a sandal with very bad grip, started to slide around a puddle of water on the ground.
‘Uh oh,’ I though. ‘My knee!’
Let’s just pause here for a moment. Remember a couple of days ago, when I posted the ‘Seven random things about‘ MeMe? I will now refer you to point number six. I have bad knees.
So. Before I had time to think about how damn unfashionable I would look, my knee twisted. My body contorted. A scream froze on my lips (well, perhaps that’s a bit Victorian-novel dramatic. But.) And I fell arse first – shoulder bag and all – into a tub of icy tofu water.
But I didn’t just slip. Oh no. Imagine arms spread, crucifixion-style, trying to grab onto something, anything. Legs akimbo, the whole shebang.
My first thought was, ‘Fuck! There’s water everywhere.’
My first words were, ‘Fuck! My camera’s in my bag!’ It was the camera-in-the-wet-bag thought that propelled me up in lightening speed, feeling a little limpy and really bloody embarrassed.
Of course, I was worried about damaging my lovely $1500 camera. Mind the Gap later told me she thought I was trying to urge her to take a photo. Luckily, she didn’t have a camera at hand.
The mother and son promptly gave me a towel. They also insisted I buy some tofu (I guess they need good business now to pay for the water damage repairs). They tried to clean up the mess on the ground with a roll of (russian) toilet paper. This achieved nothing, except creating a soupy mush.
I tried to apologise, but ‘Izvinitsye’ just didn’t seem to cut the mustard. So I pointed at my knee and made a twisting motion with my hands and a cracking noise. I think they got the picture, but I don’t think they could shake the picture of a great big Aussie girl in their precious tofu tubs. I know. Harrowing.
In consultation with Mind the Gap and M., I turned my skirt around so the wet part was on the front (so I just looked like I wet my pants instead of pooing them). Then we walked out and bought a drink of water.
That’s when I had the opportunity to belatedly confirm they understood the Little Miss Moi friendship waiver. The waiver being: expect me to fall over at random times and into random things.
It’s embarrassing. Deal with it. I have for the past 20 years.
But please… be my friend?