Klugman: Opening life’s box of surprises

I wouldn’t necessarily say I fear change, but it’s definitely not my best friend. We are on terse but cordial speaking terms, change and I. For instance, I love travel. I went to the New Orleans Voodoo Museum this August and a man literally pulled a snake out of his pocket and waved it in my face. That was a new experience, and even though I had a little bit of a nervy b on the sidewalk after it was over (I am scared of snakes, f.y.i.), it was great! However, I will admit that the night I spent in the Golden Palace Hindu Monastery in New Vrindaban, West Virginia, I also spent looking forward to being home. The monastery smelled really weird. It didn’t smell like anything, which is not to say it smelled inoffensive, because it still smelled BAD. I was really psyched when I got home to my own bed which, indeed, smells inoffensive.

I enjoy the familiar. I could literally listen to the Mountain Goats song “Idylls of the King” to the exclusion of any other song. Until this July, I hadn’t cut my hair for two years, and now I probably won’t cut it for another very long period of time since I SOMEHOW emerged from the salon looking like “Fire and Rain”-era James Taylor. So, yeah, I like what I know. (I could also listen to “I Know What I Know” very frequently! Sorry, that just reminded me.)

This is why the landscape of New Haven is so comforting to me. I do mean New Haven, by the way, and not just Yale New Haven (not the hospital). I like that I know where the Walgreenses are and which Noodle, Ivy or York Street, is more conveniently distanced from any given point. I was VERY thrown when Exit 47 off of I-95 N moved from a right exit to a left exit, though I admit I feel very grown up, just like a real driver, when complaining about exits and highway numbers. Have fun with your jokes about how nobody shops at Origins, but I am so comforted by its continued existence, the total lack of logic of this existence and the fact that from Broadway it almost looks bigger than ABP and G-Heav COMBINED. (Though, why is it called Origins? Isn’t the point of that kind of crazy skin-care hoodoo that you end up with different, better looks than your original ones?)

I even grew to like the bizarre, creepy, dark, empty shell of a storefront that used to be the Cosi on Park and Elm. “You were once a Cosi,” I would murmur happily to myself while passing by, thinking sad romantic thoughts about loss and mortality and consumer markets. Even when rumors and signs about a new restaurant opening there emerged, I hoped/believed that this could not be true.

But it WAS true. Box 63 is there now, and it is as open as all get out. It is a whole new world. A whole new world of reasonably priced hamburgers, a pleasant patio, constant avocado shortages because of/despite the number of menu items which boast avocado, scrapple (WHICH IS NASTY BY NATURE) and delightful drink specials.

That’s right. I was all ready to hate this new intruder ruining what I had come to think of as a cheerfully gothic Fall of the House of Cosi, but: I like Box 63! In fact, I once ate there twice in one day (brunch and happy hour) and one of my friends happened to be walking by both times and saw me, so now I have a Box-63-loving reputation. And you know what? I am actually fine with that.

Box 63, I enjoy the familiar, but I am willing to take the next step and make you a part of that familiar. Also, you are a new restaurant still and probably have a Google Alert up on your name, so: hello!

Comments