I’m conflicted — not about anything earth-shattering, mind you. While things like global warning, the debt ceiling, and human trafficking are never far from my mind, I have the ability to push them aside so that I can make room in my disorganized brain for a few of your more mundane worries — like which one of my neighbors left GUM in the dryer and didn’t clean it out, what the hell I’m going to make for dinner, and when The Mets are finally going to bring up Zack Wheeler.
Mysteries like why the people I live with MUST eat my plain banana yogurt (the kind WITHOUT strawberry!), when I damn sure buy them enough of the disgusting berry-flavored varieties that they claim to like, but NEVER seem to eat — this will have to be addressed another day. I’ve also placed other conundrums on the back burner this morning. Head scratchers like how Strom Thurmann served for so long in the US Senate, why my daughter can’t seem to keep track of her pencils (the nice ones, the mechanical kind, the type that cost $3.59), or why no one can invent a proper broom — one whose handle remains ON the broom while sweeping — are just too much for one woman on a random Tuesday morning. (Someone ought to put that Dyson guy on the broom thing. He’s a real problem-solver! Placing the vacuum motor at the bottom? Genius!)
In terms of things that make me go, “Huh?”, the GUM thing is on the top of my list today. It smacks of both idiocy and irresponsibility. Whether they failed to notice that there was chewing gum all over their dried clothing and, by extension, all over the dryer — he or she (though I doubt it was a she) is an idiot. I don’t believe it, though. Not the idiot part — idiocy is fairly common — it’s the not noticing part that I have a hard time believing. What I do believe is that whoever left their chewing gum behind in the dryer is both an idiot and irresponsible — you can throw careless in there if you like, too — so, what we’re dealing with here is an irresponsible idiot, which is, in my opinion, the worst kind of idiot.
As a result of someone’s irresponsible idiocy, I was forced to spend twenty minutes (TWENTY MINUTES!) scraping SOMEONE ELSE’S previously chewed gum out of the dryer! I only hope that the heat of the dryer killed whatever horrible bacteria may have been lurking in their saliva. Let’s face it, anyone who would leave gum in a dryer probably doesn’t wash their hands after pooping or take other sanitary precautions as they wander through life. He is likely the type of person who, upon seeing an M&M on the floor of the grocery store can be heard exclaiming, “Ooh! Free candy!” as he pops it into his mouth. I can only assume that his gum was harboring some form of disease — the common cold at the very least.
I don’t need to come down with any more diseases because I’m already suffering from one that I like to call “ennui” — mostly it flares up when it nears meal time — specifically dinnertime. Really, it begins in the supermarket where, of late, I can be found roaming the aisles searching, fruitlessly, for inspiration. I often wonder if my blank look, confused expression, and/or directionless ambling gives people the idea that I am suffering from something more serious than ennui — like early-onset senility or a brain tumor. I should make up a sign and pin it to my chest — a sign that would reassure them — the casual and caring observer — that I only behave this way at the grocery store. (O.K., O.K. — I might have to wear the sign at Target, too!)
Part of the problem is that I begin my journey through the supermarket in Produce. Everything looks so nice and fresh and colorful there. So, I load up my cart with all sorts of healthy ingredients, only to wonder, at checkout time, what I’m going to do with kale and ginger and something that looks red and juicy, but that I can’t identify, when I get it home.
I pick up these types of items because I am so bored with cooking the meals that I’ve always cooked. I desperately want to MAKE different things. The problem is that Fang and Fangette don’t want to EAT different things. In their defense, they’ve been subjected to more than one culinary disaster as a result of my attempts to use the wacky ingredients that have made their way into my kitchen.
I understand that this problem could be addressed if I were to do two fairly simple things — seek out recipes and make shopping lists. I know that’s the answer. I do. I’m not an idiot. But, I don’t do either. I have issues with recipes. Partially it comes from the assumption by the recipe-maker that the end-user has things like ricers, food processors, or something called a food mill. I’m lucky I have a whisk. And don’t even get me started on the spices — saffron, tarragon, cumin — who even knows what these are? As far as I’m concerned, all you need is salt, pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, and, of course, paprika (it imparts a lovely reddish color to every dish!).
I may also bring a teeny-weeny bit of my psychological baggage to recipe-following. I have problems following directions — because I hate being told what to do. What are recipes other than someone you don’t even know telling you what to do? Worse, though, are when they are my mother’s recipes — then I just hear HER telling me what to do or gasping as I use white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar in her famous pot roast recipe. (I have actually had internal conversations between myself and my mother, while committing this heinous act, where I say things like, “Listen, old woman, it’s what I have!) If you’re not going to follow a recipe, why even bother to make a list?
Tonight we will probably be reduced to yet another version of soup and sandwiches. Perhaps I’ll go nuts — boil up some eggs and make egg salad for a change of pace — I think that Fang and Fangette are getting a little tired of grilled cheese and canned soup. To be honest, I’m growing weary of it myself. But it’s simple, flexible, and requires little, if any, thought. My kind of meal.
I have to be a little bit careful at this time of year in terms of making anything that could produce indigestion — because we generally eat while we watch The Mets. Watching The Mets is indigestion-producing in and of itself — it doesn’t need to be helped along by poor culinary decisions. To say that they can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is an understatement. And the Zack Wheeler thing? I know they are waiting for a certain date to bring him up from AAA. I know it has to do with free agency and money somewhere down the line — I know there’s a “magic date” that must pass prior to his arrival in The Bigs, but in the meantime, I swear they could hand the ball off to someone in the stands and we would see a better game than what has, thus far, been served up this season.
Sure, there have been bright spots — almost any game Matt Harvey has been involved in and sweeping The Yankees — but they have been few and far between. So have my fabulous dinners. Perhaps once Zack Wheeler gets called up, I’ll be able to muster up the energy for the odd mealtime epiphany. Or, maybe I’ll hand the reins over to another family member — let someone else do the cooking. Possibly that’s what we really need around here — a pitching change.
photo credit: Wrigley Field