Friday, August 30, 2013

Arrrr Matey

I love you, man.
Hey, so does anyone else have a running list in your head of foods you could happily eat until you actually blew up? Pirate cookies are def high on my list. Oh gawwwd, do I ever love pirate cookies. They make me weak in the... wherever it is I keep my willpower.

I once invented a homemade recipe for pirate cookies that was even more powerful than the original, if you can believe it. Like, seventeen times more. There's a bubble universe somewhere where I'm making a killing peddling those things like crack, but in this universe I had to burn the recipe for fear of ruining my girlish figure.

And speaking of my girlish figure, it's really not. I'm mostly pretty cool with this* but I sometimes** still fret that other people might not have reached quite the same level of acceptance as I have with the ol' voluptuosity. Mostly this manifests as a general, all-encompassing suite of appearance and food-related anxieties. Y'know, nothing much. Just everything.

* not really
** perpetually

In a direct manifestation of my own irrational concerns that people are constantly judging me about what food products I am or am not purchasing or consuming, I realized that I habitually assess other people's food purchases and make snap judgements about their lifestyles and personalities. Call it grocery cart phrenology (GCP). I can't help it - the thoughts form in my mind regardless of the fact that my rational brain is fully aware that it is ridiculous. But it's tough when people play to type: college kids with a cart heaped with potato chips and 2L bottles of pop (i.e., mix); hypertanned and ripped people with two baskets (carts would be too easy) full of chicken breasts and cottage cheese; unhealthy-looking families with more or less the same pickings as the frat boys; old people with Bovril and bananas. I'll bet you a nickel that cashiers make similar inferences all the time.

Actually, I know they do - when I was a cashier, I always did. You couldn't help it; you could see the patterns. I once had an elderly regular at the grocery store where I worked come through my till with a bag of cherries - Oh, he told me, he just loved cherries. Could eat them 'til he darn near blew up. This is how the pattern went:

Day 1: bag of cherries.
Day 2: bag of cherries.
Day 3: bag of cherries and a bottle of Pepto Bismol.

Let he among us who would not have noticed that and imagined certain aspects of this fellow's life cast the first stone, but I'm pretty convinced that GCP is a common phenomenon.

Normally I try to prevent anyone conducting GCP on me by tossing confounding items like kale and lightbulbs into my cart, but I must have been in a cloud today because I didn't notice until I got to the till that my purchase consisted entirely of fem hygiene and pirate cookies. Hello! Super obvious! I grabbed a pack of gum and stuck it on the pile. Much less obvious that way that I'm bitchy and binging, right?

Oh, hell. Gum doesn't work at all as well as kale and lightbulbs. I put the gum back and added wine gums and two gossip magazines to the pile. Might as well roll with it.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Gym Class Heroine

Medium Fry possesses a unique ability to be simultaneously stunningly bright and stunningly ... well, stunned. We saw a bunch of kids doing a triathlon a while ago and I mused aloud that I had not been the sort of kid who would have devoted my summers to training for a triathlon. (To be clear, I am also not that sort of adult.) She concurred, then - when I asked what activities she liked to do well enough to make them into her own personal triathlon - offered up that she liked swimming, biking and running a lot and would probably do those instead.  

Instead. Of a triathlon. Oh my gawd.

Small Fry piped up that he would play, dog paddle, watch cartoons, ride his bike and eat candy for his triathlon.

Utter foolishness, I know, but the kid does have a point: having thus redefined both trei and athlos, the possibility arose for even someone like me to participate in a "triathlon". And as it turned out, once I started thinking on it I discovered that there are a great many activities I enjoy enough to devote my summers to. I like hiking, for instance. Paddling. Camping. Sex. Some light shopping. A good, brisk nap. Fine dining. Fine wining. Blogging. Singing. Carding. Golly, now that I've started listing activities I may even have to try out for the decathlon. Who knew I was such an athlete!

I even bought a swimsuit; I could start training for the hot tubbing event! Heck, let's start tonight! Or the tricky drinking-wine-while-hot-tubbing event; I'm top notch at that one too. (I then blow the rest of the competition out of the water at pretty much everything for the next 24 hours because I'm ace at the No Hangovers event and it's a rare talent to say the least.)

Well, Mrs. Pomahac, you mean and manly and overtanned grade seven girls' gym teacher you, so much for both your hypothesis that I lacked any athletic abilities and your repeated assurances that I was pretty much crap as a result. Turns out I'm awesome after all. I'd stick around to rub it in your leathery old face some more, but I've got a decathlon to run today. Starting with this post.

Mix Tape: Summer 2013

I have a life of small adventures. This works for me - I can really squeeze a lot of happiness out of day to day events. I like to think of it as a great efficiency of mine, plus it's way cheaper (not to mention safer) than any sort of dedicated thrill-seeking.

To make life even more exciting, I like to pretend that even the smallest adventures or uncertainties may result in dire consequences; I also like to help spice up others' lives by letting them in on the fun. Frequently, I achieve this by telling them that if I die (during whatever small adventure is on my plate for the day - checking in to a sketchy motel, for instance, or assessing a wetland guarded by a pair of protective nesting songbirds), they can have my mix tapes.

I say mix tape rather than playlist not just to date myself (we all know I'm plenty old), but because playlists lack any physical permanence and therefore - in my humble opinion - would be a pretty lousy thing to leave to someone. I heard a story of a woman who tried to gather together all her correspondence from a loved one who had passed away and was left with essentially nothing aside from occasional emails saying, 'I just texted you. Check your phone,' or, 'Did you get my text?' This is what I imagine playlists will amount to one day - a gap in the record of someone you used to know, that you have no way of filling. So I'm leaving people my mix tapes. (Which also don't precisely "exist" in a material sense [given that I never made any] but considering that the likelihood of my dying during any given small adventure is extraordinarily low, I'm sure no one will find this out and be disappointed by my duplicity.)

If mix tapes still existed anymore (do they?) it would only make sense that their contents would capture the spirit of one's life adventures. So I've been keeping a running list. For instance, a song that keeps popping into my head this summer is A Mind with a Heart of Its Own: I remember her standing in the tall grass and cattails; Away from the windows at the end of the day. That is the only line in the whole damn song that it at all applicable to my situation (i.e., spending a lot of time communing with wetlands), but it drags the rest of the song along with it so it's making the mix tape.

Sometimes when I'm Miles from Our Home, in some little town Where No One Knows Me, I'll be reminded of the interest a Red Headed Stranger (or, really, any sort of stranger) can engender amongst the locals. I'm Too Shy to really enjoy speaking with strangers but it seems they always have So Much to Say when they learn what it is I'm doing in town, and while it's wonderful that they clearly believe We're Going to Be Friends, I often find my afternoons Slip Slidin' Away. (Last week I stopped in a small town hotel to grab some lunch and ended up having an audience with the entire restaurant; this somehow led to the proprietor bringing me samples of wheat that had been affected by wheat midge - to stick in my purse, of course - and an invitation to the wedding of two people I didn't know, by another person I didn't know.) (I declined.)

By the time I get On the Road Again, I'm a little frazzled and I invariably end up Wasting Time on a Road to Nowhere. It doesn't help that I'm in a province Where the Streets Have No Name (ahem, seriously Saskatchewan - what's up with that?), but half the time the Days Go By and I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (this because Where the Streets Have No Name). Which is frustrating for sure but I simply remind myself that I'm in Love with My Car [truck], plus It's a Beautiful Day, and I can't help but Smile.

Although this list lacks a strictly physical being, now that I've posted it on the interweb it's about as permanent as anything could hope to be (just ask anyone whose nude photos have made it online) and I can leave it to you in my will in good conscience. Y'know, just in case the wildlife survey I'm assisting with later today takes a fatal turn.