Sitting here eating a bowl of Puffed Rice cereal and feeling sorry for myself. Haven’t had puffed rice since I was a kid, and I do not know what possessed me to buy it. The cereal is gummy and tasteless in my bowl, the puffs of rice becoming milk-swollen globs more quickly than I can scoop them into my mouth. The last remaining scooped-up puffs conjure images of milky-white squirming larvae.
Or the rice I once fed a weak-stomached dog in hopes she could keep something down. She couldn’t, and my cereal looks like that vomit.
I added a teaspoon of sugar, but the puffs have rejected the sweetness, and the sugar has fallen to the bottom of the bowl in a thick sandy ooze.
All of this I remember from childhood puffed rice breakfasts. Why did I pluck this cereal off the shelf and feel the need to taste it again? How stupid am I?
Something’s different, though . . . I tip the bowl to my mouth and pour the last drops of sandy sugar milk into my mouth . . . something is not exactly as I remember it.
Ok, got it . . . no lumps! No lumps and no gray.
Because we never had milk as kids. Not regular milk, anyway. Instead, our family would buy these huge boxes of powdered milk and pour carefully measured scoops into a pitcher with water. We would then take turns whisking the crap out of it in hopes of breaking up the small lumps of powder. What resulted was milk in name only . . . a gray bubbly unappetizing drink that we happily poured into glasses and onto our cereal.
So nasty when one of those milk lumps hit your tongue and dissolved like a little powdered dairy bomb.
Ok, neither the cereal nor the memories are making me happier. I’m just having one of those days when nothing seems worth doing. A “fuck that” sort of day.
A day when all you see receiving for your efforts is grief and pain.
A metaphor, you say? Why, yes, I have the perfect “fuck that” metaphor!
Mark and I were out driving the other day, and we passed orchard after orchard and field after field of beautifully tended fruit trees.
As we drove by yet another perfect expanse of plum trees, Mark said, “Wouldn’t it be cool to own an orchard? All those plum trees . . . they’re just so beautiful.”
I looked at him, “Babe, we are having a hard enough time just maintaining our yard. Why on earth would you dream of owning an orchard?”
“You’re right. We wouldn’t take care of it. I bet those trees are a lot of work.”
“Yes,” I agreed, “and how long do you think it would be before the locusts descended?”
Mark laughed, “No, it wouldn’t be locusts. The plum trees would fill with fruit, but we would have no idea how to go about harvesting the crop. The plums would fall to the ground and rot in huge sweet smelly piles.”
I can sooooo picture this in my mind. That is exactly what would happen.
He continues, “And the rotting fruit would attract massive swarms of yellow jackets. And the raging territorial wasps would chase our screaming hysterical family out of our home and through the fields and into a pond, where we would all have to dive into the water and breathe through straws that we fashion out of hollow reeds.”
I nod my head. We saw a program about killer bees where someone hid under water and breathed through a reed until the bees moved on. Or was he hiding from a serial killer? No matter, same concept . . . life-giving oxygen sipped through nature’s straw.
I try to imagine wasp-phobic Maj breathing through a straw to avoid the swarm, “How long do you suppose we would have to stay underwater, breathing through reeds? The girls are going to hate that.”
“Until the wasps finish eating all of the fruit and move along.”
I nod again, “OK, so a long time. Like months.”
Silence for a moment, but then I need to know, “What if the wasps crawl down the straws?”
“That would be bad.”
“So we shouldn’t buy an orchard.”
“No, probably not.”
See? Fuck that.
Back to me, feeling fuck that-ish.
Nothing accompanies a fuck-that sort of day more harmoniously than the sound of vomiting.
And that’s what I hear from upstairs . . . the unmistakable sound of the large well-behaved dog retching and barfing. She and the smaller dog keep eating the leaves of the strawberry plants the last tenant planted in the back yard. The leaves keep making the big dog barf, but she keeps eating the leaves. She is a stupid stupid dog.
So she is barfing.
And then the badly behaved little dog will eat the barf. And then he will barf.
And then they will both go out in the back yard and eat some more strawberry leaves.
I do not know why we have agreed to continue living with these two fur-covered idiots.
Pet ownership? Fuck that.
Another reason Mark and I should not be farmers. Stupid crop-eating, barf-eating, vomiting, idiot dogs.
I remember from times past that I am supposed to cook the dogs some rice to calm their stomachs.
I do have some puffed rice they could have, though.
I will keep you posted on developments. I see larvae barf in my future.
It’s that sort of day.