Thursday, August 01, 2013

Food Ennui

Getting to my target word count yesterday was a struggle because it took me a couple of hours to get the scene set enough in my mind to write it. It was one of those pivotal scenes that was big enough I was sure it would all come together when it happened, only I got there and knew the stuff that needed to happen, but I had no idea how it would actually happen. But once I did figure it out, it came together pretty quickly, even if I did have to spend the whole evening writing after spending the afternoon brainstorming/procrastinating.

Probably because of the thinking/writing issue, I seem to have hit bottom with the food ennui. Yesterday's lunch: tuna on Ritz crackers with a bowl of grapes on the side. Yesterday's dinner: peanut butter on graham crackers with a bowl of cherries on the side. The one time I can think of when it was worse was when I had a day job, got home from work, didn't feel like cooking and ended up eating raw broccoli (I needed nutrients) and saltine crackers while sitting on the kitchen floor.

Some of it had to do with lack of supplies. Yeah, I went to the grocery store twice last week, but most of that was replenishing staples. My grocery store gives you points for purchases, and if you get to a certain level in a month, you get 10 cents a gallon off on gas the next month. As I neared the end of the month, I was very close, and I have a road trip coming up, so I figured I might as well do a pantry stock of non-perishables (canned goods, pasta, spices, flavorings) and semi-perishables that last a long time, especially if they haven't been opened (crackers, cereal). Then there were the cherries, which were on sale (one thing I love about summer -- fresh cherries are nothing like anything allegedly "cherry-flavored"). And then after all that effort I did the math and realized that if I coast into the gas station on fumes and completely fill the tank, I've saved a whopping $1.50, maybe. But I didn't buy anything I didn't need, so I guess I'm a little ahead. Yay.

That meant I had a lot of ingredients, but was missing crucial elements needed to turn those ingredients into food. My fresh produce inventory consisted of the cherries, a few strawberries, an onion, a few limp carrots, a zucchini and some celery that may or may not be plotting revolution. In the basket on my counter I found a sweet potato I'd forgotten about that had not only sprouted, but had grown vines and leaves, only since it hasn't had much light, the vines and leaves have this weird translucent pink-tinged pallor. It looks like something they'd have had to contend with in herbology class at Hogwarts. I think I'm going to keep it, name it and see if it develops sentience.

So I think the sweet potato has to be removed from the inventory, as I'm not sure it still qualifies as a sweet potato and may possibly have evolved into a different life form. I could have made one of my favorite pasta dishes with the onion, zucchini and carrot, but that would have required chopping and cooking. I even had frozen entrees, just for this sort of occasion, but I didn't want them, either. I didn't even heat up the last bit of peach cobbler, so it seems I really didn't want food. Fortunately, I now have meals planned for the next few days, made easier by going out for at least one meal. Then I'll be visiting my parents, and then it will be my birthday, for more going out, so I'll barely have to cook for a while.

Tonight I suspect I'll need comfort food. I have to sing for a funeral this afternoon, and it will be a tough one. I didn't know the deceased, but he's the dad of two of my kids -- not the kindergarteners, but my youth helpers. The oldest daughter in the family was my helper the first two years I did choir, and then the middle boy was the pre-school helper last year, but since we often combined or switched classes, I worked with him a lot. Losing a parent at any age is tough, but they're still young enough to need him and old enough to know what they've lost. I don't even know how to talk to a kid in that situation, and so I sing. I had one of those "you know you're an adult when" moments when thinking that with one parent gone and one parent probably having difficulty coping, herself (this was a very sudden and unexpected death), the other adults in these kids' lives will need to step in to pick up the slack, and then I realized that includes me.

Sometimes I feel a little guilty that the work I do with kids is in this fairly isolated, privileged community rather than in some place where the help is really needed. But I am a little isolated and I hate driving, and kids everywhere need help. The teen death rate in this town is proof that privilege doesn't make anyone immune to problems (mostly accidents, but a fair number of suicides and drug overdoses, and one killed by her mother in a murder/suicide when the family finances hit bottom and the mother couldn't keep up the facade). Not everyone in the privileged community is actually privileged, and I know from experience how tough it is to be the non-rich kid in a snooty community. And, the way society works, the privileged kids are the ones who tend to end up in power positions, so anything that can be done to keep them from turning out to be jerks will end up benefiting society as a whole. Just exposing them to different perspectives and providing an alternative to peer pressure (my job and semi-fame put me into a different category from other "grown ups" so sometimes they'll listen to me instead of rolling their eyes) may help. Things like this current situation remind me of the role any adult could (and maybe should) play in their own community.

Now to go do some chopping and slicing so I won't have to deal with it when I get home this evening and I can have real food for dinner.

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