Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Leaving no food unpicked...

For about as long as I can remember, I've been labeled a picker. Food, in my mind, is never the sum of its parts. It is these aforementioned parts, rather, that interest me.

Sandwiches are a spattering of cheese and lunchmeat, the innards of which I eat while tossing the gooey bread in the trash can. Boxes of yuletide chocolate-covered macadamia nuts transform into a tray of broken chocolate shells, the nut having been excavated with my expert fingers and popped into my eager mouth.

My hand is red on Thanksgiving morning from the slaps my mother bequeaths it as I reach for water chestnuts simmering in their hot sauté of melted butter.

Restaurants are a danger zone of their own, the menu transforming before my eyes into a mere list of ingredients of which I can create my customized meal.

"Yes, the steak salad, except maybe not steak. Have you any sea-fish? Ah, yes, just take the halibut from that entrée and instead of iceberg let's go with spinach. I'd like it without the onions, but add some avocado and balsamic vinegar on the side, please. Oh, and no croutons; perhaps just sprinkle some feta on top."

After my customized meal arrives, it is not enough to satiate my appetite. My date's meal is automatic free game, roaming the table in anticipation of being picked at. Upon my first bite, I usually receive a quizzical look and something to the effect of,

"Umm, did you want some?"

"Heavens no. But maybe I can just have the crab on top of your sushi?"

Piles of discarded calamari breading litter my side of the table along with lonely corn chips after I have sipped the salsa bowl dry as though it were soup.

Yes, my eating habits are irreparably disordered.

Today, as I lunched at the Costco food court, I approached the counter and asked for the usual:

"A slice of combo and a soda, thanks."

The woman with the neat hairnet and disgruntled expression smirked just enough to let me know she was onto me. She took my money, gave me my food, and then, as if struck by inspiration, placed a handful of napkins and a fork in front of me.

After countless lunches at the Costco on 5300 South, I had yet to suspect that my usual habit of picking off toppings with my fingers and discarding the marinara-soaked bread had been noticed. And yet here was this women, handing me utensils and nodding encouragingly, as if to say, "Go ahead, sweetheart. Try your hand at civilization."

Now, I adore Costco. It's like a little piece of heaven packaged in concrete and complete with snacks. But it's not exactly tea at Bergdorf's now, is it? Upon the receipt of this blatant scorn, I pulled out the only weapon left to my disposal:

"Thank you, Ma'am. May I have that to go?"

I've grown accustomed to my family, close friends, even the occasional date giving me a sardonic stare and saying, "Hey, psycho. Just eat your food," but to be callously judged by the very wholesale warehouse to which I had pledged my undying devotion? Well, I can't lie. It stung a bit.

And so I sat in my car, each globby, breadless hunk of melted cheese a reminder of my prior rebuke, questioning the very essence of my habitual picking.

And in one final act of embittered rebellion, I tossed my crusts out the window.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Long and SHORT of it

Glossy photos on classic Vogues and visions of Audrey Hepburn and Edie Sedgwick have been dancing through my head for a good four months.

There's something to be said for the woman who can rock a short hair cut and keep all her elegance and panache completely in tact.

I once thought that I could join these ranks.

So, I made the appointment, knowing that my hairdresser would be booked out a good two months and I'd have adequate time to prepare myself.

Audrey, Edie, I tried. Oh, I tried.

This, it turns out, was the end result:

Upon severing all ties with a good six inches of hair, I spent the next 48 hours in intermittent tears after deciding I strongly resembled a boy. I considered purchasing large, flashy earrings by the gross or emblazening my t-shirts with the words, "XX Chromosomal Makeup."

In the end, my friends had much, much better things to say. The following are a few of my favs:
  • "Didn't I see you on the Breakfast Club?"
  • "I'm sorry. You were just a LOT prettier yesterday."
  • "Little boy, have you seen Kristen?"
  • "Having short hair will show you which boys really like you for who you are."
  • "No really, you could be on ANY 80's teen movie."
  • "We're really hoping you'll beat the luekemia."
  • "You're just self-conscious because guys tend to go for really feminine girls."
  • "Oh. I thought you meant HOT short like Victoria Beckam?"

Audrey, Edie, throw me a few words of encouragement.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007



An old adage advises that no good deed goes unpunished.

Well, I hold the firm belief that the above statement is categorically true, and therefore strive to avoid good deeds whenever humanly possible.

Through elementary school my family was forced to stuff themselves with the pizzas I wouldn’t sell and the chocolate I refused to peddle to unsuspecting neighbors. Dreams of first-place awards and shiny new bicycles couldn’t budge me from my impassioned anti-fundraiser stance.

At 12 I spent two hours volunteering at the Pasco Humane Society, finally leaving in tears, smelling like cat urine and vowing never to return to the shack of hopeless canines.

Once I helped my elder sister on a particularly grueling babysitting charge, only to break the front tree swing and run home before the residents cast their blame on me.

High School brought with it afternoons of Special Olympics, the warm feeling of selfless volunteering not enough to make up for the shame of having a lower bowling score than the average special Olympian.

Denying every instinct that coursed through my body, and hoping to experience this “warm feeling” I had heard spoken of so often, last night I agreed to collect cans for a local food bank.

I shivered the entire time.

I was never cut out for door-to-door solicitations nor do-gooding in general. After five houses my partners’ bags were laden with aluminum goodness, while mine sat folded in my hand.

Ignoring warnings of my own social awkwardness, a co-gooder pushed me toward the front door of the next house.

I was immediately caught off guard when the man, who had been peacefully watching TV just moments before, gave me an expectant, annoyed and silent stare.

“Um, cans,” I blurted out, holding my empty paper bag open for him to see. “There’s this food drive. We want cans. Have you any?”

“No,” he said, a tad more matter-of-factly than I thought was socially acceptable when solicited to help the poor.

“None?” I asked, uncommonly eager to match the filling bags around me.


I glumly left the doorstep, wondering if the poor man might benefit from some of the food we had already collected.

Four houses later and my turn was again up. With a perpetually-empty bag and the resolve to feed the starving, I tried again.

“We want cans, for hungry people. Do you like being hungry?”

The approach worked, and I had my first – and last – success of the night.

Tart cherries, canned salmon and sugar substitute filled the bag I held smugly as I shivered in the October evening.

Visions of sugar-free cherry pies and golden brown salmon cakes whisked through my mind as I trotted across the street to the perspective goldmine of top ramen, canned pumpkin and pork ‘n beans in the houses to follow.

My deed was immediately punished.

The headlights of the oncoming traffic shocked me just as I heard my paper bag tear, the contents of which rolled swiftly to various locations of 17th East.

The line of four cars waiting patiently while I scrambled across the street, gathering cans and boxes, all the while keeping the thoughts of disappointed starving people at bay in my mind.

The glowing sense of being selfless? Perhaps I’ll warm up to it.

For now, this is one can I’d like to kick.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

.... and this was our twenties

In a blatant, methodical plan to ensure I survived the wreckage and delusion that is turning 25, my dear friends threw a party in my honor.

It was perhaps the first thing in my life I have ever done on-- er, in-- my honor.

It was elegant. It oozed with charm. It was the talk of Provo for days -- or at least the south side (most south-side conversations are restricted to that of methamphetamines.).

Behold, dear readers, the decadence which was my coming-of-age.

(Hail to Bethany Malouf and Rachelle Anderson for their creative genius)

The menu, which tasted even better than it looked

The Birthday Girl: all smiles, clearly sedated

Deeply honored guests

Somewhat honored guests

People who attended

The brilliant hostess herself, with the honored

Beauty in the details

The foreboding Chef

I suppose I'll stick around for 26.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Unrequited Love, i.e. Attack of the Killer Snow Globe

There are times in life when your love for something is not enough to solicit its love in return. This became blatantly clear yesterday with this, my fondest of snow globes:

A lovely black wooden base, the picturesque Norman Rockwell scene animated so delicately within the pristine glass. Not an air bubble in sight. If innocence were definable in a globular sense, I’d imagine this would be the poster child.

That is, until its true colors displayed like 4th of July fireworks in the wee hours of October 7th.

The aforementioned snow globe waited until the house was quiet and its tenants asleep before making its unsolicited attack. Deeply angered from its two-month stay in storage, I underestimated its potential danger as I retrieved the globe from its box and set it on the top shelf of my new bookcase.

Bending down to stuff my large collection of handbags on the bottom shelf, I began organizing the contents of the fixture. In one (gentle) wobble, a framed picture on the top shelf slipped, the inertia of which launched the globe off the shelf and into my unsuspecting skull.

In a display of shattered glass, holiday glitter, sticky snow and some strange smelling liquid, I stood in shock, the pulsing pain on the back of my head the only sensation letting me know that the killer snow globe had not succeeded in its crazed mission.

The crash alerted my roommate, who stumbled into my bedroom in a wild dash.

“Are you okay?”

“Ummm… I don’t know,” I sniffled, my tears due partly to my throbbing concussion and partly to the blatant betrayal of the object I had loved so freely.

Picking glass from my hair and ignoring her own blood-induced nausea, my roommate tried to free me of any shrapnel left from the attack.

Twenty-four hours and two hairwashes later, I was still picking snow from my head. While snow in hair sounds wildly romantic, I have the sneaking suspicion that the sticky, synthetic variety doesn’t exactly count.

Goodbye, dear Snow Globe.