It’s less time consuming and cheaper than therapy, so I’ve decided to try some life writing from a when-life-is-like-a-story angle. I’ll see how it goes.
Today’s story concerns breakfast and a burnt frying pan.
It might help if you picture a small kitchen neighboring a bedroom. In the bedroom sits my person. I call her my person because it seems like a nice thing to do to be vague. From now on, though, she’s my “foil.”Anyway, my person, or foil, is wearing a red robe, pinched tight over her thin self as she hunches over her breakfast tray. She never gains weight no matter what she eats. This is beside the point, but I thought I’d mention it.
My foil and I have a history: I say something, and she misunderstands. It’s been a long life.
So, I’m rummaging through the kitchen cabinets making the kitchen noise that alerts everyone in the house that I’m about to fry an egg. I don’t feel well this morning, and I’m trying to avoid too much movement that might set my stomach to more queasiness. But, I end up doing a short portion of an aerobic routine as I bend down and reach way into the lower cabinets several times and always come up with nothing. Where’s the stupid pan? I think.
This is the classic moment that epitomizes my relationship with my foil.
“Where’s the pan?” I call into the bedroom after a period of noisy kitchen-rummaging?
“What pan?” My foil calls back. The sifting pan we brought back after our gold-digging adventures in 1848, I answer silently through my pursed lips.
I don’t answer. There’s no energy. After years of conversations that include some exchange like this, (picture my foil and me in a car):
“So, what did you do then?”
“After that happened?”
“After what happened?”
“The thing we’ve been talking about for five minutes.”
“Oh. I thought we were finished talking about that.”
“Why’d you think that?”
“Well, we passed by that gas station and you said, ‘Boy, gas is expensive now.’ And, I thought, we’d started a new conversation.”
…well, I just don’t have the reserves necessary to specify what I mean by ‘pan.’
And, you know, the thing is that when I’m looking at the proverbial forest, she’s staring at the trees, and vice versa. I’m inclined toward emotions, moods, the big picture, and she’s inclined toward semantics and particulars. Combine my foil and me and we’d have the whole package.
But, as it is, she drives me crazy.
For me, “Where’s the pan?” is pretty straightforward. For her, it could mean “Where’s the pan with the teflon coating?” Or, it could mean, “Where’s the red pan?” It could mean, “Where’s the pan we made yesterday’s Italian sausages in?” It could even mean, “Pan? I thought you said ‘pants.'”
And, it can just be too much. Really, really. Really too much.
So, I said nothing, picked up an old aluminum pan, burnt the oil (but not the eggs or I’d be really annoyed). And, now someone will have to wash the big brown spots away.
It will not be me.