Tip-Toe Cooking, Cracker Barrel Grandma and Other Things That Leave You Standing There Blinking


Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid. 
~  Heinrich Heine 

Tip-Toe Cooking

So, I was standing in the kitchen, stirring my scrambled eggs, when I realized that my left foot was cocked at an angle, on tip-toe. Odd, I thought, flattening my food against the floor.  Two seconds later, tip-toe. The hell? And then it struck me.  I have ALWAYS cooked on one foot.  Looking back, I can see me standing in front of countless stoves in myriad places, always with that left foot cocked.

So the toe thing may sound silly, mostly because it is, but how many other things are there that are so deeply ingrained in us that we fail to see them, even when they would be blatantly obvious to a total stranger?  How often to we let that stranger’s view of us cloud the way we see ourselves?

Here are some things I know about myself:

  • I’m smart.
  • I’m funny.
  • I have ridiculously low self-esteem.
  • I am shy around people I admire.
  • I write well but only in certain genres.
  • I would take a bullet for someone I loved.
  • I have a good eye for photography but I suck at portraits.
  • I second guess myself on virtually everything.
  • I want to eat better but have no idea how.
  • I love to learn.  Anything, anytime, anywhere.
  • Loyalty is a must-have characteristic.
  • On a regular basis I find something that scares the hell out of me and make myself do it.  G. Gordon Liddy inspired that one.  Don’t ask how.  It’s not pretty.
  • There is one person’s forgiveness that I desparately crave and do not deserve.  The pain I caused stabs at me every single day.
  • I love coffee with an abnormal veamonth.
  • My iPod has Billie Holiday, Hannah Montana, Sir Mix Alot and The Beach Boys all on heavy rotation.
  • I collect dialogue like others collect stamps.
  • You can have my book when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.
  • I love corny jokes and hate tear jerker movies.
  • I am constantly looking for myself in all the wrong places.

Finding Grandma At Cracker Barrel

I recently took a road trip to the Ruins of Windsor.  I was feeling the creative muse tap-tap-tapping on my mind’s window so off  I went.  After a fabulous day of wandering (my favorite kind) I decided to swing by the Cracker Barrel in Vicksburg and grab a quick bite. 

I sit down at my little two-top, glance up and damn near spill my coffee. (Side note – on the drive to work Friday there were not one but two idiots, weaving all over the road in front of me.  Probably texting each other. No matter. My first thought was, “They are going to crash and make me spill my coffee.” Yes, I have a problem. No, I do not want help. Thank you. )  There on the wall was a picture of my late grandmother.  Of course, it wasn’t really her but the resemblance was striking.

I immediately whipped out the old iPhone and started snapping pictures.  The server came with the coffee pot and it took me a good five seconds to notice, I was that distracted.  I had also drawn the attention of my fellow diners having shot up, shouted No way! and commenced above mentioned picture taking.   At which point I gathered my wits, explained to the waitress, for the benefit of the other diners, that my grandmother was on her wall and I was quite surprised to find her there.   To which the server smiled indulgently, nodded her head and scurried back to the relative safety of the kitchen.

Stuff That Leaves You Standing There Blinking…

Something I left off of the list above; I’m a tad opinionated.  I left it off because it didn’t occur to me to include it, much as it I left out I breathe, for pretty much the same reason.  However, I value the opinions of others, even if they are directly in conflict with mine.  I truly want to know why someone thinks and feels the way they do.   I do believe there are two sides to every story and many is the time I thought, Well, if I were them, I would feel the same way. 

For example, I understand why rich, white, Christian, males tend to vote Republican.  If I were at the top of the food chain I probably wouldn’t give the prey an elephant gun either.  Of course, being that I am neither rich nor male, (and female mitigates the white to a certain degree), I have a different perspective on the world.

That being said, there are still times when I stumble across something that just makes me scream, OHMYEFFINGGAWD! They did NOT just say that! Most of the time I, and my friends, am pretty quick with the snappy comeback.  But sometimes something hits you so quick, so hard and is so stunningly ignorant that all you can do is stand there and blink. 

For example the following was posted in the middle of a 37 post rant about immigration on Facebook:

“Yeah, women still make 30 cents on the dollar LESS than men here in corporate America (less than that for women of color), so duh…get OUT of corporate.”

Okay, so that’s bad. What made it exponential worse that it was posted by a woman.  A successful, educated, business woman.  What the hell? (click – annnnddddd  UNFRIEND). Henry Kissinger once said, “Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There’s too much fraternizing with the enemy.” The tragic truth is that all too often the enemy? Is one of our own.

And then there is the Chamber guy.  This guy is legend amongst the coffee klatch.  My friend, The Hot Chick, was working her little heart out at her coffee house when in wanders a perfectly normal looking fellow.  He mentions he is new in town and is looking for some breakfast, whereupon she presents him with a freshly baked muffin or somesuch and says, “See, now aren’t you glad you stopped in? Much better than McDonald’s, right?” to which he replies, (I swear on my library card I am not making this up), “Oh, I don’t go to McDonald’s.  They openly support gays, lesbians, and the Chamber of Commerce.”  Esqueeze me? Hot Chick, who is also, amazingly, Smart Chick and Witty Chick in addition to being Hot Chick, was actually rendered speechless.   To this day we still can’t figure out what the hell he was talking about.

 Glen Beck, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh. ‘Nuff said.

Other unforgettable (no matter how hard I try) snippets:

  • An anti-immigration rally where one protester held a hand painted sign reading, “No way, Hose ! [sic]”
  • Hey, can I tie you up and bring over my brother?
  • I would never hire someone named Shaniqua.
  • I just got off the phone with a beaner and the whole damn burrito was on the call.
  • I’m all for women’s lib and all that but I still don’t think they should vote.
  • Ohmygod! Are you one of those Obama-lovers?
  • Exactly how big IS your ass?
  • Me, on being asked out by a man with a young, pregnant, girlfriend: Wait, aren’t you dating  ______?, Him: No, why would you think that? Me: Ummm…cuz she’s having your baby? Him: Oh, I f*cked her, but I never dated her.
  • Wow, you make that much? That’s what we pay me around here.
  • And, of course, no list of WFTs would be complete without an entry from The Funeral Groper aka RL, (handing the new widower a free pass to a strip club AT  HIS WIFE’S FUNERAL!); “You may not want it now, but sooner or later you are gonna need to get laid.”

You’ll have to excuse me now.  I have to go bang my head against a wall.

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~ by D.L. Graves on August 1, 2010.

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