People for Less Unrest in Marriage, or PLUM as I like to call it –- a wholly imaginary but incredibly well-organized think tank for which I sometimes find myself a not-so-well organized spokesperson -- would like to share the following true-life event as a public service:
“Are you going to eat that?”
“That” being whatever was in my hand, already making its way toward my mouth.
You might think I was eating the last chocolate chip cookie that would ever be baked in the entire world. Ever. Again.
But that's not even close.
“I wouldn't eat that if you made me. Not even if you twisted my arm.”
My husband stands before me with a curled lip and stink-eyed expression, sneering openly as I am about to eat yet another tasteless hunk of fiber board, which must have fallen from a store shelf and into my shopping cart as I was weaving recklessly through the Earthy-Crunchy section of the supermarket like the lunatic, female shopping cart driver that I am.
Why else, his expression taunted, would this almost inedible food product be in our house?
It's the kind of look that always makes me want to hurl something – preferably something pungent, overripe and difficult to clean out of facial hair -- in his direction.
Coming from his mouth “Are you going to eat that” is not a question so much as an indictment. A statement of disbelief. An affirmation of what must be my dubious sanity. A declaration of our differences.
The man just can't wrap his mind around the fact that I might actually enjoy some tasteless piece of “bark,” slathered with only a thin layer of “compost.”
Foodie I am not. To me, sustenance is simply fuel to keep the moving parts running.
Nor am I a chef. It's an affront to some, the way people like me trample on the complexity of delicate tastes and textures by drowning them in hot sauce or burning them to a crisp.
I refuse to be ashamed. I have just accepted the fact that there's not a lot of "ours" in the snack cabinet, there's just his, hers and theirs. And every once in a while lines are crossed, and samples are taken for research purposes.
It's not as if he hasn't foraged through the kitchen, looking for a late-night snack and – with only crumbs left in the plastic tray of chocolate sandwich cookies that he keeps stashed behind the dishware – helped himself to mine.
I don't mine. It's not as if I keep an accounting of each apple in the crisper drawer. In fact, I encourage sharing. (As per the job descriptions in the manuals of Motherhood and Kindergarten Teachers, subset 789).
Pilfering I can handle. It's the smugness I can do without, and the dramatic displays of distaste that punctuate his reaction to the first bite of anything not foisted upon him.
Can he really be so incensed by my reaction:
“Is it really necessary to roll your eyes and claw at your tongue as it lolls from your mouth like an unfurling carpet? That kind of response seems a bit excessive.”
After all, he was the one who insisted on snitching the high-fiber snack cracker smeared with mashed chickpeas and mustard dollops from my lunch plate. It's not as if I twisted his arm.