Friday, October 20, 2006

233. grocery and identity

My first trip to the grocery store to stock up on food stuffs was an interesting experience. Living at home with my parents for the past 34 years, I never really had to think about what I wanted to have in the pantry to eat - I just ate whatever was on hand whether it was something I wanted to eat or not. So walking through the grocery store trying to figure out what it was that I wanted to get was...was...

I'm not sure what the word is for how I was feeling. An example from a movie then. In the Julia Roberts, Richard Gere film, Runaway Bride, there's a scene where Julia's character is sitting in front of a table full of plates. Each plate has eggs on it but they all are prepared differently. One has eggs benedict, one has over easy, one has scrambled, etc.

Now I haven't seen the entire movie, but I do remember this scene from watching parts of it on cable, and the idea is that she's not really sure who she is. She doesn't even know how she likes her eggs because she's always had them the way her boyfriends/fiances had them. After her last wedding goes down in flames (again), we come to this scene with the plates and the eggs. In the scene, she's trying a bite from each plate to figure out which preparation she likes absent the opinion of any significant other.

Um...I just realized that this example has Oedipal overtones but all I mean to say is that my aimless walk through the grocery store was very much like Roberts at the table of eggs, only I wasn't just choosing between egg dishes - I had the whole store to choose from.

I think the only thing I went home with was a box of microwavable popcorn and a loaf of bread.

"Just bread?"

Well, in retrospect that was kind of a random choice but I thought (assumed) we had butter at home and that I could at least make toast. Turns out we didn't have anything to put on or between slices of bread so on my next trip out, I made sure to buy butter and cheese because I am the grilled cheese guru...which is another reason why shopping for groceries was an odd experience.

"Because you're the grilled cheese guru?"

No, because I don't cook.

"At all?"

Well, nothing fancy. I mean I can usually follow a recipe (yeah right) if one is put in front of me (just don't ask me to dice any onions or anything that requires finesse with a knife) but my cooking skills are usually limited to grilling spam or boiling up some rahmen (with egg), so you can see how a trip to the grocery store wouldn't exactly be an inspiring experience for me.

"That's pretty pathetic, dude."

There is one notable exception to my culinary ignorance. I can make cheesecake, and not just any cheesecake. I make a (from what I've been told) very good banana cheesecake.

"Sounds like there's a story behind this."

Well, yeah. But it's not a very good story.

"Aw, come on, don't be modest. Spill."

Okay, so there was this girl I liked and I found out she liked cheesecake and so I found a recipe and made her some.


And that's the end of the story.

"What about the girl?"

Well, let me put it this way. If she had liked me half as much as she liked the cheesecake things might have turned out better between us.

So ANYWAY, back to the reason I brought up the whole grocery shopping experience in the first place. I think that was the first in a long list of experiences that will help me figure out who I am. I mean, I really do feel like I have the opportunity to recreate myself up here...but I think "recreate" is the wrong word. It might be more accurate to say that I have the opportunity to discover who I am, but that's not it either. Maybe the best way to put it is that I can become the person I'm supposed to be.

"Yeah, and while you're at it, learn how to cook."

Hey, one thing at a time.

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