12 March 2012

Impossible Things Before Breakfast

My college reunion is later this year. For the "record book", we were asked for a 500 word essay. I thought I'd share mine with you.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

All of these things are true:

Cauliflower drizzled with olive oil and roasted in a hot oven until crispy around the edges is a wonderful thing to eat.

My boss once called me a horrible Mensa bitch. I told him I was going to put it on my business cards.

I still read the newspaper, the printed inky broadsheet newspaper. Sometimes I even rip things out of it, like recipes which I will never make, or typos that make me cringe.

My eight year old falls asleep best when snuggled up close to me. Consequently, I tend to go to bed earlier than I might otherwise, but I get a lot of reading done.

I love belonging to a CSA. Having no choice in the produce we get each week is curiously freeing; we're forced to cook and eat things we'd probably never buy otherwise. I still hate butternut squash, but I can now make a great dinner out of eggplant or sweet potatoes.

As much as I sometimes wish I were the stay at home parent, I love my full-time job, and we're oddly lucky that a perverse circumstance has led to my husband being home to take care of our daughter. He makes her lunch, puts her on the bus, drives her to swimming, and manages her social calendar. I come home and drill her on the times tables.

My cats hate me, probably because I'm not home as often as the other two humans in the household. I'm trying to seduce them with a private stash of freeze dried tuna flakes.

Buying jeans is a thankless proposition, akin to shopping for bras and bathing suits.

There is a difference between believing something to be impossible, and believing in impossible things. The latter is preferable.

If you give me the choice of a lemon dessert or a chocolate one, I will take lemon.

My daughter thinks I am the most annoying mother in the world. She also thinks I'm the best mother she's ever had - but is clever enough to point out that I'm the only mother she's ever had.

I've never had a manicure. I think I'll keep it that way.

I can't imagine what it's going to cost in 2021 when my kid is ready for college.

One gift of a liberal arts education is "the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function" (F. Scott Fitzgerald).

The summer before I went to college, my mother and I made a quilt for me to use on my dorm bed. It's now on my daughter's bed, fraying a bit, needing repairs from time to time. I keep fixing it though, because it's our quilt, and my mother's too, and it wraps us in memory and thrift.

On the far side of fifty, I revel in idiosyncrasy.


Heide Estes said...

This is a great post, and "horrible Mensa bitch" might be my favorite line.

Janet said...

try sprinkling some chopped garlic and squeezing a lemon on the cauliflower along with the olive oil...OMG!

Lollipop Goldstein said...

Can I reduce Horrible Mensa Bitch to HMB and call you that from now on? :-)

Absolutely love this. Bet it's the best essay in there.

Kyla said...

I really loved reading this.

allison said...

I know I should just live with the uncertainty but... was your boss joking or not at all?

I'd take the lemon over chocolate also. And I love being the stay-at-home parent even though it makes me painfully traditional.

I just read a post where the blogger said she couldn't do a post of random things and I though "really?"

S said...

perfection. seriously.

alejna said...

This is a wonderful list to remind me how much I like you! (Not that I need reminding.)

Hugh Manaty said...

My daughter completely ricochets back and forth between cuddly adoration and sheer rage and annoyance. It's very funny. Yes, she does say I'm the best mother she's ever had. The only way I can get this is if I try never to drill her on anything. NO DRILLING. She doesn't even permit drilling on times tables. Yet, at least.

mayberry said...

I love it - especially the line about memory and thrift, and how the final sentence pulls the whole of it together.

nonlineargirl said...

hmm, anti-squash, huh? And I thought I knew you.

julochka said...

I'm a lemon person too. and I bet this is the best profile they get. it's pretty much a perfect example of the shifting of the paradigm (that our primary identity comes from what we do) that I've been thinking about for awhile now. well done!

shrink on the couch said...

When I read 500 word essay I sighed, thinking, oh no. I don't want to read this.

But then? I couldn't stop reading. I love your style.

Carol Steel said...

This wonderful, creative and fun, truthful and tongue-in-cheek...a delight. Way more fun than what they'll receive from most people at the reunion, I'll bet.

Gina said...

I'm with you on the lemon vs. chocolate thing. Except for once or twice a year when I would kill someone for chocolate. And then 2 bites in, I realize I'd rather have the fruit.

And roasted cauliflower is one of the most delicious things ever. My family does not see eye to eye with me on this, though.

painted maypole said...

gee, just think, now you might be called a horrible Mensa slut. Smart women are never to be tolerated, eh?

Love this essay. A wonderful glimpse into you, without being the whole "after graduation I did XX for a while, then I met my fabulous husband, and we live XXX and have XXX children and...."

Mental P Mama said...

Oh, oh, oh. Love this. Put a copy in M's memory box;)

Jennifer Denise Ouellette said...

And that's why you're a writer.

leanne said...

Love what you did with this essay. So very creative. So many wonderful details. My favorite parts: believing in impossible things and the quilt.

Angela said...

Clearly I am grateful that my 25th MIT reunion this year does not require an essay. But I am woefully unable to hold two opposing ideas without my logical head exploding. Thankfully I can count a fellow horrible Mensa bitch to help me through this. Shall we make a HMB club?

Patois42 said...

I will forever now think of you as HMB.

Your closing line speaks loudest to me.

Jocelyn said...

I'm so taken by this, I'm not even going to run a word count on it. Go ahead with your crazy 501 words!

Everyone who reads the reunion booklet will wish he/she had known you better back when. You can show up, connect with them, and make them wish they lived next door to you now.