June 02, 2012

Cream cheese & calculus

At this stage of my life there are only a few things that make sense to me. Not a lot, but some. Beer. That makes sense. I like beer.

Never seeming to have a spare moment to focus on anything, or having ten letters in various stages of completion over the last 18 months but nothing to show for it... that doesn't make sense.

Whisky. That makes sense. I like whisky.

Two kids of varying ages in variable stages of drooling, fooling, fumbling, tumbling, grumbling, crying, schooling and racketeering......

Wine. I don’t like it. Can’t drink it. According to judogirl, wine makes sense.

A picnic... what the fluff's that all about???

Not to be all chauvinistic (never sure whether that's an actual word or a degree of constipation) but a picnic is something to be grouped with root canal treatment, Beverly Hills 90210, being eaten by a shark, and typhoid.

I think I’d prefer being eaten by a shark (and I DO apologise to anyone ever being eaten by a shark, but there is a strong possibility that I might choose that been given the choice). It’s not that I’m not romantic. I think it’s got more to do with the fact that I am more practical (to the 'n'th degree) than romantic............ OK, I’m not romantic.

I have a home. With a kitchen. And kitchen counters.

In this kitchen I have a fridge. I know it’s a fridge because it’s got a big white door and there are fridge magnets stuck on it - a dead giveaway. Inside the big white door it’s fricken' freezing and there are two bottles of beer in there. I like beer. Have I mentioned that before? Dunno, but there they are.

There's lettuce in there too. And cheese. Even some humus - jalapeno humus. Baby plumb tomatoes, because judogirl likes little red ball thingy tomatoes. Milk. Not 2%, which I like, but full cream, because the nanny likes that. There are eggs. They’re small, but apparently the whites don’t "run" like the jumbos. The Humpty Dumpty Jumbos. Which I like. There’s bottled water - with bubbles. It tastes like strawberries. Very nice.

It’s all there - in the fridge. In the kitchen. The kitchen with the counters. In my house. With chairs. And plates. Cups and mugs. And glasses. Cutlery. A wide screen TV. At least two tables and three toilets...

I think you can see where I’m going with this.

Look, I’m as ready for a picnic as the next guy. It’s fun. It’s quirky. It’s romantic. But where's the sense in lugging it outside?

I put this to you because judogirl recently convinced me that I wanted to go on a picnic...

Allow me a moment - a literary pause, for the sake of any newcomers to my little world: judogirl is not called judogirl for nothing. She's 5'6", lean, mean, and can open pickle jars all by herself (she only lets me do it so I don’t have to lie about it to my friends). There's also a little Thompson gazelle thingy sowed to the front of her judo suit... In short, we don't argue.

Once convinced, my very practical mind quickly did the calculus: I’m gonna have to neatly pack up half my fridge – from where it is, securely installed in its custom made cupboard – into 40 little Tupperware… tuppers (?), and drag it off to a place nestled in a "meadow", somewhere. Far far away. With ants.

And I say calculus, because just like calculus, this doesn’t make any sense.

You see, math goes something like this:
2 slices of bread + 1 chicken breast + 1/4 lettuce + 1 beer = picnic on couch.

Calculus postulates that, assuming a chicken even exists (with one (1) being equal to zero (0) as a function of zero (0) equalling seven (5)*) a breast could theoretically be considered a fraction of the inverse of a non-picnic, assuming fair weather.
(You get that, or did you, like me, get lost at the mention of breasts? To this day it remains an absolute mystery how I EVER passed calculus.)

* yes, seven (5) - that's the beauty of calculus...

I digress.

This is a picnic. So, I’m not making one sandwich that I can eat. Nooo, I have to make a bunch of sandwiches and not eat any of them. Then I have to make a batch of chicken wings... And not eat any of them. Boil some eggs, make a potato salad, meatballs, and some chili chutney... no eating. I have to slice an onion, peal a tomato, grate some cheese, wash some lettuce, bake a bread, bottle a few olives, juice some oranges, and some grapes, an apple or two. Add a quiche (can you imagine I could even spell that?), apple pie, 4 yoghurts and a banana bread. Ostrich sausages, corn on the cob, a portion of Wednesday night's lasagna, a box of crackers, and that bag of Ceres dried prunes...

Ooh, ooh, don’t forget the Stilton..... the Brie with cranberries... and a wedge of Melrose. Are we taking the avocado? Of course we are - it’s a picnic after all. What would a picnic be without a green avo? And a pot of salt, a pepper grinder, some Nando’s spice and an industrial size bag of Aromat. Some tumeric? Chuck it in, it's a picnic!!

A bottle of that bubbly strawberry water, iced tea, a flask of coffee, and a bottle of wine. White. And because it might just rain, please throw in a bottle of red... Rain? Calculus.

Now, you might've gotten carried away just there, but remember that I had to make all these things in my kitchen. The one with the counters. With butter I took from my fridge. I probably walked half a kilometer getting it all ready and packed, when my couch was a mere 5 steps away.

And just as I think we're ready to go, I have to remember the blanket. Maybe a pillow or two. What about that fancy picnic basket we bought... for one day... should we ever feel the need to have a picnic... the one I said was a waste of money... but ended up buying anyway because if I didn’t you were going to cry, because you were pregnant... The one with half a battalion’s crockery and cutlery in it? Yip, the one with the romantic red and white pseudo-Italian peasant motive…

Of course it has to go.

I have gone to the bushveld for a two week break and had enough space left in the car to pack a fish tank. I pack a picnic and I have to leave my shoes, wallet and personality at home just so I can cram the doors shut.

This is going to be such fun...  (unfortunately your screen has no way of communicating the exact weight of my feeling in this regard. Somehow, the raw essence of sarcasm is just not that effective when portrayed by Italics alone).

After the initial half day spent preparing the blasted event (probably more time than I spent on my wedding), by now ravenous with hunger, we drive for an hour, which is fine because I like driving. What makes it tough though is knowing that I’m dragging this entire feast with me… only to bring back more than half of it. So I can put it back in my fridge… the one with the door… and the magnets... where I got it in the first place…
Had I been left in peace, at home, I could’ve consumed my own personal picnic, in its entirety, while watching rugby (or golf - I’m not picky): one sandwich, maybe a chicken wing or two, a couple of mini meatballs, and a beer (sh*t, forgot the beer!). But I’m not. I’m driving, stewing, suffering (smiling for effect) - and this is the easy part of the journey.

Once there – which is somewhere nowhere in particular near a tree next to a road that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere – it’s not an "unpack and enjoy" affair. Oh no, where would the fun be in that? We have to lug the entire calabash through the veld, over a fence, through the raging torrents of the Great Magabuza (a stream, for those of you who didn’t know) - sun beating on my extended forehead, sweat streaming down my face, back straining under the weight of it all... Remember the hotel bellboy in that Woodie Allen movie, legs buckling under the weight of the honeymooners' Louis Vuitton? That's me dragging our picnic through the African savannah, flies zooming around my head, fynbos (heather to you Scots) exacerbating the hay fever that has my chest wheezing and my nose running.

Yeah heck, picnics are fun (sorry, forgot the Italics that time)!

Some of you have complained that my letters get longwinded, so I'm not going to bore you with the details. I'll bore the rest of you: We eventually get there, which is nowhere in particular and is (apparently) exactly the point…

The neatly packed and stacked Tupperware skyscrapers are unpacked and unstacked. A picnic is assembled, Master chef style, on pristine white batalion style picnic plates, complete with serviettes, silver service cutlery, wine glasses... on a red and white checkered cloth thingy. No beer.

Sandwiches here, chicken wings there, meatballs and potato salad side-by-side (something about the textures or something...), the cheese on this side, the baguette on that side (with the galon of free-range olive oil)... of course there's no eating. The spices (all of them) go in that corner, and the green avo with the cheese... oh don't be silly, we were never gonna eat that, it's too green... (?), and the Swedish salmon over there. You mean there where the ants have just carried away the watermelon? Yip, just there.

Ah, isn’t this romantic waynnesworld? Just like those pictures in the magazines... (so THAT's what this is all about?!! Mental note: ban magazines! Magazines baaad!!!).

Let's have our picnic... Can I get you some wine?

That would've been nice. After everything I’ve done, prepared, slaved over, sweated into, buckled under... gone through... a butter sandwich would’ve been nice. A slice of dry bread would’ve been nice. One or two bites from a shark would’ve been nice... even wine would’ve been nice...  red wine...

Red wine?

No, no, don't get ahead of yourself - I DID remember the red wine... in case of rain... remember? I packed it because judogirl said "pack it!" 

But she never said "pack the umbrella". Nobody EVER said ANYTHING about packing an umbrella...!!

The lightning strikes so close that I cream the cheese and curdle my custard! The strawberry water goes flat!

My arms and legs are going in all directions at once. I'm packing it in - everything! Apart from the watermelon, of course - that's heading for the hills on its thousand little legs! 

I'm out of here - back to my couch! There it's safe and things make sense... 

No comments:

Post a Comment