Hi, my name is Amazing Cheastypants. I am, of course, wildly glamorous, utterly gorgeous, and effortlessly sophisticated, but I also have a few other defining characteristics that my mother (oh, hell, who am I kidding) that the whole freaking world likes to "bring to my attention." And by "bring to my attention" what I mean to say is, "mock without mercy." These are, in no particular order:
1. An almost dangerous obsession with saving money by turning things off.
2. An inexplicable inattention to the world around me.
3. A terrifying faith in the magical powers of refrigeration.
This week, in what one might call "the perfect storm of character flaws," I got to explore each one of the aforementioned failings in intimate detail. Why? Well I counsel you with patience, my poppets. Patience.
Let's take them one by one, shall we?
Number One. I am my father's daughter. There isn't a lightbulb in my house that I don't want to switch off, a ceiling fan I don't think about stopping in its spin, an air conditioning unit whose very existence doesn't make my skin break out in hives. In my more self-delusional moments I like to think that this obsession is because I'm a model global citizen, striving with every heartbeat of my life to leave the world a cleaner, more efficient place. This, I ought to point out, is not true. Oh, I recycle, and ride my bike, and in my daydreams I even compost. But really, truly, I do this because I am cheap. As my beloved and eminently quotable Grandfather would say, when it comes to squeezing a nickel, I'm "tighter than a bull's ass at fly time."
Number Two. I am oblivious. Want to know one of my mother's favorite parlor games? It's that perennial favorite, a real gut-buster, called "Hey, quick, Cheasty. Tell me what color the walls in the dining room are." Or sometimes, "Hey, quick, Cheasty, what does the painting that hangs over the fireplace look like?" My standard responses to these questions are, "I don't know," and "There's a painting hanging over the fireplace?"
I don't notice people, either. On campus the other day I almost ran over a friend of mine who was just walking too damn slow, and boy was I in a hurry. As I brushed past him, almost knocking him over (on accident, I swear!), I heard him say, "Cheasty? Everything OK?" "Oh, um, hi, there! Didn't see you, Bob!" "Really? That's odd, cause you almost WALKED ON TOP OF ME."
Number Three. This one really REALLY grosses my sister out. But I used to be a professional backpacker, and we'd be out in the field with butter and vegetables and cheese and bacon, all of which spent many many days in hot backpacks, baking under the sun, before it ever got close to eatin' time. And while I'll admit that the broccoli sometimes smelled a little off, for the most part, the food was just fine, dammit. So refrigeration, in my opinion, is a) largely unnecessary, and b) capable of prolonging the natural shelf life of any food product beyond my wildest imaginings. I know this is untrue, and probably gross. Go ahead and vomit, I can't help how my brain works.
And these characteristics of mine, for all the ribbing I endure, never really bother me. Because honestly, who am I hurting? Except Bob, of course, whom I sincerely apologize to for knocking him over. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I'll tell you who I'm hurting. Me.
Let me tell you about a little episode from yesterday that I'm calling "the mysterious case of tabouleh as the sun went down." It was evening, I was hungry. But I've been so busy lately that I haven't had time to go to the grocery store. Just as I'm debating the relative merits of eating takeout (ick) or starving to death (ouch), I remembered. I have hummus and tablouleh! Oh, joy, oh bliss! I'd had it for a little while, but I was sure it was still fine. So I toasted up a pita bread, busted out the little containers, walked into the dimly lit living room, plopped down on the couch and flipped on the TV to watch the Simpsons while I ate to the light of the gently setting sun.
So there I am, muching away on the hummus, oh yum, and then I take my first bite of tabouleh and think, "Gah, that's bitter!" Munch, munch, munch. Yummy hummus. Another bite of tabouleh. I think, "Gah, that's bitter!" Another bite, and I think, "Gah, that's bitter!" Through the fog of my oblivion, it begins to dawn on me that maybe I'd better take a closer look at whatever it is that's making me think "Gah, that's bitter!" every time I take a bite. But that would mean turning on a light, which we already know I'm loathe to do. It takes me another minute to decide, but I finally do get off my ass and flip on the lamp. I take a closer look at the tabouleh and promptly vomit so hard that my toenails shoot out my nose. It was beautiful, actually. A colony of mold had taken over, and the entire surface of my food was decorated with extravagantly lovely, delicately constructed fungal arrangements. Shudder, shudder, gag, choke.
But, as with all good stories, there are a few redeeming lessons I've learned from this episode.
Number one, I hereby vow to try to pay more attention, and to moderate my faith in the magical powers of refrigeration.
Number two, I formally swear that from now on I will closely examine any food that has been in my refrigerator for longer than 4 days before I put it in my mouth.
And number three, I can now report with precision and accuracy exactly how long it takes for my metabolism to process moldy tabouleh. That is, 17 hours. Now if you'll excuse me, I believe my metabolism needs to go do some more processing.