There was a muttered conversation with Groom, a little talk that went something like, “Yea, okay, we eat a cow a week, so maybe sometimes we need to compensate by ingesting something uber healthy, like, you know, whole-wheat pasta.”
Then we ate some whole-wheat pasta, and pretty quickly I decided I’d rather suck shag carpet through a twirly straw than ever eat another bowl of that whole-wheat schmutz.
So we held to The Principle but moved to brown rice. As Groomeo cooked it up that first night, I twitched around the kitchen, stomach growling, wondering what in the world of ultimate nachos I’d be having for dinner after my obligatory taste of the brown rice, which would, doubtlessly, be followed by dramatic retching into the garbage disposal.
When you cook up brown rice and then top it with–and Nostradamus never predicted this in all his crystal ballifying–stir-fried bok choy and soy sauce, it’s
how you say
somewhat less than
to the point that it’s
Nowadays, when the menu is announced, and the words “brown rice and bok choy” are uttered, I do one of my specialized and intricately-choreographed versions of the Happy Dance: the one that goes jazz hands, chasse, chasse, chasse, high kick, standing-half-moon, all capped off with a quick cherry-picker.
As I stand there, curtsying, accepting bouquets, panting, I sometimes think, “Me head is a leetle woozy here. There is some serious identity shifting going on. What’s happened to the old ‘If it ain’t fried in powdered sugar and topped with bacon whipped cream, I ain’t eatin’ it’ Jocelyn of yore?” Truth is, I hardly know myself.
Complicating things is the ongoing Polenta Polemic.
Groom lived for a short while in one of those Carolinas y’all keep down there. While hallucinating in the humidity, he learned to love some funky mush dish called “grits.” No, not pronounced “oatmeal Jell-o.” Try this: “g-r-e-e-e-e-t-z.” Yes, that’s it.
So throughout our marriage, he has sometimes pointed to the sky and shouted, “Look, Joce, a flying hamburger” and then, while I’m distracted out there with my butterfly net, leaping around trying to snag the thing, he has quietly hied off to the stovetop and made busy there, only to be discovered some time later (when I whomp in, dragging my net behind me, looking very disappointed), his head dipped into a saucepan, a wooden spoon hovering in his big paw, his mouth coated in hominal flakes. He tries to look guilty, but mostly he looks supremely blissed out and as though he’s just realized he married the wrong semi-solid.
In the interests of us developing a few common interests that might sustain the marriage once the kids grow up and head off to cosmetology school, I agreed last month to try–NO, not grits, that bitch–but polenta, the Bergdorf version of grits.
Swat me to next Wednesday, but polenta is ambrosial.
It might have something to do with all that butter and the fact that His Groomitude cracks some eggs on top and bakes the whole thing into a “hold me, Mommy, for I need comfort food” lather.
At any rate, I find myself in off moments, of which I have a satchelful, dreaming of the polenta. I want to fill the bathtub with it and exfoliate with great vigor. Then I want to eat everything in the bathtub with a small spoon and finish off by licking the porcelain dry.
Yea, it’s ugly-bad like that.
This whole business of changing and adapting and tolerating new pleasures, well, it’s broadcasting into me a freaked-out noise. I mean, who am I, if I’m not a Double-Stuf-chugging, flank-steak-snarfing, Cheeto-deodorant-wearing whore?
It actually gets worse.
Just tonight, as I was typing up this little note to you, Aunt Hepzibah, I was streaming a little tv on the old laptop, as diversion from my own words (lest I find my self tiresome). Before I knew it, I was grunting at the selected program, “Why do you call it cha-cha-cha, Announcer Man? Isn’t it just the cha-cha?”
It was 10 p.m. on a Saturday night.
And I wasn’t anywhere near the mosh pit at First Avenue (or, better yet, its smarter younger sister, the Seventh Street Entry), nor was I wearing a pair of Docs and a New York Dolls t-shirt, trying to bum a smoke off the guy at the sound board.
Rather, on this Saturday night, I was alone, tucked under the covers, clad in yoga pants,
WATCHING “DANCING WITH THE STARS.”
Worse yet, I was weighing in with opinions–and how could I not, what with the appalling state of Crisitan de la Fuente’s posture? Stand up, Senor, if you hope to earn the 10’s!
Ultimately, I guess my point here, dear Hepzibah, is that brown rice is a gateway lifestyle slider. You let the brown rice in, and you’re just a sneeze away from polenta, just a whiffle away from texting in your vote for Kristi Yamaguchi’s jive.
Resist the brown, hipsters. Resist the brown.