Monday, April 22, 2013

Spit It Out!

Men seem to consider their own spit toxic. As I wait at a red light the truck door in front of me opens, a man leans out, and he spits on the pavement. I come out of a restaurant after having enjoyed a nice dinner and just ahead of me a man spits into the bushes.  Even my husband, who is somewhat domesticated, spits into the toilet at the exact same minute I’m brushing my teeth. Yuck! Gross!

What is the deal with spitting? I really want to know. My female friends never seem to need to expectorate their own saliva. If it builds up noticeably we simply—are you listening, men?—swallow. You should try it.

Or is spitting something males must do, like male dogs marking their territory? Is it a compulsion? Please, tell me the reason for all this sputum-spittage.

Which brings me to another nasty male habit. Peeing outside. (Okay, I must admit there was one little neighbor girl who peed in my hedges, but she wasn’t terribly civilized in any other area, either. And she attended a “progressive” private school, part of a chain, where they probably made peeing in public part of the regular curriculum.)  Little boys seem especially compelled to pee outside. I know—I’ve watched Supernanny.  Are males born with the urge to pee in fresh air, or is a learned behavior?

A Scout leader told me he and his Scouts didn’t need bathrooms on camping trips; “The world is my bathroom.”

I said, “But your bathroom is my world!”

So, men, tell me why you spit so much. Just spit it out. You do everywhere else.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Baby, I Was Born This Way

Forbidden love. I confess to a mad, crazy love for something that—because of my sex—the world views as wrong and inappropriate. I know, this type of lust is supposed to be exclusively male, but I can’t help myself. I refuse to hide my love despite what people think.
Yes, I’m a woman. And yes, I love my backyard grill.

Ten years ago I was complaining about our gas grill. “Hot spots! Flare-ups! I can’t control the temperature on this thing! I need a new grill!” John, my decidedly non-grill-lusting husband, reminded me I’d said the same things about the previous grill, and maybe it was time to go a new route.
A new route? Not charcoal. I didn’t have the time or patience to wait for a charcoal grill to get ready. But he said this was different, it was hard wood charcoal on a ceramic grill. You could maintain the temperature, no hot spots, no flare-ups, and it took only 10-20 minutes for the grill to be ready for cooking: the Big Green Egg.

It’s expensive, but supposedly lasts forever. We had a little money to spare (yes, I was shocked, too) so we went all out and bought one.

And I fell madly, passionately in love. I’ve made the same chicken recipe on my BGE and on the little electric countertop grill—no comparison. I can slow-smoke a pork shoulder, grill amazing burgers, ribs, chicken, whatever; it’s all delicious.   
My only complaint? We cheaped out. When we priced the BGE I asked John, How many kidneys do you need, really? But he went with the medium Egg, not the large or extra-large, so when we had a gang over I had to cook in shifts, hold items in the oven while I cooked another load. I kept an eye on the kidney black market, but let’s face it, 63-year-old kidneys don’t command prime prices. Finally I took a chance on a Weber charcoal grill.

The first day as I piled on the briquettes a son-in-law looked over my shoulder and said, “Is that going to be enough charcoal?” I said, “Yes, I counted out 50, the number the Weber grilling book said to use for this size of grill.” He stared at me pop-eyed for a moment, then cracked up. But it was exactly enough charcoal to cover the grid. So there.
The Weber makes a pretty good sidekick to the BGE, and I’ve discovered a chimney charcoal starter that shortens the wait time.

Which brings me to another illicit love, the love of two grills at the same time. How do I defend this? In the words of the great theologian, Lady Gaga: Baby, I was born this way.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Like a Kid in a Coffee Shop

It was an unlikely group to grace a coffee shop with its presence—three generations: grandparents, parents, a boy of about five and a curly-haired girl about two years old. Before they even made it into the coffee shop just steps ahead of me, the little girl was whining and on the verge of pitching a fit. I mentally rolled my eyes—I was there to work on something with an actual deadline, having had trouble ignoring housework and laundry at home, and didn’t want the distraction of a whiney child. Then I told myself not to be that person. It’s bad enough I don’t like pets—now I’m not a fan of other people’s kids, too?

So I followed them in and got my simple cup of coffee while they discussed the menu board. The little girl kept yelling, “Mommy! Mommy! Juice! Juice! Juice! Juice!” No one acknowledged her demands so she just kept demanding.

I found a spot and set up my computer, but it’s a small shop and I was twelve feet at most from their table. The grandparents sat down, then the kids came to claim a chair—the same chair. The little girl made that pre-verbal “Nnnnnnnuh!” roar and pushed her brother off. Imperiously she pointed at an empty chair. He took it without complaint.

Soon Grandma was standing by the girl’s chair, telling her to sit or kneel so she wouldn’t fall. Eventually the little girl let one knee hit the seat of the chair for a moment and Grandma went back to her chair. In minutes they were at it again, and Grandma muttered something about a high chair. Grandpa said, “Or a strait jacket.” I thought that sounded like a fine idea.

When the parents joined them there was much fuss about where everyone would sit, and the little girl decided she would abandon her chair and sit on her mother’s lap, to whine and cry and yell. Half the time the mother was trying to keep the child from slithering off her lap, or guard her coffee from being knocked across the table.

Shall I quit with the blow-by-blow? I think so. It didn’t get any better. The food was not to her liking, the company not to her liking, apparently nothing met her standards. Lacking vocabulary, she cried and roared and pounded and threw.

Dad plowed through his breakfast and ignored the uproar. Mom placated, wrestled, dodged, distracted, tried everything she could. Except, of course, discipline.

Once the parents and grandparents bolted their meals, Grandma stayed behind with Dad to help him clear the incredible wasteland that had once been a table. Well, I thought she stayed to help. As soon as the mommy was out the door, Grandma began lecturing the daddy on “that’s the only way she’s going to learn. And you’re going to have to do it. That’s the only way she’s going to learn.” I listened desperately to find out Grandma’s secret to containing the little monster, but missed that part.

I heard what the daddy said, though: “You’re right. You’re right. You’re right.”
I got the feeling they’d had that conversation before—and would have it again.