Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Often when we are not good at something, we chalk it up to an ineradicable character flaw when the truth is, we simply lack the proper tools.
Since my dental hygienist recommended soft picks, I have had champion flossing sessions, all while thinking how proud she would be of me. For years, I felt I was being asked to play a primitive stringed instrument -- an erhu or diddley bow -- in my mouth. I was not great at it. Now I am like: Hello? Where have you been, people at G.U.M.? There's nothing wrong with me that this mass-produced plastic implement can't fix!
Cooking regular meals is another area where I need some help. My domestic role model has always been Mrs. Murry of A Wrinkle in Time. She heated up her children's dinners on the Bunsen burner in her home laboratory, where she was busy figuring out how to travel great distances by "folding" the fabric of space-time.
Certainly, sometimes she made French toast and other kitchen foods -- but just as often, her five-year-old genius was fixing himself a sandwich, the twins were at basketball practice, Meg was moping around, and Mrs. Murry was "watching a pale blue fluid move slowly through a tube" while trying to keep the chemicals out of a "big, earthenware dish of stew." (p. 39)
For her, the Bunsen burner was the tool that enabled her to feed her family, before they were whisked away on an intergalactic adventure by witches. For me, that tool is a full-service grocery store with an industrial-size kitchen, where -- at a moment's notice -- sushi, soup, and breaded chicken tenders can be purchased. Self-affirmation: There's nothing wrong with me that a team of professional chefs, a roll of Saran Wrap, and a microwave can't fix!
The third thing I'm not good at is folding fitted sheets. I think that was next on Mrs. Murry's to-do list of discoveries, but she died before she could figure it out.