Apropos of Nothing
Sometimes I make notes about things I want to remember to write about here. If I can, I try to stay on one topic for a whole post…but sometimes the little anecdotes I write down are just that: anecdotes, and unrelated at that. So here are a few random snippets to start the week:
Last night, Dave and I watched a really entertaining movie, 2 Days in New York. Mingus (Chris Rock) is dating Marion (Julie Delpy), who is French, and her family comes from France to visit for a few days. He doesn’t speak French, and her father doesn’t speak much English. (Her sister and her sister’s boyfriend, Manu, speak English and French.) One hilarious scene features a family dinner; Mingus is seated at the end of the table with Marion’s father, Jeannot, and Manu, who attempts to translate the conversation for Jeannot. The translations go hilariously wrong, and Jeannot makes some comments to Mingus, in his accented English, that make no sense in relation to what Mingus was originally saying. You can see the confusion on his face as he tries gamely to carry on a conversation that has veered off in a nonsensical direction.
Dave, in the midst of his laughter, turned to me and said, “That’s what it’s like for me!” Seriously, when you have a hearing loss and you’re trying to carry on a conversation with a bunch of people, it happens so easily. One minute you think you’ve got a handle on the subject matter, then the next thing you know you’re making a comment that makes no sense to anyone else, or asking a question about something that’s just been discussed. It’s times like this when it helps to have a sense of humor!
When I was a kid, I used to run really high fevers (I’m talking 104 or so). It was a pretty regular thing with me when I got sick; I was never the type to just have a temperature of 100 or 101. In fact, that was originally what my parents assumed caused my hearing loss. I was a toddler…maybe 18 or 20 months?…and I got roseola. My temperature shot up really high, like 106 or so, and they put me in the hospital. My mom said they put me on a bed with ice (or ice packs, maybe) to cool me off; when the nurses left the room, she would pick me up and hold me because I was turning purple from the cold. My hearing loss wasn’t discovered until I was around 4 years old; by that time, nobody was sure what caused it and we always assumed it was caused by that high fever (or perhaps the antibiotics used, which might have been ototoxic).
So anyway, this weird thing would happen to me when I was young and feverish. I still remember it very well, and I imagine it happened all through my early childhood. (I can remember being in junior high and being sick with a fever, and realizing that it no longer happened – I couldn’t will it to happen or experience it again, so it seems like it was connected to early childhood somehow.) I would leave my body and float to the corner of my ceiling. I know it sounds crazy, but I swear to God it happened. I can still remember what it looked like, being up there and looking down. It was always the same corner – the front left corner, which was to the left of my bedroom door. I could look from there towards my bed. It wasn’t scary, it was just a hazy experience when I was completely burning up with a fever. It would happen if I just kind of let go and didn’t think about anything too much. I just assumed it was something that happened to everybody; I’m not sure if I ever mentioned it to my parents (or, if I did, if they believed me). I was actually startled when I realized it wasn’t happening to me anymore, and like I said, I tried to go back into that meditative state and see if I could make it happen, and I couldn’t. It was just one of those inexplicable young-child experiences I had almost forgotten about.
I’ve mentioned before that Dave and I test recipes for Cooks Illustrated. I like doing it because it gets me out of my food comfort zone and gets me to try new things and learn new cooking techniques. Since the whole point of testing the recipe is to see if the instructions are clear and the ingredients work as they should, you really have to follow the recipe precisely – exact measurements and times, no ingredient substitutions, the same size and type of pan the recipe calls for, that kind of thing. Well, Dave is a rebel when it comes to cooking (and, well, to life in general). He really hates being told what to do, and almost never follows a recipe when he cooks. I’m the complete opposite – I measure and follow the recipe every time. The most I might do is change up ingredients and cooking methods after I’ve made the recipe the first time (as stated), but even then I make notes on the recipe and follow my notes.
Every time we test a recipe, I have to watch him, and remind him that we’re testing this recipe so we have to follow it precisely. I can see the expression move across his face; he wants to resist, but he knows he can’t. So I always have to keep an eye on my kitchen rebel – I know he really, really wants to do it his way. It’s the one time I can boss him around and he can’t argue with me!