Friday, July 21, 2006

Aborted Dinner

Earlier this week I made dinner. The menu:

1. Rice soup (which is rice that for some reason didn’t absorb, like, any of the water it was cooked in, even though the rice itself was plenty soft and cooked)

2. Suspicious salmon (which is salmon I was supposed to broil, but that I was scared of because it had been in the fridge for three days and smelled like fish, which, okay, I know that it is fish, but it smelled really, well, fishy)

The LP came home and I gave him a choice: eat this dinner I had made (and yes, I was going to actually cook the suspicious salmon; I wasn’t suggesting we eat it raw) or go get something a bit more fully-formed.

Tough choice.

This has been happening a lot these days: I begin a meal in good faith, but somehow I can’t seem to finish it. Not that I destroy it (though that is a regular feature of five o’clock at my house), but somewhere along the line I just sort of lose my belief that this endeavor I’ve undertaken has any sort of merit or authentic reality. I just can’t seem to see these substances in pots ever becoming what I might recognize as a meal.

Cleaning is another problem. I might get halfway across the living room with my dustcloth when I suddenly cease to believe that I’m actually doing anything. The act of dusting becomes like playing a video game—several hours spent saving the princess, and what have you got to put on your resume?

My life at times begins to seem a series of gestures made to mark time for a non-existent orchestra.

And at the end of the day, I’ve lost the tune that, properly hummed, might have resulted in dinner.

“Dinner.” It’s a funny concept. I am often drawn to the idea of “eating close to the earth,” as they say—of walking into my (non-existent) garden, yanking out a carrot, and stuffing it in my mouth. Eating food, not a meal. The realm of dinner has very little to do with food. Dinner, my darlings, is theater in which one eats the props.

I’m thinking I'd like to do dinner differently. Serve plates of beautifully-arranged plastic foods, take to rubber steaks with fork and knife, take sips of synthetic wine between breaths of describing my day.

Then chug a tasteless protein shake from a paper cup and toss everything back in the drawer.

Ritual accomplished, nutrients consumed, and I can turn my mind to the next philosophical housefrau paradox:

When I remove the wrinkles from this blouse, where do they go?


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