Here is a story about how useful I am in the kitchen and in nature.
A friend of mine once bequeathed to me the contents of one of her photography shows in its entirety. The photos were mounted on blocks of black glazed wood and depicted townies we all knew vaguely, dreadlocked boys jumping off of cliffs, naked women painted with costume makeup and clad in Technicolor gauze, boys sprawled on picnic benches, their tattooed arms splayed, inviting. I recognized the boys in the photos; they were behind coffeeshop counters making my lattes and they were checking my ID at clubs and they were waiting on the next table at Jujube, and I would hand them empty beer bottles and ramekins full of cigarette butts and know that their pictures were now sitting in my living room, waiting to be tacked up on the kitchen wall.
Wombatalie and I decided we were gonna hang the pictures in the kitchen as a band backdrop for house shows. We got a little stoned. We painstakingly sorted through them, picked our favorites, and arranged them on the floor to test the layout. Then we decided we couldn’t possibly hang pictures without preparing some sort of snack.
The only consumable food in the house was a bag of frozen French fries. My power had been cut off for a couple days and everything else was rotten. I hadn’t taken any of it out of the fridge yet.
So out came the stockpot, in went the gallon of oil, on high went the burner, and within minutes, we had fries crackling. Bret taught me a while back that the best way to cook fries is to par-boil them first, then remove them from the pot, then put them back in the oil to fry again. This seemed reasonable to me at the time because my fourth beer had me assuming that I could master any culinary endeavor I attempted.
Parboiling is now on my list of Things Not To Do, Ever.
The first grease fire I started was easily taken care of. I slammed my hand down on it and it went out. What a stupid move.
About halfway through the parboiling of my second batch of Special Harris Teeter Fries, I hit the pot handle and sloshed grease all over the burner. The entire workup immediately combusted, flames leaping three feet into the air. Wombatalie just stood there, her mouth hanging open, very calming saying, “Thereisagreasefireafireherewhatdowedowhathowdoyouhandleagreasefireicannotremember.” I was like, “WATER,” though I knew this was false, that water would only make things worse. Wombatalie ran to the kitchen sink, and the whole time she was filling dirty pint glasses from the tap and hurling it onto the pyre, she was saying, very calmly, “Thisisnotthewaythiswillonlymakeitworse.” It did.
So we called The Bard from his room. The Bard is our new roommate, and he is a cook. The Bard can ONLY cook. He cannot complete full sentences, though he talks incessantly. He has a flaming blunt tattooed on his left forearm. We are not quite sure how he makes it through his day. But damn, he can cook. Surely he will know how to resolve a grease fire! He chucked a baking sheet on it and poof! It was gone. Grease fires do not need water. They need baking sheets.
We never did hang up the pictures that night.
We did, however, pass out right after our trauma. The next morning, we woke up and immediately decided that we *had* to take our dogs for a hike on Occoneechee Mountain. So we smoked a bowl, piled into the car, stopped at Cup-A-Joe for Bottle Rockets, and drove to the mountain to show our dogs that we can have Fun in Nature, Too.
I remember wondering, fleetingly, if I should be hiking in flip flops, but I dismissed the thought and focused on the trail.
I got bored of the trail after a while, and by a while I mean four minutes, so I juggled my dog leash and my coffee and got my phone out so I could text my mom. Stoned. In flip flops. Hiking. I got about five feet before I stepped down onto a tiny cut tree stump whose jagged point nestled itself snugly in the side of my foot and ripped a hole in that sucker, not once regarding my protective footwear.
The pain hit fast and hard, and, without once taking my eyes off the text messaging screen, I screamed bloody murder and fell into a heap in the middle of the trail. My dog was alarmed, Wombatalie was confused, her dog was uninterested, and I was. . .still texting.
I will now show you a picture of my disgusting Tree Stab. It doesn’t look too bad in this pic. The skinflap is clearly visible, though. The next pic is what it looked like THREE WEEKS later.
Within a day, my entire foot was black with bruises. The stab wound looked like a black hole, a vortex into which every shred of love I ever had for flip flops was trapped and chewed and spit violently out into a wad of irony that forces me to wear. . .FLIP FLOPS ONLY while my foot heals. I cannot get it into a normal shoe. So now I’m living in fear, all fear, all the time.
So over the course of one week, I spit phlegm into a running air conditioner, tried to combat a grease fire with a gallon of water, and got stabbed in the foot by a tree.
How are YOU doing?