Adulthood is a funny thing. You may think that you’ve attained this coveted status, but the borders can be shockingly amorphous. Maybe you manage to pay the bills, to buy groceries, and to jump over all the necessary hurdles, but it can still be a struggle to keep the ship running tightly, let alone to stay afloat. Take me, for instance: even though I enjoy cooking, I sometimes experience hunger and wonder what in the world there is to eat. Although I am very conscious of the fact that I am the one who will (at least 90-95% of the time) have to prepare the food, there can still be a brief moment of surprise when I realize that it is going to take both effort and time. The same can be said for when the dust and laundry accumulate and the dog hits her bowl to be fed: you might be in the middle of something else, a TV show, a book or even another house-related task, and look around to wonder who will take care of this additional thing. It can be disheartening to realize that, if a mirror were present, you’d easily have your answer.
Maybe it’s simply because of summer–the heat and the raging allergies–but I’ve been feeling tired lately. This could also be due to the fact that the Greek recently flew off to his homeland to attend the wedding of a college friend and, while he was off celebrating and swimming (no resentment, Brownie’s honor!), I was in Delaware, managing not just the details of our daily life, but those of my mother and canine sibling. While I try not to get overly personal on this blog (there should be limits to one’s [over]sharing of a life), this was not the easiest thing. And that, given the fact that my mother has MS, isn’t entirely well, and can also be picky to boot (or maybe it’s just that mothers are supposed to criticize their children when dust and laundry accumulate?), I felt the weight of my additional responsibilities acutely. This is how, despite the fact that my mother does have MS and should not do unhealthy things like smoke, I ended up at a convenience store on her birthday, trying to get the exact pack of cigarettes that she prefers. When I tried to figure out if gold or silver bands on a packet meant that one was healthier than the other, the woman behind the counter laughed as if I had said something truly funny. Her response: “No, gold, silver, they’re all going to kill you.”
Given that my mother and I are night and day, Jekyl and Hyde, Oscar and Felix all rolled into one, I also had to explain to her one day why we’d be eating chickpeas with carrots and couscous for dinner instead of the pizza she was requesting. I also attempted to limit her sugar consumption, an act for which I was deemed a “bossy tyrant.” The words “food weirdo” may also have been used. Just to be clear, I consider both a compliment. But, as you can imagine, it’s no wonder I started wondering what exactly makes an adult an adult…and trying to figure out if I could, Ivan Karamazov-style, “return my ticket” for something simpler and better, maybe even for the days when I was the child fighting against carrots and other vegetables, not to mention the tons of garlic that would perfume our food? For now, however, I guess this, life in all of its messy glory, is going to continue to be the way of things.
Since things have been busy, I thought now was as good a time as any to offer some food for thought; this collection offers articles both old and new, as well as, as I always hope, something illuminating and interesting for you all. If you’re not a fan of links, then I can at least offer you my take on Lisa Fain’s recipe for Houston-style green salsa, a recipe that I make often and also one of the things that I made when my mother was visiting and that she really enjoyed (we may be opposites in a lot of ways, but we do share a love of Tex-Mex/Mexican cuisine).
Why standards, rather than partisan zeal, are essential to a healthy political system.