Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Agony of Cooking, and the Thrill of Da Feet

I am quite possibly the most useless person on all major holidays, where cooking is involved. Most obviously on Thanksgiving Day. I do not cook, and I harbor a visceral hatred for washing dishes.

My parents continue to allow me to commandeer their guest room, and shuffle through the 7 or so odd loads of laundry I drag with me each time I visit. And they actually seem perfectly happy to have me here.

The dishes issue gives me guilty pause each holiday, and there was one year I did bring my own rubber gloves with me, strapped them on and winced and whimpered through slimy dish after slimy dish. It was horrifying and I still have nightmares about a giant half-eaten sourdough stuffing beast, dripping with Palmolive dishwashing liquid (you're soaking in it!), chasing after me as I try to run through a tryptophan-induced semi-coma.

This year I begged and pleaded to be exempt from the dish-doing, and my mom didn't make a big deal of it, so I thought I was in the clear. However, enjoying appetizers and wine with sister and brother-in-law, while mom was in the kitchen waving her magic wand over the turkey, or whatever else you do to render it edible, my dad marched into the living room and announced "I'd like you to start cooking."

"Now?" I asked, feeling panic creep over me like gravy and giblets, or some other Thanksgiving-related analogy.

It wasn't "now", but "at some point" that he thought would be a good idea for me to join the Incredible Parade of Happiness that is cooking.

I completely understand that there are crazy people who truly relish the act of cooking. It's therapeutic! It's relaxing! It's creative!


So my dad and I began an argument where I was trying to explain to him that not everyone draws enjoyment from throwing together ingredients and spices and math problems and bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens; much like many crazy people do not really enjoy shopping for shoes.

I asked him if HE liked shopping for shoes, which I thought would end the conversation. It did not. My dad launched into a surprising monologue about how men's shoes really don't have the wide variety that women's shoes have, and it might be more enjoyable if there were better selections...which kind of left me thinking that my dad would very much enjoy shopping for women's shoes. This revelation did not mean he won the argument; but it did weaken my point a bit.

I've said it before. Life is short. There are activities we loathe, and activities we cherish, and with the rapidly diminishing time we have here on Earth, I strongly suggest that everyone spend as little time as possible on the agonies, and as much time as possible on the thrills.