Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Why Am I Stupid?

Well, I survived the trip to visit my grandfather. My parents actually managed to get along pretty well. Most of their road-trip squabbling comes from personality differences that don't arise generally in their day-to-day lives. They have completely different driving styles, for one thing, something that is barely noticeable driving across town to the mall but is pretty much impossible not to focus on when you spend 20 hours in a car together. They also have totally different preferences on how to spend their days off. Do you get up, take care of all your "to do's" for the day, so you can spend the rest of the day relaxing, like my dad? That's me. If I have something I know I have to do, I'd rather not put it off. But my mom, on the other hand, likes to sleep in, putter around the house in her pajamas, and get dressed in a leisurely manner. She doesn't care that it might be 2pm before she gets out the door to start running errands. This might be because she's a bit of a night owl, so even if she doesn't get done with her list of things to do until 7pm because she's still got hours of her day left.

My dad and I are both early-to-bed types, so if I get home at 7, I don't have any free time left to my day--the rest of the day is spent getting ready for bed, and then getting in bed. This is both because sleeping's my favorite, and because I'm always trying to get in bed before that point in the day when my body just powers down like a robot. At some point I stop making any sense, I can't form sentences or complete thoughts, I get nauseated, and, often, I start to cry. This is all involuntary, but still annoying to deal with, if you ask RR, who has had to deal with it all her life. Probably even in utero. Probably the reason why at one point my umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck was because she woke me up from a nap.

I'm not joking. You don't want to be the person that wakes me up.

Anyway, Saturday was an opportunity for my parents to get very annoyed with each other, when by 8:30, dad was up, breakfast eaten, all packed and ready to go visit my grandfather and then get on the road before noon, while my mom was barely out of bed but had managed to get herself in front of her laptop playing Farmville. I'm pretty sure Farmville is the only reason she brought her laptop on the trip, by the way, because of course Farmville is that important. I won't tell you what I think about that; I'll let you just guess by telling you that the previous sentence, if read aloud, should be said with a sarcastic tone.

Anyway, my dad could have snapped at my mom for lolligaggin', and my mom could have snapped back at him and then sulked the rest of the day, but that didn't happen. And both of them put up with me soapboxing about the environment while they were trapped in the car with me. And for dinner Friday night, they picked a Japanese restaurant over barbecue solely for my benefit. So all in all, I have to say that my parents were awesome, and I am eating crow with a side of humble pie.

This seems to be happening a lot lately--I complain in anticipation about something that I just know is about to happen, something I just know a person is going to do, and then the opposite happens. I should think of this as a lesson from God about not prejudging people, and not getting myself in a twist about things that haven't happened yet, and maybe about how my life is not nearly so bad as I like to make it out to be when I'm in a mood. But instead, I'm thinking that I have a really awesome superpower here. I appear to have been given the ability to bend situations to my will. If I don't want something to happen, I just need to complain publicly about how unfair it will be, and then the opposite will happen. This is an awesome superpower for me as I'm perfectly willing to have to publicly retract previously made statements if it means that the thing I dreaded never comes to pass.

Sometimes I find a way to screw my apparent superpower, too. Like how I was sure my parents would want to go eat some place where I could get maybe some dry lettuce with mealy tomatoes ("you can eat that, right?" "Well, I can."), and I complained about that to RR before I left. And then they suggested we go some place where I could get sushi. It's maaaaagic!

But then when we went to the Japanese restaurant, and I ordered a veggie roll, which turned out to be Roll of Death. Well, ok, more like a roll of "if you eat that, you'll certainly be uncomfortable later, at the least." They came with (1) carrots, which I should have anticipated, and (2) some sort of mayonnaise-type condiment, which I totally did not see coming. I'm allergic to carrots, and I'm allergic to the eggs in mayonnaise.

But did I decline to eat these items on the ground that they could make me very sick or possibly kill me, and that best-case scenario, I'd spend the rest of the evening feeling pretty crappy? Of course not. Why would I be smart about it? No, I picked out the carrots ineffectively and scraped off the condiment as best I could, which is to say not very well, and then I ate the roll. Why did I put into my system two things that I'm allergic to? Because I'm stupid. Because the waiter might ask me if the roll was not to my liking, and I'd have to tell him that I was allergic to it, and then he and the sushi chef might feel responsible some how, and might try to comp my meal or offer to make me something else, which would make me uncomfortable because it was my fault for not being more thorough in finding out what was in them. And I don't like being fussed over.

And my parents might think I was still hungry and try to get me to order something else, which would inconvenience them, and might once again result in the waiter and/or sushi chef hearing about the situation. I didn't want to make other people uncomfortable. It was bad enough that I'd already remembered to ask about sesame seeds and had them leave that off, and then the sushi chef, rather than the waiter, brought my rolls to me, and presented them while saying "rolls WITHOUT SESAME SEEDS," which made me want to shrink in my chair. I felt like he thought I'd completely dismissed as inedible food that is prevalent in his food culture. I wanted to assure of my unrequited love for sesame, a food that punish me if I ate it, and beg him not to take offense. So I ate the veggie roll. Apparently, I'd rather rush back to my hotel room to take more allergy medicine, and then stay up late to make sure I didn't have a serious reaction while I was all alone. I pictured me in the middle of the night, groggy from allergy medicine, trying to find my epi pen in the pit of despair, a/k/a my purse. I couldn't think of a way that would turn out well, so I had to stay up late enough that I felt nothing worse was coming.

To my credit, I'm not completely stupid, so I didn't eat the whole roll--just enough to make sure the waiter didn't think I hated the food. And then I left a 40% tip just to make sure they didn't hate me there and didn't take my picky eating as a slight.

So, point is, with great power comes the obligation not to find a way to ruin it. That part I'm still working on.

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