Sometimes life gives us little hints that it’s going to be “one of those days.” My first clue usually stares right back at me shortly after getting out of bed…I look like Hillary Clinton. Yup, I get those dark, angry circles framing saggy, puffy eyes, and if it’s been a while since my last hair cut.. yikes, we could be twins. This is not to disparage Mrs. C in any way, I mean she’s almost 70, and I’m no where near sixty. She also always has some jet-laggy, top secret or Bill related reason for looking like ****, and I definitely do not.
But that’s usually my warning, first thing in the morning.
It was on one of those Hillary days not too long ago that I decided to pull myself out of the cooking slump I was in. I figured the problem stemmed from the fact that my local grocery store had become boring, familiar and uninspiring. So I got into my SUV and drove a ridiculously long way to rekindle the fire under my apron at one of those “specialty” grocery stores. You know the kind…wine tastings, classical music, degreed clerks just waiting to lecture you on fairly traded coffee… Once I dragged myself out of the Euro-chocolate aisle, I was able to get down to business. Funny enough, I kept gravitating towards the usual choices..beef and chicken. After seeing (and smelling) all the baskets of crusty breads, I ultimately settled on spaghetti and meatballs. I know, I know, I could have gone for the fresh eel, but hey, if no one will eat it, what’s the point? I threw my bounty of overpriced goodies into the back of my vehicle and turned on the seat heater to take the edge off my sciatica for the long drive home.
Once in my kitchen, I donned my favorite cooking attire, turned on Sinatra and opened a bottle of Montepulciano. One by one I pulled the ingredients out of their bags..croutons to crush, cheese to grate, bread to slice, chocolate to hide..but “where was the beef?” I grabbed my keys and hurried out to the car; quick check—- no meat. I ran into the house and dug for the receipt. Could I have simply imagined that grumpy old butcher wrapping my beef and pork in brown paper? No! It wasn’t an illusion, the meat was listed right there on the receipt! (Wo, did I actually pay that much per pound?)
A sweet sounding woman answered my frantic (long distance) call and assured me that my missing bag of groceries was in their commercial refrigerator waiting for me to come and get it. I jokingly assured her that “If I leave right now, I should be there when you open tomorrow.” Even though I had lost my appetite completely, I scrambled back into the car and headed towards the neighboring county.
I could recite a long list of terrific things that accompany middle age, but I can’t remember them right now…and you know what- that’s OK!
Oh, who am I kidding? My forgetfulness is becoming an embarrassing problem, and that ad campaign about the ten warning signs of Alzheimers has made me a nervous wreck! Could it be that I have a more serious issue percolating than “just” menopause? In one of the TV spots, a sweet, old lady accidentally leaves her car keys in the fridge. A sombre tune is playing as her concerned husband finally locates them behind the half and half. (He, by the way, is not bad looking for his age… You can tell he probably went to Woodstock. )
ANYWAY….Don’t you think this ad is a little over the top? Don’t you occasionally leave your keys in crazy places? Heck, I just read an article about ‘organizing your life’ that actually suggested putting your keys on top your lunch bag in the fridge so you don’t forget your food when you run out to work the next day. I’m guessing this professional organizing guru doesn’t have older clients.
So yes, we did eventually have spaghetti and meatballs late that night, and they were probably the best I ever made. In fact, I’m not sure I could have been more proud of my creation had I raised my own farm animals for the dinner. Of course, I hate to even imagine what the carbon foot print of each meatball was by the time I put them on the plates.
Oh well, what can I say? I’ll plant a tree to make up for it. At this point I’m a little more concerned about the fog in my brain than I am about the haze in the sky.