the sprouts of despair

Angsomnia: when, due to angst, one cannot sleep.

I should have had a perfectly lovely evening. Before that, I should have had a perfectly lovely day. All of my problems were no more than minor irritations in actuality, logistical tangles to untie quickly and cleanly.

Why, then, do I only fumble them?

The dish I promised to make for tonight’s pot-luck supper has a time-intensive component: shredding 2 pounds of brussels sprouts by hand because we don’t yet own a food processor. I decided to buy all of the ingredients Thursday night so I could easily make the recipe Friday night, then send it to work with FunkyPlaid on Saturday morning so I didn’t have to carry it on the bus.

By the time Friday night cooking time rolled around, I wasn’t in the mood to cook. Cooking even straightforward recipes like this one is still a challenge for me, and my week had already been an 8 out of 10 on the “challenging” scale. (Note to self: do not plan on cooking to relax until cooking is relaxing.)

Long story medium: the brussels sprouts were wormy and unable to be salvaged, thus turning my Saturday into a car-less quest for brussels sprouts, which – as I realize I should have already known – aren’t in season anyway, so I have no business making the dish. (This last is difficult for me to internalize because I love the dish and it’s something I can do consistently well. Still, second note to self: cook seasonally.)

My Saturdays are strange creatures. I look forward to them throughout the week as if they are gold-plated unicorns of sheer delight. They are all mine, because FunkyPlaid is at work, so I have complete autonomy over them. That is in theory only, because when they roll around, I mull over completing any number of a hundred different things I think I should be doing with my time off, and I end up getting nothing done and feeling guilty for it.

A few times I have hit that lovely “I can do what I want and I want to do nothing” stride, but on most Saturdays my to-do list and I get into a stare-eyes contest and, despite it not actually having eyes, the list always wins.

Anyway, this Saturday I spent entirely on the brussels sprouts, up until the moment I hopped in the shower to get ready for the two-hour public transit adventure that is getting to the middle of Marin County. By the time I arrived, the brussels sprouts had taken on legendary status for me; I was merely a support system for the brussels sprouts, the imperfect vessel by which their greatness would be conveyed.

Okay, not really, but you get the idea. I had obsessed so much over how I considered this stupid side-dish to be inconveniencing me that I missed the entire point of cooking, or at least what I consider to be its point: to savor and share good food with good people.

Because I am me, I did not have a “silly me” moment. I had a full-on self-loathing “stupid, stupid me” moment. More like a collection of moments, organized into hours. It is hours later and I am still upset with myself. And then I say, “Why am I still upset with myself? That’s so stupid.”

… and we begin again.

This is the point at which a normal person says, “Hey! Snap out of it!” and I hear, “Hey! Stop being stupid!” I have no idea how to stop being stupid so I just sit there, wings flapping uselessly. Flap flap flap they go, and people wander off because watching sad little wingflaps is pointless and kind of pathetic and there is nothing more for them to do anyway.

So, third and final note to self: learn how to snap out of it. There are probably whole self-help books devoted entirely to learning how to snap out of it. I would be surprised if Oprah herself did not have a treatise on the snapping out. If only I knew of a place filled with books that I could browse for free!

Yes, I see my wings are still flapping. At least everyone ate all the brussels sprouts.

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.