Sunday, April 23, 2006

Forbidden fruit

Anyone can look smart eating an apple.

You pluck one off the table and toss it lightly into the air. It falls into your other hand with reckless speed, a shiny botanical cannon ball. The casual carelessness of the move is underlined with quiet menace. But then you take a bite and the looming threat is diffused. CRUNCH. It's an authoritative noise, and it feels good, your incisors and canines punching through the oddly brittle fruit. Subsequent chewing is audible even though your mouth is closed. Your masticatory apparatus is blasting this lowly plant organ to bits, and everyone knows it. You swallow, use the apple to gesture at your comapanions, and say something penetrating and witty. They look at you admiringly, the young sage with the cool hair, perched artlessly on the edge of the table, crunching an apple.

No one looks intelligent eating a banana.

You pick up the bunch and start looking for the one that is most ripe but has the fewest bad spots. Already you've been reduced to subhuman status. You're not even eating. You're foraging. God forbid that anyone is actually watching while you go through this demeaning ritual. Finally you've made your choice. You take a couple tries getting your grips just right, cock your elbows out to the side like a chicken, and tear off your chosen banana. RIIIP! It's a crude, jungle noise. Then you peel it, the suburban ape manipulating its insensate prey. The peel splits with a barely audible tear, like a fleshy zipper. Now you're standing there with a banana clutched in one hand. A big soft lollipop, peels drooping over your fingers like dead vines. What to do with the other hand? You can't cock it on your hip--you're eating a banana, for crying out loud, not posing for a photo on top of Everest. You toy with putting it in your pocket, just to get rid of it, but finally you let it hang at your side, defeated and useless. You couldn't look stupider if you were using it to scratch your ass. At last, forty-seven subjective minutes into this tawdry little drama, you take a bite. Instantly you know you've bitten off too much. This is no hunk of apple that you can reduce with a few decisive strokes of the jaw. No, this is a big cylinder of mush, and as your teeth slog through it most of it gets squeezed into your cheek. There you are, shoulders hunched, one arm sticking straight out from the elbow like you're a moron holding some balloons, other arm hanging bonelessly, cheeks bulging with a bolus of simian indignity. You look up suddenly, painfully aware that she is in the room. She is on the edge of the couch, already leaning toward the door, watching you with the eyes of a terrified child. You start to say something but catch yourself, and barely avoid drooling banana pudding down your chin. From her perspective it looks like you just choked back some vomit. You glance down to gather your thoughts and finally, mercifully, you can swallow. As you look up, your lungs tense and your mouth opens, ready to ingratiate, to cajole, to plead. Your words die on a cold wind blowing through the open door.

Later, as you watch Friends reruns and cry into your second pint of ice cream, you make a mental note. Buy some apples.


Blogger Darren Naish said...

I swear to god that I haven't laughed as much about anything in a long time. Fucking hilarous, seriously.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Darren Naish said...

Or.. let's make that 'hilarious'. Dammit.

3:02 PM  

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