jolie laide

jolie laide

I started this when I lived in Brooklyn and struggled for grace in a city that grants moments of beauty and ugliness breathtakingly close to one another. Now I live in a place where things are a different kind of ugly and the beauty is pedestrian. I struggle with that.


I have become a deleter. The phone number is removed from the cellphone, not in anger, not to be cruel, but to spare myself the pain of seeing the name, of having to scroll past the person who never calls, of feeling the void of that little line of text. That wonderful series of emails are all torched because I know I will re-read them, feel the place where they started to drop off, get fainter, the cleave starting, and I will grieve all over again. So I delete, delete, delete.

In preparation for Thanksgiving I dig around on the high shelves for things I don’t normally use, spices, devices, nutmeg, springform pans, tucked away for their only occasional use. I am surprised at how much weird foodstuffs I find, things that don’t really belong there. Some of it was clearly for someone else’s taste and I am a little embarrassed it’s there in the first place. If someone looked in my stores, I would be chagrinned at what is still there from some former boyfriend: canned chili; baked beans; tinned tuna; mayonnaise.

Then there are the things that I have that are clearly for making for and with someone else, dreams of intimate evenings of food and talk and love and those cause a different kind of pain. I love to cook for people, to make an offering of pleasure and sustenance, and in my cabinets there is basmati rice, quince paste, polenta, and I am not even sure who I was trying to impress, who I wanted to love me, who I wanted to make love to, with the steel-cut oatmeal, the box is still sealed, pristine.

So this week, a week when I am home from work and have the inclination to cook, I am deleting the failed relationships from my cabinets. By eating them. Tonight: farfalle a la vodka with capers and artichoke hearts. Sorrow can actually be pretty tasty.


Blogger slickaphonic said...

I've had an unopened bottle of wine on my shelf for months.

i tell myself it's aging.

but i know better.

have seconds for me!

8:42 PM  
Blogger ttractor said...

I have had those bottles of wine. I take them to parties where they can comingle and give joy.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Pan said...

My cupboard has a lot of quinoa in it . . . I just can't bring myself to throw it away, and I'm certainly never going to eat it . . .

What is to become of it? Is it to stay there forever??

london lifer

10:13 AM  
Blogger ttractor said...

I hear quinoa is pretty good with beets and goat cheese. Since I have canned beets in my cupboard, I'll trade you the quinoa for all the tomato paste I have left over from dating Italians.

10:42 AM  
Blogger fortycalibernap said...

i recently did the phone/email delete thingie, over a period of several months (my excuse being there were a lot of emails so i had to kill them out in sections).

but it took me about a year to get started, so i think you're in relatively good shape.

food i don't know about since i'll eat anything.

2:19 AM  
Blogger ttractor said...

If I waited a year I'd be a flayed, quivering piece of meat. How many times are you just going along, looking for that email the marketing director sent you in February, then you see that email and you know who its from and you know what it says, and suddenly the bottom just drops out of your day? Or reveiwing them over and over, trying to figure out what was real, how valid is the pain, trying to adjust the size and shape your grief?

But I have also become brutal about deleting people I meet casually who don't pan out as friends or contacts or whatever. I just don't want to keep feeling that little bit of loss at the failure to connect.

I'll eat just about everything, I just won't buy some things to begin with. For an Okie, canned chili is just pure-D wrong.

8:34 AM  
Blogger slickaphonic said...

I think I'm opening my bottle of wine today while I paint.

I can't tell you how relieved I am that it is wine and not canned chili.

8:53 AM  
Blogger ttractor said...

OK, I admit it! I ate the chili! If you are painting and drinking wine today, perhaps I'll join you by downing the last of the beer and working on my walls some more...

11:13 AM  
Blogger slickaphonic said...

it's a plan.

(i confess, a friend leaving for France bequeathed to me his pantry, and I ate no less than three cans of chili...I'm not proud about it, but it made me a stronger person).

12:51 PM  

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