Monday, June 18, 2007

In the wake of gaseous emissions

My job requires a certain amount of mental focus, and any time mental focus is required you get a certain amount of brain rebellion. Last week while at work I took notes on the topics my wandering mind encountered during a period of less than an hour:

Revenge I’d like to get
The nature of cynicism
My family
My teeth
Sustainable agriculture
Should my Mom take vitamin B supplements?
I might as well just get up and get some Cheetos
Guilt about Cheetos consumption
Healthy diets
Rice Steamers

Why is it so hard for the brain to simply do one thing? Multi-tasking is uncomfortable, but not doing it is almost impossible over any length of time.

I can see some other people from where I sit, which is in the back of the room. One morning before the shift started I heard and saw a conversation up ahead between a lady and two men on the row in front of her. She was showing off a box of Crunch and Munch she’d just purchased. “Now I’m not going to be able to concentrate for the sound of you crunching,” one of the men said. His buddy smiled and nodded. The buddy, we’ll call him Constantine, has Leonid Brezhnev eyebrows and a forearms furred with razorwire-like loops of dark hair.

As we came back to work after lunch, I told my neighbor that Constantine looks like he should be a character in a movie. “A mafia movie,” she agreed.

Then during the shift I was plagued by mental images of the lady with the Crunch ‘n’ Munch pouring the contents of her box over the forearms of Constantine. Almost none of the kernels reached the floor. They attached themselves to the wool on his arms. Then he held his arms over his head with a grin, as if victorious.

Now what the hell kind of purpose does such thinking serve? You’d think evolution would have eliminated all of the members of the human family tree who spent valuable brain energy on such pointless things – that saber-toothed tigers or jaguars would have gotten them all before they were able to reproduce.

Another day after lunch somebody in the rows to my right farted. It such an unabashed, Platonic ideal of a fart that it struck me not as a fart, but as somebody trying to produce the perfect sound of farting by artificial means. It was loud and started and stopped about three times. I waited several seconds before I leaned over to my neighbor and said, “What was that?” Maybe somebody had flopped down into a vinyl office chair too hard. But no. My neighbor confirmed that it was indeed a fart. So then I glanced over there to see if I could figure out who it came from, and met the angry eyes of a man with an expression on his face that said, “Don’t EVEN be thinking it was me who did that.” I had to shut my eyes tight and remember to breathe deep, even breaths to keep from screaming with laughter.

So I wasted valuable brain time imagining the other things that could produce such a noise. I imagined a silverback gorilla sneaking silently into the room and ripping a couch cushion in half lengthwise. A couch cushion with a really sturdy fabric and dense foam that made the gorilla stop ripping, get a better grip, and start again three times.

My other neighbor said the fart was more like somebody making repeated attempts to start a hand cranked lawn mower.
Love me the hell out of some Mimosa blossoms this time of year, like those featured above. Saw them outside the GSO Farmer's Curb Market, where I astonished myself by purchasing beets. I'm trying to eat locally and in season a la Barbara Kingsolver in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Even though the tone of it makes me a little ill - she's so cheerful. Anyway, it was a further astonishment to find that if you boil them first and then stir-fry them with apples (which unfortunately came from Harris Teeter and probably originated in California), they are not bad.

1 comment:

nature girl said...

Hey, nice pictures. I love mimosa, too. The name makes me wonder if they're some kind of invader, though. I have a recipe for beet flannel hash with potatoes and corned beef (it's kind of like corned beef hash only pretty). I'm not brave enough to try them another way although pickled beets with dyed pickled eggs are good. I've never made them, though, and they may almost be considered an ethnic specialty of the country cooking variety. I have some beets in my refrigerator right now, with potatoes, but no corned beef. I'm pretty sure I already cooked the leaves at least. Ah, well.