Sunday, December 21, 2008

Don't Fuck With Muffins

I really hate how muffins have become the new cupcake. I like muffins. Scratch that, I LOVE muffins. But a muffin is no cupcake. Not a cupcake, I say! A muffin should be a delightful bread substitute, often with a delicious swirl of carrots or zucchini, perhaps banana. None of this chocolate chip, frosted fudge whirl. That's dessert shit!

I hate other things. I hate waiting for my free online episodes of Mad Men to buffer. I hate buffering! I hate hangovers. I hate fake girls. I hate salmon. I hate how bad Heroes has gotten.

But I really, really hate the muffin thing! When did this happen? Have they always been a sugary, cuppy cake? At Thanksgiving, I wanted to make carroty wonderful muffins, and my friend said, surprised at my choice for her dinner table, "Muffins? Really?" Yes. Really! REALLY!

You may think I'm ridiculous, but I'm sad at the state this world is in. Muffins are small, muffins are tasty, muffins are without a liner, and muffins are nutritious, depending what you put in them. MUFFINS!

Friday, December 19, 2008

On Coming Home for Christmas

I lapse into old habits.

I eat frozen cookies out of the basement freezer while watching old movies late at night. I snap at my mother. I often leave the discussion at the dining room table to sit alone in my room, silent.

My mother hugs me too much, and tells me adamantly she won't share me with anyone. She doesn't want me to go to New York. She wants to snuggle me until I fuse to her breastplate.

My grandfather laughs at my bad jokes about Franz Ferdinand, and then shakes his head when I talk about books he doesn't like or movies he didn't understand.

The rain sleets across the green lawns like hissing spit. It's almost frozen, but not quite. Once, when I was seven, I sat in front of the tv on a Sunday night, and asked my father what it took for snow to fall. He told me that it had to be 32 degrees, and the clouds must be full of precipitation. I was disappointed. I had wanted him to tell me that he could make the snow fall, if I wanted. I did.

Another time the sky was purple, it was nighttime, and we went outside and made mazes in the frosty street without speaking, and my sister wore her boyfriend's oversized green coat, and my brother was quiet, and I was utterly fulfilled with my life.

The house is warm, because there's a new heater. And a new tv. And a new boat is coming too. Santa is no longer a person, he's actually the internet.

We eat too much, and drink wine at every meal. My grandfather drinks margaritas afterwards, and it knocks him out until 2 am, when I hear him sighing in his sleep, and waking up to pace his room.

Christmas is about these five people. But I'm strung between worlds. I have Pennsylvania health insurance and Pennsylvania plates, but I live far away now. I ran away from them, I think. I didn't mean to. They picked the wrong place to live, twenty-one years ago. It's not my fault.

My brother-in-law hugs me and says, "You really haven't been away that long, you know." So why does it seem like years? I've changed. Can't you see it? No one comments. Maybe I haven't changed that much, or not at all.

It's Christmas, and every year since I was twelve I lit one particular candle on Christmas Eve so I could talk to God on the holiest of holy days: the Present Day. (I didn't mean it that way.) I wanted to believe in Jesus Christ, and one time I even wrote him a note on the computer so Santa could give it to him, and my parents wrote me a note back. My parents the Agnostics played Jesus for me. If that's not the spirit of Christmas, I don't know what is.

This year, I don't have much to give. Sure, it's because I'm poor, but also because I feel empty. I feel like I gave so much away this year, I tried to give myself away too, but I stuck.

Once, my brother and sister and I walked to the church down the street because it was snowing, and we threw some snowballs, and then we lay down in the road, and listened to the snow falling on our faces. It sounded like sugar sifting, or hair freshly cut sweeping past your ears. My sister whispered, "Listen. Isn't that beautiful?"

I must have changed. I think I did.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


When I first moved to New York, I trained with a girl from Manhattan Beach, California. Like the island itself, and like the girl who came from there, Manhattan Beach seemed highly exotic to me. I knew, from what she had told me, it was near Los Angeles (Land of Beautiful People) and that is was, indeed, a beach. I daydreamed of white sands and houses filled with overflowing ferns and sundresses year round. I liked the idea of being this girl. She was someone I knew, but not well, and so, of course, it seemed like her life could only ever have been perfect. She was kind, and beautiful. She had long, golden-brown hair, and she wore white boots with mint green tights and a matching coat. She laughed, and men turned. And she ate persimmons.

I'd never seen a persimmon before I watched her eat one. Was it a tomato? Was it a sort of apple? Where do they come from?

I asked her what it tasted like. "Brown sugar," she said.

Years have turned since then. I've moved away from Manhattan, to Los Angeles, closer to the beach, though not into a house right up on the waves. I do wear sundresses year round, even though it is December. I talk to my friend once in a long while. And, today, I bought a persimmon. I think it must be fitting. I want my life to be brown sugar, packed, dense, sweet on my tongue.

I put the persimmon in the refrigerator. It seems very cold. It's a perfect orange-red, with four flat leaves greening its peak. Its the color of tomato soup, when you mix it with cheese, or creme.

Wow. The first bite tastes like nothing. What a letdown.

I won't be stopped. I close my eyes. Still, the second bite tastes like nothing. It's a very mushy fruit inside.

The third bite. Ah, there's a little sweetness. Not much. I am biting more quickly now. Maybe it's a quantity thing? There's a little gravel taste, mixed in with the softness. The stiff leaves are thick, and they're getting in the way. How do you eat this thing?

It's almost gelatinous on the inside. I can taste more of the sweetness, but its not much. This is no peach, no plum at all. This persimmon is an odd duck indeed, not entirely tasteless, but not flaunting itself either. This persimmon holds secrets.

The inside is not one solid color, its a portrait of flushing reds. There are caverns of deep juiciness, and smooth strings of vertical orange. Still, it's no mango. The juice spreads across my mouth. This is no pear, either. No, this is a persimmon, and I couldn't cut it into slices if I wanted to, I couldn't divide it like a clementine easily parts with its sections, I couldn't do anything with this persimmon it didn't want to do.

Hm. I guess that's the end. A little bit of a disappointment. But. I don't feel hungry. I can taste the heavy creme of sweet in my mouth. The leaved core sits a little slumped, used.

I am a Manhattan Beach girl now, I guess. I live in sunshine, I wear dresses that swing, and I eat persimmons. I don't do anything I don't want to do. I laugh, and I don't care who turns. I am exotic.