Worriers worry. It doesn’t matter about what.
Every week, we are in a race to finish the bananas we have purchased before they go bad. My hair is graying at a quickening rate. The situation is taking its toll.
It starts on Saturday, when Dr. M goes grocery shopping. Sometimes, I go with her. Not to do anything useful. Just to…be there.
I spot other Senior husband-appendages looking exactly as I do, unshaven and carelessly attired. We nod in recognition, adding a shrug, signaling “How the Mighty have fallen!”
We used to do things. Amongst our numbers are top surgeons, airline pilots, titans of industry, all of whom, in their day, shouldered onerous responsibilities. I myself ran television shows, with multi-million dollar budgets, dozens of employees, hanging on my every command. We were sharp, we were respected.
Now, with sleepwalking gaits and glazed expressions, we are relegated to pushing the shopping cart, mumbling, “Do we need creamed corn?”, generally being treated like we’re five. Okay, sometimes, we use the cart like a scooter and crash into other shoppers. But heck, that’s the only excitement we have!
In an effort to rid herself of our annoyance, I am reluctantly dispatched to the fruit aisle, to pick up some bananas. And off I race, my invigorated pace energized with purpose.
Finally – Responsibility!
I’m selecting the bananas.
With responsibility, however, comes pressure. My assignment is to choose bananas we can finish eating before they have to be thrown away. The selection process is the essential opening salvo. As with a tennis rally, everything starts with the serve.
Some supermarkets I frequent have two counters piled with bananas – the “still-greeners”, and the “ready-to-eaters.” To be honest, I see no point to the green banana option. You take them home, and you have to wait till they turn yellow anyway before you can start eating them. What’s the difference where bananas turn yellow – in the supermarket, or in your house? In either case, the race doesn’t begin till they do.
And then, like the Kentucky Derby, it’s…”And they’re off!”
But unlike the Derby – or any other race – with bananas, you have no idea how long they have to run. The distance seems to vary, as if imprinted in the DNA of the individual banana. Or cluster of bananas.
There’ve been times when I’ve bought some seriously green bananas. I went to bed, and when I woke up the next morning…
The bananas had already gone bad!
It happened in one night! While I was sleeping! In less than twenty-four hours, those bananas went from the grocery bag to the garbage bag. Without apparently stopping at “edibility.” If I’d wanted to catch them at their “optimal moment”, I’d have to have woken up at two in the morning!
Breakfast was too late.
Those babies were trashward bound!
An equal partner in this evaluational equation is how many bananas you buy. You can get the “green-yellow” thing perfect, but if you overshop, you are unavoidably dead in the water. (There may be talk of salvaging the “inedibles” by making banana bread, but trust me, invariably, those yucky bananas end up in a medium-sized trash liner with a tie.)
You find the bananas on the supermarket shelves in bunches – normally, from three bananas per, up to seven. And there, the calculation begins. Two of us living in the house?
How many bananas do we need?
Five seems to best suit our banana-eating habits. But sometimes, there is no bunch containing five bananas. What do you do then? Bundle ‘em? A bunch of three and a bunch of two? There is no “two.” A “four” and a “one”? One banana is not a bunch.
Your only option is to “overshoot” – you go to the “seven” bunch, and break a couple of bananas off. Which somehow feels, to me at least, like, I’m not sure you’re allowed to do that. You take the “five”, and leave the “two-bunch” you broke off just lying there? It somehow seems wrong.
I can’t remember a time when, before twisting the unwanted number of bananas off the stem, I did not first look around to see if anybody was watching. Was this really okay? Or was it some illegitimate form of fruital molestation, which, if they picked it up on the surveillance camera, you would wind up answering for it in court?
When I ran shows, I made countless decisions every day. I know how to handle this. You make your call, and you move on. No agonizing. No looking back.
I take five bananas, ready to eat tomorrow. I track down my spouse, and I drop them in the shopping cart.
Sorry, pal, we’re just getting started. The tougher decisions lie ahead.
I am standing in the kitchen thinking about a snack, a stainless-steel metal-basket in front of me holding our stacked-high assemblage of fresh fruit (apples and pears are also perishability concerns, but not like bananas.)
A decision must be made. There are three bananas left, the timing (based on an eyeballing of the advancing peel spottage) favoring their going black and mushy before we get to them.
I don’t really want a banana. But do I instead prefer to hold off, mess up on the timing, and end up standing over a trashcan, singing “Taps” to a couple of blackened bananas?
I guess maybe a half a banana would be okay. But really, I am more in the mood for a Fuji.
Wait a minute. This is my life we’re talking about. Do I really want to live out my days, a helpless slave to deteriorating produce?
Then again, I picked those bananas. If we lose the battle, those banana casualties would be on my head. How could I ever sleep at night? (Or live it down domestically.)
To eat (when I don’t want to) or not to eat (and wind up dispatching them uneaten to the garbage dump.) It’s a terrible dilemma. One that weighs heavily on my heart.
A financial meltdown, a war, or a personal health emergency would immediately shrink this conundrum to the triviality that it is. But at the moment, with nothing more pressing for this chronic agonizer to worry himself sick about…