Just over two years ago, a mid-day email with a peculiar subject line—23 bananas—popped into my Inbox.
“… so far. My first edict as your friend is to tell you to stop buying bananas. You are henceforth only allowed to purchase one banana at a time.”
Sitting in my office, I LOL’d, even though I thought I’d never smile again, let alone laugh. You see, the day of that email, I was a mere 72 hours into the juncture whereby I went to bed married and woke up single.
The email was from my BFF, and in the time between marital status modification and her 23 bananas email, she had packed her bag, caught a flight from London, England, and arrived on my doorstep, ready to do those things best friends do best. Like clean out the fridge, organize the house, and begin the arduous task of setting my upside down world, right side up, one cleaning job at a time.
I forgot about the 23 bananas email, until last week, when I opened my freezer to a familiar sight.
I counted. Only 5, but 5 were enough to know the hoarding was, to borrow from Jack Nicholson in the “The Shining, “Baaaaaaaaaaaack!”
Hmmmm…. Two of us living here. No reason for freezer bananas. And I had successfully followed the “one banana at a time rule” for two years now. So why? Why the banana hoarding again?
Let’s just say that, living in a tiny flat, with no yard and baby steps into Project Friend and social distractions, I have an abundance of thinking time.
If ever there was an opportunity to do serious-freezer-banana-eviction or reach excess-banana-buying-self-enlightnment, it was now. I would examine my unconscious hoarding, with a goal to put an end to it, before the count got out of control or my BFF flew back for a visit.
First up. I love bananas. No… you don’t get it. I REALLY love bananas … their curvy shape, yellow hue, not to mention yummy taste—sweet, but not too sweet. It’s pretty much impossible for me to walk past a display without slipping a bunch in my cart.
And even if you have to buy a green bunch, a few days later, Bingo! Yellow, with no help required. Nutrition-packed, practically guilt-free eating. They unzip for Goddess sake, wrapped in a biodegradable skin that makes them easy to take or eat anywhere.
No fuss. No muss. …what-you-see-is-what-you-get.
Bananas are WYSIWYG in a world that isn’t always what it says it is or good at delivering on its promises… (just think Bell or Rogers’ phone bills, the misnomer of “large” in reference to gelato portion size or “tall” for a Starbucks small coffee… I mean, come on…)
And yes… bananas are also funny… phallic, perfect penis-joke fodder …excellent prank props.
My perfect mate should be a banana. (Get your mind out of the gutter… my kids are reading this… not the actual banana, but all the qualities I love and attribute to them.)
Is my subconscious making me squirrel bananas away in my freezer in lieu of a mate? Or am I nuts with too much time on my hands?
Should I philosophize about my mates like they’re all part of some big fruit basket? Will this help me to sort out the… watermelon in the room… a.k.a. my twice thwarted marital attempts and current (purposeful) mate-less status.
Okay, then… going with it. If what I really want for a mate is a banana, why did I actually only date two of them and not marry either?
Hmmm… the first banana did arrive during my last years of high school, too soon for me to recognize either that I wanted a banana or that he was one, and, by second year university I’d let him ( pardon the pun) “slip” away. I wasn’t thinking long term yet.
Though my first husband definitely wasn’t a banana, he was tall (6’ 2”) and lean (160 pounds), and blonde (a bit yellow), so you can see how I may have mistaken him for one. Plus, he was actually a very close facsimile, a plantain.
Consider the plantain…
These are a fruit for the patient. They take an excruciatingly long time to ripen, and it is only when you forget about eating them at all that they mature. Once they get a bit spotty and look like they’re almost ready to pitch, they’re ripe. Then they must be peeled, carefully sliced on the diagonal, and transferred to a buttery pan for a very long, very slow sauté. In the end, they’re totally yummy, with a flavor that while close to banana, just isn’t.
So a plantain does not a banana make, which explains why we didn’t make the long haul. We did, however, last long enough to go forth and multiply… and we dished up a three-son-fruit-salad, a plantain, a banana, and a wild blueberry (cannot be cultivated or contained but when lodges in the right spot, bears fruit that bursts with flavor).
Then came a long stretch of fruitlessness…. In other words, I sampled several varieties, but I was much too busy with my fruit salad sons to consider coupling up permanently with another fruit. And so it was that I failed to notice the appearance of the second banana, which once again, slipped away, along with about fifteen years and next thing I knew…
In walked a pomegranate.
Consider the pomegranate…
They are peculiar, funny looking things, promising a treasure trove of juicy red gems. They’re so darn unassuming you fall for their deal. But what they don’t let on is exactly how difficult it is to get to the gems or that there are about 613 of them, each of which is only 5 – 12 millimetres in size, AND it takes an awful lot to feel even remotely full, if you call what you do with them eating anyway.
Stick with me here… getting to the good stuff…
If and when you manage to pry a pomegranate open, dig through, find the fruit, wrest it free, and get one of the miniscule bits in your mouth, after a quick sweet-sour flavor burst, you find an annoying seed—IN EVERY SINGLE ONE—that must be chewed or somehow swallowed whole, without getting caught in your teeth.
Seriously, it takes about three days to find all of them. And the harvest efforts leave a colossal perma-red stain on your fingers. (There are reasons these are not a popular grocery store item and why they’ve been rebranded for sale as a bottled juice.)
To be fair, there is nothing wrong with pomegranates, if that’s what you want. Lots of people probably do, just not me. Too frustrating and way too much unexpected work for very little nutritional gain.
The results? My second divorce and current 2+ years 100% date free, the upshot of the pomegranate experience leading directly to my current self-avowed prohibition to all things fruit.
Maybe my hoarding is a subconscious reminder of what I now know I want, what I expect from and what suits me best in a mate. That would explain the hoarding returning, as well as the hoarding during my marriage, when I was stuck with a pomegranate.
Obviously, I get it. The problem was never the fruit, it was that I didn’t choose the right one for me: A banana.
My BFF had been spot on with on her first adage for my new life. And for two years I’ve mostly bought one banana at a time. But I am back to bunches. I’m okay with that moving forward, and I’ve come up with a strategy to keep the hoarding manageable.
Early this morning, I took the bananas out of the freezer and made two loaves of banana bread. I have a lovely new bunch sitting in my fruit basket, and an empty freezer, in case they aren’t eaten quickly enough.
And I’ve been thinking about something else…
Two years pomegranate free, I’ve finally scrubbed the last of the red stains from my hands and pried the last seed from between my back molars.
Maybe it’s time to lift the fruit moratorium.
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