Monday, September 10, 2001

The Smell of Yellow

"The creaking of the tented sky/The ticking of Eternity/I saw and heard, and knew at last/The How and Why of all things, past,/And present, and forevermore/The Universe, cleft to the core/Lay open to my probing sense"
-Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Renascence"

For as far back as I remember which is further back then most of you know, I've loved the smell of bananas. There's something about the fruit's fragrance that conjures up sunny happy thoughts that swirl around my brain like a narrow and winding Icelandic road. Unfortunately I've never enjoyed the taste even though I'll admit the taste is pretty much what you would expect from the smell. Throughout my life I've tried my darndest to like bananas but there is something about the texture, and a fruit that doesn't squirt, that just doesn't sit right with me.

I love banana-flavored candy, banana-flavored drinks and banana bread. I even like Cha Cha Cha's fried plantains, which have to be related to the banana in some way. I remember as a kid that my fixation with wanting to like bananas went so far that whenever Mom would serve hot dogs I'd carefully peel back the wiener's skin and do my best monkey imitation. You know that old saying, "you are what you eat?" well it would be quite fitting if only I liked the taste of bananas.

I'll go so far as to say that when the day comes when it's my turn to depart from this Earth that I hope the last thing that comes across my senses is the smell of a banana. For Pete's sake God even designed the fruit in the shape of a grin.

If there is one thing better than the smell of bananas it's the feeling that comes from carefully cultivating a home garden and after a summer's long effort finally being able to enjoy the fruits from the labor. I gotta say that I've really enjoyed my cucumbers this year (and no I don't go so far as to peel them like a banana before I enjoy them). The last few weeks I've waited for my green tomatoes to ripen. Last week they began turning yellow and usually once that happens the tomatoes become fully ripe within days. But it wasn't happening this time. Nope, they stayed yellow.

It was a bit frustrating because I was really hankering for the taste of some garden tomatoes. Then one day my neighbor came over when he saw me watering the plants (with my garden hose that is). "I see you're growing some of those yellow tomatoes. I've never tried them. How are they?" At first I thought he was talking crazy but then it dawned on me that the reason my tomatoes weren't getting red had nothing to do with the ripening process. I had bought some wacky hybrid!
Who knew there are yellow tomatoes? As I peeled my first ever non red tomato and bit into the sweet plump tasting fruit/vegetable, I was quite happy. It almost resembled a peach once it was pealed and I swear I smelled the smell of a banana.

I'm learning all sorts of new lessons these days so earth shattering that long held previous beliefs are now under serious doubt. So am I the only one who associates smells with actual objects? Do the rest of you smell things by their color? Have I missed other major things, been deluded about something else so simple throughout the years? Yellow tomatoes?

Speaking of yella, the end of summer jaundice hue took another colorful turn the other night with my feline roommate learning a new trick after all these years. Max is having more and more trouble with his leaping ability. Jumps up to favorite window ledges that once were second nature now take minutes as he hesitates before he tries and more and more ends up mistiming, misjudging his jump and hitting something he didn't mean to hit, or landing short of the mark. He doesn't seem to be in any pain so I wonder if it's a dwindling confidence thing.

But anyhoo, I've taken to not being as careful with kitty-proofing my house these days. I don't mean to tempt the little fellow but I'm not putting things as far out of reach as before. I've even taken to doing the man thing and leaving the toilet seat up figuring although it isn't much of a jump, given his inaccurate jumping ability he'd never try to jump up on the lip for the chances of him falling into the bowl seem mighty high. But early one morning I heard him get up from the bed and heard him drinking water. I didn't think any thing of it until the drinking went on and on, and on and on, and I knew that there wasn't enough water in his dish to account for all the slurping. So I got up and he scampered out of the bathroom, a room he seldom visits for fear of running water. I guess the water was saltier than he's used to. Let's just leave it at that. "Ewwww!" I exclaimed.

But now I'm armed with more digs for the little guy. The other night as I got off the phone with a friend, after a weird and difficult discussion, I turned to Max who was sitting contentedly on the couch next to me and said, "That was sure sad." Max looked up with smug indifference as if to suggest that the one yammering was yammering nonsense. So I had to jab a barb, "Yeah, I may be pathetic but at least I ain't the one drinking urine..."

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