“‘It has been said,’ he began at length, withdrawing his eyes reluctantly from an unusually large insect upon the ceiling and addressing himself to the maiden, ‘that there are few situations in life that cannot be honourably settled, and without any loss of time, either by suicide, a bag of gold, or by thrusting a despised antagonist over the edge of a precipice on a dark night.” – Hilaire Belloc quoting Ernest Bramah’s Kai Lung’s Golden Hours
The above photo is a collage from my design class. It drove me crazy. I do not like collage. It brings out the worst in me, given that I don’t deal with total chaos in a very productive way. I had no idea what I was doing. Still, it taught me one thing about modern art, which is that if you have no idea what you’re doing, people will still find meaning in the finished product. I think the entire class sat in puzzlement for a few minutes when it came time to critique my piece, and then they pulled some bizarre interpretations out of the air. So as they say: “leave ’em laughing or wondering what the hell you meant.”
Saturday & Sunday
September 16, 2012
Carter was sick and yet he was still, at his own insistence, baking. His low-grade cold and my night classes meant that this week, the house was a bonafide disaster: pieces of mail were scattered hither and thither, clumps of molding food languished in the fridge, and dishes sat squat and grim in our sink.
Still, we had been talking about carrot cake for the last two weeks. I’d even purchased the requisite cream cheese, but our desserts remained yet simple, blocks of dark chocolate or spoonfuls of ice cream dug out straight from the carton. Our cooking was even more abysmal: for three out of the five weeknights, we’d ordered takeout: dumplings, sushi, Thai.
Carter had hit the worst of his cold on Friday, and things were unambiguously gray on Saturday. He requested that I make my classic minestrone soup and I did; we were both so glad for the homecooked food, dense with vegetables, that we ate it two meals in a row–dinner Saturday night and then again for breakfast the next morning. I remember the evening meal better. Carter was dipping a heavy spoon into the broth, flecked with shards of parmesan, while I sipped at my small bowl, pecking meanwhile at the leftover, half dried-out pad thai.
The matter of the cake hung over our heads like a question mark. I don’t remember who decided to bake–was it him or was it me? Was it him being afraid that I would bake, and therefore volunteering himself for the effort? In any case I was peeling carrots and he was creaming eggs into oil. One small snafu: in the course of shredding the peeled carrots in the food processor, he shredded the carrot tops too. Oops. Extra fiber?
Once the wet ingredients were combined with the dry, and the cake pan pushed gingerly into the hot oven, the scent of cinnamon and nutmeg filled the house like a cloud. I checked it regularly–perhaps a bit impatiently, to tell the truth. And it fluffed up obligingly, almost to the very edge of the pan.
When we finally pulled the brown and orange confection out of the oven, I felt as if it weighed twice as much as when we put it in. Impossible, of course.