Matters of taste

When my son was 3 or 4 years old, he couldn’t understand why I didn’t like the same foods he did.  He would say “You liked it when YOU were my age!” frustrated that sharing wasn’t working.  But, he was appalled by some of the things I put in my mouth, too.

One day, I found an article about taste buds.  It said that in the variety and fluctuations that are our bodies, we get a whole new set about every 5 years.  And that what tastes lovely to us now may get a completely different reading in 5 years.  I told Christopher about that and we figured that I am 6 taste bud cycles ahead of him.  That made sharing tastes, and not agreeing about them, more palatable, so to speak.

Several years later, I learned that a dear friend has a recessive  genetic trait that causes cilantro to taste like soap to her.  My husband adores cilantro.  He adds extra to his salsa, tacos, salads.  Clearly, he doesn’t have the recessive gene.  I taste the soap if there is a lot of cilantro.  I suspect that I am heterozygous.

Another instance of taste bud variations involves cardamom.  Chuck keeps me supplied with granola.  Since he makes it, it is exactly how I like it.  He was making it for himself, too, when we weren’t living together.  He likes cardamom and added it to his batch.  I was visiting and tried it.  I was completely overwhelmed by the cardamom.  The next time he made it, he decreased it significantly so that I could taste it, but not be overwhelmed.  The problem with that was, he couldn’t even tell it was there.

The upshot of all this taste variation awareness is that our response to “That’s too sweet” or “Ew. You have all of that.” is to laugh at how different bodies are.

Death, be not proud

I think I have always had a curiosity about what people do at the end of life, their own and the lives of people they know.  Funeral rites, grieving, afterlife beliefs, all intrigue me.

I remember being left in the car while my grandparents went to a funeral because they thought I was too young to go and, besides, I didn’t know the man who had died. I was curious to know what happened at a funeral and was really annoyed not to be allowed to go.  They were probably right, though.  I’d have been asking questions the whole time and annoyed everyone there.

I think I was 4 or 5 at the time.

Because of that fascination, I tend to enjoy wandering in old cemeteries.  I take pictures of the markers and look  for the stories of the family, such as I can puzzle out.  I am intrigued by the symbols used on the tombstones and fascinated by the elaborate decorations and money spent.  The vast tracts of land that are used to grown stones from boxes of bones make me scratch my head, too.  There are monuments to people who are remembered by no one living.

I tend to have an outside-looking-in view when someone I know is dealing with the death of a loved one, even when it is one of my own relatives.  I don’t believe in life after death.  I believe all time is Now, we just see it from somewhen that is limited because we are experiencing Eternity from the pinhole of our hereandnow perspective.

This means that I try to make the hereandnow good and hold it in my memory with love.

My photos of Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte, NC

My photos of Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Kitty has a potty mouth

I recently learned the word “lalochezia.”  It is “Emotional relief gained by using indecent or vulgar language.”  That word was invented for me.  I swear when I talk like some people put salt on their food. It is automatic, without thought or malice.  I don’t type that way, much.

One day, I was at my parents house, in the kitchen, looking for the lid to a storage container.  I was sitting on the floor, going through the huge pile of them, trying to find the one that fit and had a little litany of “shit, damn, hell, shit, shit damn, damn, damn, shit, hell, damn” going.   Mostly under my breath.   My dad walked in, heard me and started laughing.

I said, “What?  Your laughing because I can’t find a lid to the damn bowl?”

He said, “No, some things just don’t change.  One day when you 3 or 4, I came in your room and you were looking for something in your toy box going ‘shoot, durn, shoot, durn, shoot, shoot, shoot, heck.’  You’re doing the same thing, now, in the grown up version.”

I had a co-worker complain to our manager about my language one time.  I explained that it wasn’t likely to change.  I said “I don’t swear AT her.  And if she hadn’t heard those words before now, she wouldn’t know what they meant to be offended by them.  It’s just words.”

I have always agreed with George Carlin that “‘shoot’ is ‘shit’ with two Os” and I believe you may as well say what you mean instead of being coy.

A guy goes into a bar

An old fellow is sitting in the pub with his dog beside him. There's
a television over the bar and the dog is looking at it.

Another man watches for a long time, and then finally goes over and
says, "I notice your dog has been watching the movie on TV. It's
really weird. It's like he's following it. He looked sad at the sad
parts, and it almost looked like he laughed at the funny parts, and
then I'd swear he wanted to applaud at the end like he really loved
the movie. I'm surprised!"

"Aye, I'm surprised too," the dog's owner says. "He hated the book."