Big Juicy

Tomatoes on the vine. Damn, they look good.

I had my eye on that tomato. I wanted it, but I wanted both of us to be ready.

I don’t know that I saw its flower. There were a bunch of flowers that late spring. They were little yellow stars against the deep green of the vines. I didn’t hone in on one or the other as they twinkled in the morning sun. I was just happy to see them get off to a great start.

The flowers soon disappeared and were replaced by little grape sized globs (or maybe globes?). Tomatoes-in-waiting. Where I am doing the waiting. Waiting for tomatoes. I’m encouraging them, too.

It’s funny how the flowers all appear at, or at least near, the same time, but the indivitual spheres take off on their own pace. Like a race.

So from the undifferentiated yellow flowers springs a free-for-all of vegetables. Some grow fast, some grow in clumps and some hang out by themselves. Sunning themselves, supping on the morning dew, and growing.

The tomato I am watching is not only the biggest, but it’s the one that starts blushing. As it changes from the waxy green, it first looks like a bruised face. Like it was in a fight and the fleshy part of it’s chin took a punch. The discoloration evens out, and it is orange. There is a ring of yellow at the top, near the vine, but the rest of the tomato is more carrot than zucchini.

This is NOT the time to disturb it. The contrast, especially next to its still-green sibings, makes it look red. But it’s not. It’s orange. A rainstorm moves the progress along. Now, when you cup it in your hand, the tomato starts to feel less hollow and more heavy. It passes from orange-red to red-orange. But it’s not done yet.

I very gently and very slowly wiggle the tomato against the vine. It’s umbilical cord is holding fast. Not yet.

The next day was brilliantly sunny. The tomato is definitely red. Any hint of orange is gone as is the yellow-orange ring at the top. I brush away the nub left from the dried up flower at the bottom of the orb. The green vine looks even darker and lusher next to the deep pomodoro red. I test the vine. The vine releases the fruit into my hand.

I draw the tomato to my face and breathe in the core side. It smells a little pine-y with a hint of what might be a whiff of hops, like cascades hops. The top definitely smells green, grassy green. It’s warm from the sun.

The tomato is much heavier than it looks. As I compress my fingers around it, it gives in. You can feel the moisture just inside its waterballoon self. The red walls, though, breathe back. There are no indentations left from fingers.

I bring it into the house and give it a perfunctory run under the water from the faucet. I put two pieces of bread in the toaster. I take the serrated knife and cut off a thin bottom and then gently saw back and forth to make a bunch of slices that I place on the mayonnaised bread. A twist of the pepper mill, a sprinkle of coarse salt and the frills of the outside green flounce of romaine finish it.

I bite in and the wet of the tomato spills down from the corner of my mouth and soaks my chin and my hand.

Did I tell you it was still warm? From the sun?

Half-full

A sandwich wrapped in paper.

She stood balancing with one foot in the street with her other, mostly sensible, pump on the curb. The door on her silver Honda was swung wide, but she wasn’t in a hurry.

She was pulling the two halves of a sandwich apart. The sandwich maker clearly didn’t cut it clean through. It was wrapped well, and the paper was protecting the meal from the cold wind.

It’s the second day of Spring, but Winter is not quite ready to let go.

The man was there in his usual spot on the bench. He was in the neon orange snow pants and neon orange jacket. He doesn’t wear this gear every day and the pants only on especially cold days. Usually he just wears a hat, but today his cragged face–one of a not old man but a man who has lived old–was framed by the orange wimple of the hood pulled tight, framing around his face.

He looked up at the woman fighting with the sandwich, his head slightly tilted back with a beatific smile. It’s unusual for him to engage like this. Sometimes he interacts with people imagined, sometimes real. It’s not unlikely that his language is punctuated with hard words spoken sharply. Not today, though. Today he’s wearing a smile of a sweet child happy with his people.

Maybe the woman is his daughter, or his sister or a friend from before. Maybe she is just a kind stranger, and he is reflecting that kindness. Perhaps she was splitting that sandwich and they were going to eat together.

At My Fingertips 

There just may be something seriously wrong with me. It’s like I don’t need to wait for a physical internet implant. I think that maybe I’m becoming The Internet of Things. I’m reduced to an acronym: IoT.

How did this get to be?

So today I was hungry and thinking about lunch. That’s what you do when it’s 12:08 p.m., and you’re working on an epic procrastination. You exit your 11:30 a.m. meeting that was blissfully over by 11:48 a.m., even though you were seven minutes late. On that happy note, let’s think about lunch.

There’s tons of choices within a few blocks. I have the curse of choice. (Don’t hate. I used to work at a secure location with the only choices being the type of bread for your Subway sandwich. After 2 weeks, I recognized that all the meat choices tasted exactly the same, so I’d get the veggie and save a buck. Sometimes I’d order the the wheat bread and sometimes the salty spicy bread that I don’t remember what it was called. I’m trying to forget. I can’t even walk by a Subway today without gagging.)

Back to my surfeit of choice.

I didn’t know what I wanted. There was nobody to ask. I looked around, and they were all gone. Siri is more than (or is that less than?) useless. I looked at my screen and asked,

“What do I want to eat?”

Nothing. Fingers to keyboard,  I googled,

“What do I want to eat?”

I half-imagined, with great hope, that the results would be topped by one of those Google cards that you gives you the answer when you type, “How far to Dublin?”

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or what is the “French word for bread?”

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“What do I want to eat?”

 

 

 

 

 

Nope. Nothing. Nada.

Always hopeful, I looked down a bit. Sometimes there isn’t a card. Like when you say, who won The Bachelor last night? (Really, is winning what they do? Another post, another time.)

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The all knowing Google has a variety of ways to answer.

I looked down the search results. There was no answer. There was, however, a Buzzfeed Quiz.  A few clicks later (Do you eat meat? Are you hungry or hangry? Which image of the sky do you prefer? Unicorn or Winged Horse?), I had an answer.

A sandwich.

Fine. A sandwich it would be. At least I had an answer.

I pulled on my long black trench and made like Snape and his billowing robes around the corner and down the fire escape to the street. Before I reached ground, I grabbed my phone out of my pocket and powered up Yelp–location on–to find sandwiches, current location.

Standing outside on the sidewalk, I started poking the little pins on the screen. No. No. No. No. No. No.

Wait. Is that the one I was thinking of?

I click through to the restaurant deets. I don’t think it was the one, but maybe this is that other one I walked by before? I can’t tell for sure from the address. I pinch my fingers out on the map. Not the one I was thinking of but the one I walked by. Might as well try it. I’m now headed east at a clip.

It was a great sandwich. Bigger than The Dog’s big head. I sat there and looked out the window at the scurrying lunch goers as I munched away. Good choice, Yelp!

I pretty much finished my sandwich, tossed the paper remains in the trash, used the hand sanitizer to clean away the mayo that had leaked, ambled up the stairs back to the lunch-bustle and took the sidewalk headed back West.

My hand rested on the phone in my pocket and my mind went to another app. What am I going to enter for this calorie buster into my Fitness Program?

I decided to make a new entry. Big ass sandwich, 750 calories. But wait, nobody knows what I ate. I paid in cash. It’s a secret from my Internet life. Not even The Google knows, and I don’t have to ask. I can do whatever I want.

Ha! I got back my humanity.