BANANAS! And a Head Transplant

For two days now, my Del Monte breakfast banana has announced, by way of a very small sticker, that I could WIN a FREE BANANA COSTUME. I have given this some thought, and I have some questions for the fine folks at Del Monte, and for you!

First of all, who has ever heard of winning anything that one then has to pay for? I am not caffeinated sufficiently before breakfast, but even then I’d know that if this prize wasn’t FREE, there would be a scam brewing. Second, why would anyone want a banana costume? Thirdly, if I went online (after securing the use of an electron microscope to read the exact web address) what guarantee would there be – if I were the lucky recipient of this largesse – that I’d receive one in the appropriate plus size?

Maybe you have always dreamed of wearing a banana costume. If so, go to the Del Monte banana website and get in on the draw. I’m telling you now that your desire might be a mistake. You can’t get up or down stairs in a banana costume. You can’t use a toilet. Your arms, constricted, are as useful as the mitts on a Tyrannosaurus rex. No leaving the house without banging your stem on the doorframe, either, and you’ll be rolling yourself into brown bruises down the stairs. And forget the bus. Forget driving a car.

All you would be, friend, is enslaved in the plastic wrap and padding of an advertisement for Del Monte bananas.

I eat bananas, cut up in a bowl, with toasted bagels, for breakfast, because potassium is good for me. I cannot abide the aroma (I would be more honest calling it the stench) of a ripe specimen of this fruit. I’m lucky my local No Frills sells them green. They taste fine to me the way I like them. Odourless. Two or three mornings a week.

Something else that’s odourless is whatever it is that’s causing me and a few other persons I’ve heard hither and yon to find ourselves in a sudden, desert-dry, eye-popping, tear-inducing, gritty-twine-around-the-windpipe, death-grip, choking cough, precipitated, my doctor and pharmacist say, by allergic post-nasal drainage gone awry. I’ve had to spend a chunk of change on a prescription for a night-time nasal spray. I have had to double up my 24-hour over-the-counter morning tablets. I’ve been spending large portions of the night upright on my couch.

And do you know what provides the most relief? Werther’s hard candies. Whenever the tickle starts.

Which is why sleeping’s been a problem. Who’s awake to unwrap and suck on a candy when they’re sleeping?

But things are looking up. I have been on the new nasal spray and allergy meds regimen for a week now, and my cough is diminishing. All the muscles involved in clearing blockages and inhaling large quantities of oxygen are tip-top, too, and my ribs don’t hurt anymore. Most days now, I don’t even cough hard enough to pee my pants even once.

I give it one more week, and then I’m calling my physician to ask for one of those newfangled head transplants.

If you see me around in a banana costume, breathing easy all day and night, you know I got one.

No Food, Wonders of the World, Art, No Food, Food

I tried to buy lunch today. I got this brainy idea yesterday – I’d visit the newly-opened restaurant on the corner, visit our famous museum, visit our famous art gallery, and enjoy ice cream for supper sometime around 7:30 this evening. President’s Choice Vanilla mixed with Breyer’s Dark Chocolate Truffle. I have enough left of each for one big bowl of it. I have saved it as a kind of a reward. For enduring a “webinar” I should listen to for professional purposes. That I’d rather not.

I live in a small town. People correct me, correctly, to advise that it is, in fact, a small City, Capital “C” – but it is really a town. And I – along with a large portion of the downtown populace – have been watching the dismantling of a failed culinary adventure for some months now, hoping, eagerly, for a different eatery to plunk down, prosper, and stay. Downtown took terrible hits years ago, I am told, losing commerce and all to the outskirts mall. Slowly, it’s been coming back. Each piece of the core propping up and encouraging the others. Two days ago, through the new, massive dark windows of this renovation venture, we could see booths and mops. Yesterday the signs were up, lights lit, the windows were rolled open and the happy hubbub of satisfied diners emanated out to those of us walking dogs and the like.

I googled the menu. I counted the cash. I walked over. I rejoiced in the closed windows – hey, it’s over thirty degrees Celsius with the humidity today – and then I went in.

My rule is: five minutes or being ignored by six separate staff, and I’m outta there. This lovely space, which shall remain nameless, was full. Unfortunately, it has been designed with a large number of extraordinarily comfortable looking six-person curved booths, many four-person booths along the long window wall, and a large, disheartening collection of tippy-toppy high tables for four, with matching tippy-toppy bar stools. And that’s it. So parties of two monopolize more room than is otherwise necessary. And parties of one do not belong. Also, as I stood there, I decided that no matter what happened, the high chairs were not a prudent perch. I am tall enough to hop up. Visions of my rump accelerating all the way down to the floor under a broken stool preoccupied me for a while, though. I did have some time to think about safety, and spectacle, and the social aspects and psychology of seating and comfort. As well as the optics of being elevated among this crowd to eat a burger.

In a city, people eating lunch do not gawk at whomever comes in, and then they do not gawk again when that person waits for a table. As I took inventory of seating design, I made slightly too long, disconcerting (for me) eye contact with probably ten customers, at whom I smiled, because this is a small town, but not one of the five individual wait staff walking right past me standing there would look me in the eye. You know that swervy motion people make with their whole head when a big bee flies by their nose? That’s what I got. Five times. The owners have another version of this place in a town close by that is spoken of highly. Ostensibly, they’ve done this “service” routine before. They may have, in fact, encountered a lone person waiting for a table in a full place before. I can’t tell you anything about it or what might have happened, though, because in a city, a staff member would say, “Hi! We’re so busy today! We’ll have a table in about twenty minutes. Is that okay?” In a town, this big woman is, to those from whom I would’ve ordered a big meal and a pint, and tipped well, absolutely invisible. It’s Las Vegas, pay-per-view magical. Except to ten customers. Who’d probably would’ve watched me eat. And drink. And break a chair.

So they may prosper, but they’ll do it without me.

Off I went to the famous, privately owned Stones & Bones Museum. Entrance fee: $7 even. Stuffed with an alarming large and varied menagerie of taxidermy, fantastic fossils, information posters, preserved specimens of this, that, and the other, and possessed of an excellent gift shop. The best thing about the Stones & Bones, though, amid the walls of beetles and butterflies and shark jaws and gems and dinosaur pieces and hunks of copper and snake skins and bird-killing spiders and EVERYTHING is the ebullient banter of amazed, chattering, joyful kids. One of whom, unprompted, pointed out to me in particular more details about a specific iridescent butterfly than I was quite prepared to enjoy. But still. There’s something wrong with you if you forget how that was – to see something so wondrous for the first time, and to tell somebody about it. It’s a great place.

So off to the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery. All contents actually owned by this sliver of a gem. As you will be told three times – all contents owned, I mean – and will thus, in all likelihood, remember. Admission free, donations gladly accepted. Two Emily Carr works beautifully displayed, with illustrations of how one, in particular, was restored to its bright self. Respectable Group of Seven in small number. Modern stuff upstairs. Pleasant and knowledgeable reception, and two interestingly informative volunteers. Thank you. I’ll be back in a year.

And then I walked my heat-heavy ankles over to a pub that had its doors all open. In this heat! So I came home.

Supper will be cremini mushrooms in olive oil and butter, with garlic and spinach, on spaghettini. And a beer. I doubt very much that there is a webinar in my near future. There will be ice cream. My ankles have returned to happiness. A good day, even without lunch.

* GPS! in case you’re helicoptering in! (I told you it is cool for kids!)