Lettuce Pray

It’s been a difficult past few weeks.

Lately it’s been hard not to bubble over into hyperbole and give in to the urge to stay in and avoid humanity. It’s definitely doable – now that groceries can be ordered online and delivered straight to your door – and definitely tempting because apparently, nothing is sacred anymore. Not going for pancakes. Or walking on sidewalks. Not even salad greens.

I used to struggle with greens. Once, frustrated with my inability to eat vegetables, my mother forbade me from leaving the table until I had eaten all the chayote on my plate. It wasn’t even a lot, about four or five good-sized chunks, but an hour and some mild gagging later, I had barely made a dent. All the action that poor chayote got was on the prongs of my fork, getting pushed slowly round and round on my plate in a rapidly congealing sauce. I think the sum total of chayote  I was successfully able to swallow that day was two, at most. I know my mother only had my best interests at heart, but no one won that day.

Everyone knows vegetables are good for you. While I still won’t eat chayote,  I like to think my relationship with greens has improved. I’ll occasionally have a salad when I feel like pretending to be a responsible adult, tomatoes in quesadillas are yummy, and having spinach makes me feel positively righteous.  Now this. The great E.coli brouhaha of 2018, where America has a meltdown over a green, leafy vegetable. So far Canadian lettuce is still safe to eat, but between disturbed young men shooting kids up in schools and the rising use of automobiles as weapons to cause maximum loss of life, having something as mundane as lettuce posing as a potential killer is just the icing on the cake. Barry Manilow was right, some good things never last (because of E.coli).

Has produce become weaponized? Just last week, an Australian library was hastily evacuated due to a potential chemical hazard. A bio-hazard team was dispatched, and what they thought was a gas or chemical leak turned out to be a durian that had been left in a cupboard that had started to rot, its gases having infiltrated the library’s air conditioning system. Durian, the famous fruit that tastes like heaven and smells like hell had caused the police and the fire department to get involved and forced at least five hundred students and their teachers to hastily leave a building fearing for their lives. The smell must have been incredible.

Going to a Waffle House can kill you. Green, leafy vegetables can kill you. When even walking on the sidewalk is dangerous, how does one still retain enough faith in the world and in humanity to go on and keep living?  If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past few weeks, it’s to wash your vegetables thoroughly before eating them. Also, to try and take things one step at a time. I need to remind myself to keep trying to respond and not react and to believe that things can and will get better. Because this too shall pass. According to Facebook, it may pass like a kidney stone. But it will pass.

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