“Come winter time, you will ‘receive’ a lot of oranges. Seriously, like, a LOT.”
That’s what we were told all the way back in August at ‘Here’s How To Be a Teacher’ in Korea orientation. I thought, Oh, haha, oranges. Hopefully no one will give me oranges because they will understand that I’m sort of weird about fruit.
But of course that is not what happened. Instead, come mid-November, oranges started to replace those nasty grapes (thank god) as the, “YOU MUST EAT AND ENJOY THIS NOW OR WE WILL THINK YOU ARE AN ALIEN” fruit.
I resisted it for a while. I don’t know why. I don’t know how to explain why I’m such a freak about eating fruit when it is offered to me, as opposed to when it’s on my own terms (which is rarely). But that seems to be the central fruit conflict (at least my neurosis make for frequent blog fodder).
Anyway, for a couple of weeks I managed to upset one of my coteachers on a daily basis by declining to eat my orange on the spot, before class or at snack time or after lunch. It was because of him that I caved eventually; I felt bad that I kept saying “No thanks,” without explaining why. Seeing how fundamentally bothered he was by my disinterest in the ubiquitous citrus, I just wanted to bring some calm.
However, it was a false acceptance of oranges at that point, and just a few days later I laid into Erin on the bus ride to Seoul for PURCHASING these damn oranges.
“Why the hell would you BUY those?? Don’t you get enough of them as gifts from students and coteachers? Aren’t you sick of them? Stop being ‘healthy’ damnit. You bought a whole sack? What is wrong with you?”
She had every right to punch me in my mouth for being such a shithead about some goddamn clementines and her good intentions, but being the gentle person she often is, she gracefully accepted my bitch behavior (as she often does) and demonstrated herself as the better person.
Fast forward to this week: I’m Skyping with my family. My brother inquires, “What are you eating? Another orange?”
I jumped out of my seat and retrieved the yellow baggy that I’d thrown in the trash the night before.
“Yes! Look! LOOK!!! I finished a WHOLE BAG OF ORANGES!!!!! It’s like twenty oranges you know.”
My brother frowned at me and got up to leave the conversation, obviously bored and saddened by the mundane details of my life, while my Mom piped in, “Wow! That’s good!”
I went on to remind her (as if she hasn’t known this about me for years), that I NEVER finish fruit. And this is a very significant achievement for me and that everyone should be aware of the importance of my having eaten all of my produce before it went bad.
It’s true. I’ve been loving my oranges. I eat one every night. They’ve replaced about 50% of my chocolate intake and some nights I have to have two because they are so delicious. I don’t know what changed, but it was something profound and I’ve been riding a “Ha, I am so self-improved” high ever since.
This morning though, I was reminded of just how far I’ve come in my fruit appreciation. Late for work (surprise!) I was searching for the notepad that I normally make my grocery lists on.
I opened my wardrobe where, before Christmas, I’d stashed all but one of my purses. Hastily, I stuck my hand in one bag and felt blindly for the notepad. All at once, I noticed a weird smell and felt that something wasn’t quite right at the bottom of this particular bag. I quickly retracted my hand only to find it covered in a fine, mildew green dust.
is was an orange. A forsaken, shriveled orange, one of many gifts I received in December, tucked away in the dark recesses of my closet for a solid three weeks.
It’s barely identifiable. This morning I had my suspicions about what this nastiness was, but I didn’t really have time to make certain of my discovery. I pondered for a moment, ran to the sink to wash my hand, and hurried out the door to catch the bus. It wasn’t even until this afternoon that I did the appropriate forensic testing to determine what exactly was going on in that purse.
Pretty gross huh? Bet you can’t wait to see what happens to the strawberries that have been in my fridge since Christmas.