Also, the Real Problem with Fried Chicken.
Recently I was in the Land of Fun known as the laundromat, and a story came on the radio about how people were found to be happier later in life than in their twenties. Whoa. Newsflash!!! Anyway it went on to say that as people got older and went through more adversity they were better able to cope and stay in balance. The owner of the laundromat was there, swishing a mop around and suddenly that mop went ballistic. UNTIL YOU DON’T! he yelled. YOU’RE NOT BETTER ABLE TO COPE!! and so forth. He turned a bit pink and I reminded him to breathe and lower his shoulders. I happen to know that he’s had a pretty large adversity serving the past few years, and I said: True. You cope til you don’t. Then you have a massive snap fest, wind up face down on broken glass, struggle to get up and wait til the cuts heal. He actually laughed, looked at me, and said that somehow he knew I’d get it. I was, after all, the one who was there the day the Big Washer Broke and the entire laundromat was two feet deep in water in about 15 minutes. A man wearing a t-shirt saying he’d given himself to Jesus made a call to the posted emergency number that was so astonishingly inchoate it made me glad Jesus accepted the poor lamb. I may have mentioned all this at the time. Anyway, I called the number, rustled up some help and soothed the jangled nerves of the person on the other end of the phone who was still assimilating the incoherent prior call. IN the meantime, before help arrived suddenly the water? was up to the washer bottoms and sizzling noises were beginning to happen. I was in rubber shoes, too. What to do? All the dryers were running and the washers were starting to sound ominous. With help from a handsome young man (where’d HE come from???) I found the water turn off on the original, offending washer, opened the doors to the laundromat and whooshed water out. Given we’re in a drought the resident birds were delirious with joy, taking baths and drinking in the now torrential flow. The cavalry arrived shortly and all was more or less well. In any event the laundromat owner thinks I’m a good person. I’ll take it.
Perhaps this is what they’re talking about, in saying that you’re happier as you get older. What I think it is? Is you just know at long last that not only is there no time to waste, there is DEFINITELY no time to freak out. I suppose that can give a person a sense of calm mastery from time to time. While they’re picking broken glass out of their face. After an until you don’t moment.
So. After another more recent day during which tempers flared, milk spilled, and I indulged in some blubbing while cleaning up and sorting yet again through the boxes in my storage shed known that day as MY RUINED LIFE, I thought actually about the laundromat flood and ensuing kafuffle. Thought about how really having to be right about things is missing the point (re flaring tempers and just who Jesus will save), and how spilled things are just spilled things and you do the best you can with the Whole thing. In the spirit of snap fest past, I decided to do something I’d never done before. Which is make fried chicken.
My mother was, I think now, pathologically concerned with me not being overweight. I became well acquainted with cottage cheese and Ry Krisp. And thank God, not fat. In any event we didn’t have fried chicken much and I thought: too hard to make. Too messy. FATTENING. See where this is going? Another thing I thought I couldn’t do. And now I’m getting a message that my draft isn’t being saved so we’ll see if I can even do THIS.
Anyway, the real truth about fried chicken is this. It is as easy to make as falling off a log. Easy, we may say, peasy. The problem then becomes you can have it WHENEVER YOU WANT. It doesn’t even have to be unhealthy if you use the right oils and keep temperature. That still doesn’t make it something you should have every day or even every week. It’s something you have to hold in regard and have once in a while. It is, thus, one of those things in life that’s like a tiny party you can have for yourself when you’re picking the broken glass out of your face yet again. And this, I thought, was quite a wonderful revelation.
It seems to me that if we all remembered that we can step forward in adversity, and there are rewards and joys no matter what happens, especially if we put the other person’s feelings and well being at least on a par with our own (I was actually worried about the laundromat guy’s water bill that day- almost as much as I worried about my own imminent electrocution)(the Partner had been mooning around about fried chicken, so even though I was Mightily Peeved with him at the time…..), we might even survive this ghastly election. Anyway, we need to and to do that, getting back to basics seems to be in order. In that vein I feel happy to be the one to tell you you can in fact make your own celebratory fried chicken in the event you can find a decent chicken. You can coordinate with people you don’t agree with, might not like even a tiny bit. It all moves things forward in a positive way. Instead of a fear based, anger mongering, stupidity exacerbating way which seems to be disturbingly pervasive. Onward, then. And as Jacques Pepin says, happy cooking- which covers a LOT of ground.