Friday, April 23, 2010

Everyone Has An Opinion, And In Mine, Reunions Are Terrifying.

When I was pregnant (well after Bill Haley and His Comets flamed out, thank you very much, but well before the sun rose on Green Day, or practically any other band heard on Sirius 26), I found all kinds of ways to dodge The Question:

“What are you going to name the baby?”

Even now, when I hear someone else – even a total stranger – being asked The Question, I want to shriek, “Don’t answer!  It’s a trick!  You’re about to have your bubble burst, your dreams shattered!  You’re exposing your tender and most intimately-considered plans to a gut-sucking, albeit cape-less, emotional marauder of comic book proportions.” 

No, I don’t think I’m overstating.

We hear stories of newborns named, unexpectedly, after obstetricians, nurses, and, if you ascribe to urban myth, hospital food.  Surely you’ve heard of the tiny twins afflicted with the unfortunate monikers of “Orangello” and “Limongello,” ostensibly for the gelatin flavors the new mom most enjoyed post-delivery?  Truth be told, who could blame her?  After all the baby-naming babble and umbilical cord snipping and opinion-injection of every English-speaking person on the planet – and perhaps a few Aussies – it’s easy to lose track of your own opinion.

Did I really name my kid ‘Orangello’?  Do I even like ‘Orangello’?  Didn’t I hear about a school bully named ‘Orangello’?  Wait.  Am I hungry?  Are you going to eat that chicken?  Can we have Jello for dessert?  Maybe banana-strawberry flavored?

High school reunions, it seems, evoke a similar reaction.  Everyone has an opinion.  And the current universal opinion seems to be that I’m a smack-talking, lily-livered, Scotch-drinking, feather-shedding chicken butt.

I recently wrote about my ambivalence – fine, call the spade by its name, “terror” – regarding my upcoming 30th high school reunion.  I couldn’t believe how many people chirped up.   You have to go.  30th is the best ever.  Everyone’s counting on you.  You’ll regret it if you don’t.

Holy cow.  (Or, as my mom’s husband says, “sanctified bovine.”)

I’m going already.  But until then, I’m working my butt off.  Actually, that’s not accurate.  I know you can’t “work” your butt off.  Nor can you “talk” someone’s ear off.  And saddest of all, you can’t “laugh” your ass off. 

I’ve tried. If all it took was working, talking and laughing, I'd be the skinniest person around.  And my friends wouldn't have anything to hook their sunglasses onto.  But I’ve tugged on those “fat jeans.”  Trust me, everything's still there.

I’ve got a few months to go, though.  I just need to work out more.  And eat better. 

This Black Bean and Corn Salad is a good start.  Easy to make, lots of protein, lots of fiber and low in fat.  It’s really, really good served as  a salsa with Fritos Scoopers, too.  But for now, I’m passing on Fritos.  Jello, too.

Besides.  I heard that Orangello might make it to the reunion.

Black Bean and Corn Salad With Lime Dressing

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained well
1 can sweet corn, rinsed and drained well
½ cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
juice of two limes (about ¼ cup)
¼ cup canola oil
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 avocado, peeled and sliced, or optionally, halved

Combine all ingredients except avocado.  Stir gently and refrigerate until well chilled.  Serve over avocado slices.
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