Salad, Savagely

My friend eats her salad savagely, like she’s been stranded on a remote island without salad, or any conventional food for that matter, for days or weeks. With supreme unconcern for etiquette, she devours the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and croutons eagerly, voraciously, viciously. She’s still using her fork but in a rather grotesque manner, like she’s invented a new way to be barbaric with silverware. It’s quite unbecoming, especially with the hat she’s wearing. A perfect example of discomplementarity, in fact. The hat and her salad-eating are just repulsive in their spatial and temporal juxtaposition, simply aesthetically odious in combination.

But for the sake of our friendship, I keep these opinions to myself.

She looks up at me, her lips slathered with ranch dressing, her fork suspended in the air at a hideous angle, an obscene amount of salad components affixed to the prongs. I wince at the horrendous sight. Fortunately, she doesn’t seem to notice this irrepressible manifestation of my disgust.

“Halogen lamps?” she mumbles, intermittently revealing a mouth- ful of chunky, partially manducated vegetarian hodgepodge with her words.

“Yeah, I like them better than ordinary incandescent ones,” I reply, averting my eyes from the appalling mess.

“But the…energy consumption is…still quite high,” she says, her enunciation still hampered by her continued mastication of salad.

“Well, I know, but I can’t quite get used to the feel of fluorescent lighting in certain places,” I tell her, then take a sip of my espresso.

“Mmmnnn,” she murmurs.

I can’t tell if her utterance is in response to my remark or the salad. I’m about to overlook it, but I start to sense an air of condescension about it, disapproval or even scorn towards my choice of lighting. Maybe this feeling is just my imagination, but it bothers me nonetheless.

What?” I can’t stop myself from saying rather confrontationally.

“That piece of radish was just awful. Clearly several days too old,” she says, jabbing at the remaining greens with evident vexation.

I’m glad to hear the salad is the object of her irritation, but then I start to think I’d rather be the one who has irked her. She’s clearly paying more attention to the salad than me. And I realize that I’ve never been subjected to her savageness and further realize, reluctantly, that maybe I would like to be, just once. To glimpse what lies beyond our very civil relationship.

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