Jan/10
07

Yes, fondue . Stop acting outraged. It’s the FOOD OF THE GODS, peoples of the internet.

Anyway, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. This is not a post about fondue. No. This is a post about people. I’m not getting bogged down in a emmentaler vs. gruyere debate here.

No, I’m not.

I’m not going there, okay?

Fine. If you MUST KNOW….I am an emmentaler gal through and though and I’ll be dammed if that Swiss elitism about gruyere is going to get to me.

I’m….really… into ….fondue.

So…as I was saying…there was fondue. Okay, actually…there were two fondues and much double-dipping between the two. I also did one of those Tom Douglas goat cheese fondues, which the kids loved. And apples. Chunks of raw cauliflower. Carrots. Big hunks of crusty bread. Paper thin slices of salami. Little itty bitty tiny vinegary french pickles. White wine.

It was truly a transcendent meal.

What was going on behind the melting, stirring, chopping, and dunking, however, was not so pleasant.

For no apparent reason, M was skulking around the house like a dark cloud, in what could best be described as the worst sort of caricature of a sullen teenager. Shoulder slumped forward, face glum, monotone responses to every question, lots of shoulder shrugging.

I have patience for many things in this world but a bad attitude is one of things that pushes my buttons.

At first, I took many deep Zen breaths and tried to reason with her. Was everything okay at school? Everything okay with friends? Did you get enough lunch? Bad test? Too much homework? Does your stomach hurt? Did someone hurt your feelings about something? Are you tired? Do you feel okay? Is there something you need to talk about?

Everything was met with either a shoulder shrug or….I need to let my blood pressure settle down here…a monotone I guess or Everything’s fi-ne .

I was thinking wow, this is what everyone was talking about. Unbelievable. It’s like there is a secret handbook of obnoxious and ungrateful behavior that is passed around the every emerging teen.

After being rebuffed about 400 times, I turned around to the stove, hurled another chunk of cheese into the pot and snarled something like Why don’t you go down to your room until you can act like a civilized person and stop working out your rage at your horrible deprived existence out on the rest of us? Okay, it wasn’t that eloquent. It was mainly just nasty. I kind of lost it.

For a while she disappeared and then we plugged in the fondue pots. Yes. Electric fondue pots. POTS. Plural. What about it?

Anyway, we plugged in the pots and set out the platters and everyone grabbed a spear-thingy and went to work and she was STILL just a sullen little knot of gloom at the end of the table. I was just furious and stabbing intently at everything on my plate, willing myself to just ignore her. Ignore her. This negative attention is what she wants, right? Ignore her.

Jeff and the boys appeared not to notice anything and so we finished up, and we began clearing the table, and then the tiny storm cloud hovered at my elbow and breathed out a barely audible PersonX’sparentsaregettingadivorce.

I swung around, stunned. What? Where did you hear that?

At school. It’s true. They are getting a divorce.

This news stopped us all cold.

Jeff said Sweetheart, that just can’t be right. Are you sure? That’s probably a rumor.

No, said the storm cloud. It’s true. Person X is telling people at school.

And then, one of those fast rewind things happens in your head, where a million tiny insignificant things that have been happening all of the sudden seem to fall into place at once — the weight loss, the travel, the sparkle in an eye that wasn’t there before — and in a giant whoosh, you realize that not only is divorce probably happening, but…well…double-dipping of the marital kind might be as well.

And the storm cloud looked at us and we looked at her and the storm cloud looked back at us and then Jeff scooped us both up in his arms and we hugged her and hugged each other for a long time and made promises that we all hope we can keep.

Annie