Apr. 17th, 2017

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I sometimes want to make fun of people who don't know the basics of cooking. Two people I know in particular, both of whom are 45 years old. One, Jesse's ex-roommate, who only recently learned how to brown meat. Another, a mutual friend of Jesse's and I's, who only recently learned a bowl of cereal can, indeed, be used as a full meal anytime during the day.

Both of these men are learning how to cook in exactly the same way I did: by finding themselves living alone for the first time in their lives.

This is the situation I found myself in at the age of 32 when I broke up with David. I had no idea how to do anything BUT brown meat and have cereal for dinner. I lived off cereal and pizza for the first entire three months after the breakup. I did eventually come to the conclusion that a grown woman should be able to make a meal that involves more than two ingredients.

But even now, at 35, I'm only a cook un novice. I can work magic with tortilla dishes, make a wicked cheeseburger pie, and know how to get creative with tuna. Anything else? I leave it untouched, terrified and annoyed that I'll likely burn it, undercook it, not realize its gone bad, ruin dishes with terrible combinations of spices, etc etc.

Still, the gaps in learning are sometimes dumbfounding. Jesse's ex-roommate, ever the annoying weasley man, once exclaimed "I had no idea cooking could save money! I'm only spending $140 a week on fast food now!"

Dude, if you're spending 140 dollars a week on fast food - and that is a REDUCTION of money you've been spending on fast food - you're doing something wrong. This is the same guy who has said to Jesse more than once and deadpan, (after 20 YEARS of them living together) that I'm going to die and he will not be able to help Jesse at all.

The man pays no bills but his own, has absolutely NO debt, pays the same rent and utilities that we do, has a functional vehicle that he's not pouring money into, makes over 30 thousand a year, and has an empty living room that could easily fit a single air mattress for a friend to sleep in for a while. (At least if the man bothered to take out his trash once in a while, which he does not.)

And somehow he can't "help" his "best friend" of 20 fucking years, refusing Jesse even a place to stay for a week should something horrible happen to me. All this WHILE ALSO feeling constantly compelled to tell Jesse that I will die soon and that Jesse will be alone.

Seriously, what a dick. There are just not enough dicks in the world to describe how dickish this man is.

David also had a moment that utterly befuddled me. The man had been cooking for MONTHS at the time, making steaks and burgers and chili and whatnot. He did not know how to cook before dating me but discovered he liked to cook and dove into the art enthusiastically. One dinner, however, he asked me how to boil water.

I was like, uhhhhh whaaat? Even I had mastered the art of boiling water by my 30's. I still don't get how he had gotten to be a good cook without knowing how to boil water. I'm also still grateful that he cooked for me, faithfully and daily, every day for the entire 5 years we were together.

Still a dick, but less of a dick. Concerning cooking and pep talks, at least. David never said anything like what Jesse's "friend" said and NEVER would say something like that to anyone, abusive and dickish as he was.

In the end, mocking them would be mocking MYSELF. (Except for Jesse's ex-roommate. He's a jerk and I'll mock him long and loud.) And while I try to stick to the saying of "If you're not laughing at yourself, you're missing out on the biggest joke in the world", there's only so much self-deprecation I'm willing to dance in.

The other friend is less afraid of learning how to cook, I think, and simply more afraid of living alone. That I can understand, having felt that terror for years, even while in a relationship where no amount of food could make up for the abuse dished out. Jesse and I, having both lived (and am currently living) well below the poverty line many, many times in our lives, give him resources, tips, and offers to accompany me to various food pantries.

Though he, too, is befuddled on how to live of the $800 a month AFTER all his bills are paid, which befuddles me, because jesus, if you have 800 left a month left over AFTER aaaalll your obligations are taken care of (bills, medication, rent, utilities, debts, taking care of others, etc)....I guess that just shows how poor I've been in my life.

He is much, much kinder to Jesse than his ex-roommate, however, and that goes a great way in our patience with him. Jesse will cook and offer dinner to this friend and our friend is happy to give away any extra food he has to us. I think the poor, or those who have had loved ones in poverty, understand the power of sharing more than anyone else.

(Not to say that poverty makes one noble. It doesn't. It makes us bitter and hungry. But there is the occasional gratitude - both given and taken - to be learned in poverty.)

I'd planned on writing something funnier, but at least this post isn't all lupus bitching and whining. So, here's to cereal for dinner, Hamburger Helper with well-browned hamburger, and tortillas.

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