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2005-07-21 | 12:56 a.m.

Spent the whole day preparing for the kids' Swim-o-thon team fundraiser, in my perpetually maladroit way, and then when the time came, Duff went with the kids and I stayed home. I should have gone, but felt queasy, downhearted, and petulant. Legs aching hormonally. We were supposed to bring a dish and I had bought all the ingredients to make my favorite cold salad. The one I only make for special events, because it takes slightly more effort than my usual repertoire. Stopped by my friend Barbara's house on the way home, mentioned I was making "that salad you don't like," and she said, "It's not that I don't like it, it's just pretentious."

I shrugged it off at the time, but back at home, this pronouncement just kept banging around in my head. The salad is pretentious. No--I am pretentious for making it. But I like it! I don't make it because I'm trying to impress anybody, I just like it! Do I have to make potato salad to be loved by you?

This is not the first time I have taken a knock over this damn salad. Some people don't want to try it because they haven't seen anything like it before. I thought about bringing it anyway and putting a little sign on the bowl with "Pretentious Salad" written on it in flowery script.

But the more I thought about it, the more I noticed my upset stomach and sore legs, and the less I wanted to share my (pretentious) salad and (pretentious) self with anyone. So even though I had been looking forward to going, knowing it would likely be the most enjoyable swim team event of the year, I stayed home and finished reading the new Harry Potter book instead. Which left me feeling even more bereft.

And when the kids got home, the first thing Criminy said was, "Mom, did you make the salad?" I told her no.

"But will you make it?"

You bet I will.

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