Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Today's Lesson Is

    Tonight, the snow on the evergreen trees looks like the walls of the kitchen the first and last time I ever used an electric mixer. I failed to turn off the power before lifting the whirling beaters covered in white frosting, correction, were covered. I didn’t know. Somehow the thought of licking frosting off the walls did not seem to offer the same delight as when I was a child and my mother would hand me the beater dripping in chocolate. 
    My mother never taught me to cook. She did, however, buy me a Barbie Easy Cookbook. Years later, after I’d left home, I stumbled across the book and told myself that cooking could not be that hard. Hours later, exhausted, I called my mother. I told her my frustration that not one single store in my city had Tisp flour. How was I to make the recipe when I could not get Tisp flour? I could hear her puzzled voice across the states as she asked me just what in the world I was trying to fix. I read the recipe to her word for word from the Barbie Easy Cookbook (emphasis upon ‘easy’). Silence told me what was about to happen was not going to be good. Slowly, even for a deep southern drawl, she explained that ‘TSP’ (translated Tisp) stood for teaspoon, not a brand. I didn’t know.
    I walked up to the stereotypical librarian, an older woman with gray hair and glasses dangling from her neck. I made sure my eleven year old body stood straight and tall and reflected my important mission. As polite as my excitement would permit, I explained to her that I wanted to know where I could find the book Ibid. Almost every book I read referenced this book. It had to be huge. It had to contain all the knowledge in the world. She put her glasses on her nose and looked at me. I could tell this was not going to be good. As gentle as one can burst the bubble of an enthusiastic child she explained ‘ibid’ was a footnote reference not a book. I didn’t know.
    Some days what I don’t know feels so much heavier than what I think I know. On other days what I don’t know feels like a five dollar bill discovered in my jeans while doing laundry. What is the connection of these disconnected musings that hold me hostage tonight? I don’t know. I do know when I eat frosted cake I glance at the nearby wall and chuckle. I know when I see a bag of flour in the store (on my way to the frozen food section) I smile. I know when I see ibid in a footnote my eyes feel sparkly. Drat, I don’t know how to end this but there is lesson for me here. It will be good. Ibid.