When I was getting my coffee at the shop on the corner, I heard someone say, “I learned a lot in the last year.” She had a baby in a stroller who looked to be about a year old, so yeah, I bet she did learn a lot in the last year. Everyone says you learn so much when you have kids.
While I niced up my iced coffee with Splenda and milk, I tried to remember what I learned in the last year. One thing came to mind:
I learned how to eat a banana without getting Banana Mouth.
This is huge.
Bananas are necessary in my diet. For one, I just read in the Times that if you consume a lot of sodium, which I do, you should balance it with potassium. So I eat bananas to cancel out the Chipins. (Down to 6 bags, by the way.)
Secondly, I need them for dance class. Whether or not I eat one before class determines whether I get through it so energetically that it’s obnoxious, or end up bent over halfway through, wheezing, with my hands on my knees.
I’ve done extensive testing, and I’m certain it’s all about the banana. I make this known. If I’m ever so pooped out that the teacher asks “you OK?” I pant, “Forgot to have my banana.”
The banana is my good luck charm.
If I could, I’d wear it on a zipper pull like a rabbit’s foot. I’m kidding. No I wouldn’t. It would be all black and disgusting, and remind me of my parents’ banana tree. To be clear: my parents don’t have a tree that grows bananas. They have a plastic gadget on their kitchen counter called “The Banana Tree”. I imagine it was designed to show off your new bananas in all their tropical glory. A fruit bowl just doesn’t do them justice.
It’s supposed to look like this:
But my parents’ version looks like this:
I’ve always asked my parents, “why the hell do you display your fugly, halfway-eaten, rotten bananas on a stand?” I’ve never gotten an adequate answer. Just a pouty, hurt look — their version of “Yo, why you givin’ me shit?” But now, looking at the photo (courtesy of Marian Belgray), I see the logic. Who wants produce like that touching any home surface?
My issue with bananas, from green to brown, is that they make a sickening noise when you eat them. And this is what I call Banana Mouth. You know the noise I’m talking about, right? It’s kind of like when people make out on TV and you can hear the saliva. Ew! I’m barfing just writing this.
You don’t have to eat a banana to have Banana Mouth.
Sometimes it happens if you’re dehydrated, or old, or a host on NPR. Any time we’re taking a weekend road trip, Steven likes to torture me by playing the Jonathan Schwartz Show in the car. When Jonathan Schwartz talks, you can always hear his spittle. If you look him up online, it says his passions are “music, Sinatra, and baseball” but I can assure you that his number one passion is talking with Banana Mouth.
Another way Steven tortures me is by telling me I have Banana Mouth. I’ll say something and he’ll ask, “I’m sorry, what did you say, Banana Mouth?” He got “Banana Mouth” from me, and now he uses it against me. It’s not right.
So, I have a complex about Banana Mouth. Not only will I not eat a banana in front of someone, I can barely stand to eat one when I’m alone. I hear the noise, and I’m embarrassed for myself. It’s like when you smell wretched B.O., and then realize it’s coming from your own armpit. It’s like, “HOLY CHRIST, IS THAT ME???” That’s how I feel when I hear myself eating a banana.
By now, you’re probably tortured with suspense. If you don’t find out how I finally said goodbye to Banana Mouth for good, you’ll burst!
Well here it is, and you can do it too:
Slice your banana in half lengthways, and put it in the toaster. You’ll want to use tin foil, because banana drippings are very sticky. Toast twice. Take it out, and put it on a plate (keeping it on the tin foil, so you don’t have to wash the plate). Allow to cool for about two minutes, and eat with a fork.
The toasted banana will taste like dessert, and won’t make a sound in your mouth. Unless you chew with your mouth open, in which case pretty much everything you eat sounds like Banana Mouth. And, in which case, I can’t be your friend.
That’s what I learned in 2011.
And if it’s all I learned, I’m ok with that. I look back at myself a year ago, eating bananas raw, and wonder, “who WAS that person?”
So what about you?
What did you learn in the last year? Don’t say it’s too late for a reflection on 2011. That’s not constructive. But you can just tell me how you feel about Banana Mouth.