The Unlightable Being of Bearness

I’ve heated milk to boiling, removed it from its pan to a pyrex measuring bowl. The probe-end of the probe thermometer sits in the hot milk I stir almost constantly with a wooden spoon. Dad left me a yogurt maker and a set of extra cups. Last week, I replaced lunch and daytime gnawing with two cups of yogurt per day. A little extra calcium won’t hurt, will it?

The temperature and light changes affect my mood, which is to say that in the days when I get to work before sun up I keep trying to hibernate. I’d like to pay rent until April and sleep until the sun peeps in. Maybe once a day I could get up, feed my cat, scratch and nibble a few berries. All spring and summer, I’d have to Nair a whole bunch more but it’d be well worth it.

No, really. I’m pretty sure I’d like to nap through winter. Since I can’t have that, and I have to eat, I’m stirring hot milk until it cools to 118 degrees. This takes a whole lot longer than recklessly heating milk while washing the dishes. I’m stirring in the living room, while watching Sherlock Holmes Mysteries on Biography and discussing with Siobhan the life-changing prospect of switching to pink lipsticks.

Siobhan: I’ve got the new Benefit catalogue and they’ve got the shade for you.
Tata: I dunno. I’m afraid of looking like a nice person.
Siobhan: It’s called But, Officer!
Tata: Sold! One new life, coming up!

A year ago, Paulie moved out and a friend asked the big question: what would I do if I didn’t have to worry about money? I still have no answer to this question but i see progress. I have PIC, a new apartment, and I’m considering pink lipstick. Though I haven’t mentioned it, on Tuesday afternoons, I visit my friend’s college radio show. For half an hour or so every week, my goal is make him laugh so hard he creates radio silence. It’s spiteful! It’s fun! Our tagline is Smells Like Pine! It’s not like I’m thinking of changing day jobs, but live radio is hot, sweaty work for my flabby brain, and that’s a step in the right direction.

Once the milk cools to 118 degrees, I mix in a heaping teaspoon of yogurt with active cultures. This is not as easy as it sounds. Yogurt resists. It takes a minute or two of firm arguments with a wooden spoon to convince yogurt to quit resisting. I pour the quart of mixed milk and yogurt into five glass cups and cap them. I place the cups in the yogurt maker, which keeps the yogurt warm for ten hours. When I get up to exercise in the morning the goo should be ‘gurt, and that’s great.

Yesterday, I made more yogurt, did a load of laundry, put a few things in order, made myself a delicious dinner. Read a book. Time stretched out before me luxuriously. Never have I had so little responsibility to other people. It is a strange sensation to be able to do as I wish, so long as I get up five days a week and point my car at New Brunswick. Still, a person does not chassez ever forward without tripping over the stage hands.

Dad bought the yogurt maker in 1976, which I see from an original warranty card indicating the thing was bought – improbably – on 12.25.76. I didn’t read the manual because I’m genetically incapable of doing anything more than skimming instructions. Nonetheless, I was amused to note their assurance that using the yogurt maker will cost no more than 1 cent. One cent of 1976 money. I’m not sure I have that in my savings, not to mention that the twenty-nine-year-old appliance has twenty-nine-year-old mass-produced wiring, and the first time I used my oven in this apartment I took the battery out of the smoke detector.

I dunno. Is health food going to kill me?

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