The baker’s rack has arrived. Let’s rephrase: I have it! The thing is mine! Mine, mine mine! I possess it! I do what anyone would: laugh like a mad scientist and slice open the box.
I lay out the pieces of the baker’s rack that once graced my daughter’s kitchen but was re-packaged by her husband; I am confident I can stare at the puzzle and see the pattern. Oh, don’t kid yourself. I know exactly what’s going on in that toothy steel-trap you call your mind.
You: Missy! Last week, you were outwitted by a potholder. When you do yoga, your cat is so underwhelmed he bites you – every day! Over the weekend, Jehovah’s Witnesses rang the doorbell and you answered it in a pair of pants and curlers.
Tata: You are indeed a douchebag! My cat loves me! He’s got a slight catnip problem. Do 12 steps move faster on four feet?
Logic dictates – stop laughing! – a baker’s rack should have a certain symmetry left-right but not top-bottom, so I open all the freezer bags and count hardware. Some small pieces are broken. I pick them up, turn them over in my hand and can’t believe my eyes. After Dad and Darla came to help me a few weeks ago, I found on the kitchen counter four pieces just like the ones in my hand, and I waited in vain for their purpose in life to be revealed when something missing those four pieces crashed to the floor from…somewhere…but nothing did. Now I see also three screws and a giant safety pin.
You know, if I were my son-in-law, I might toss in a few extra parts and laugh all the way to the Post Office. Fortunately, Mr. Sasha left out any instructions or I might be forced to read them. I pick a shelf, decide it’s the bottom and I rest this on a box of books. Siobhan has a theory.
Siobhan: I often add, like it’s fun or something. Numbers are always the same.
Tata; No…numbers are always different. They are standoffish, like Siamese cats. They stick like ungreased gears.
Siobhan: How many fingers am I holding up?
Tata: The fish! The fish!
The baker’s rack is a puzzle with a small enough number of elegant solutions, a larger number of inelegant solutions and at least one alarming way to fail completely. This is exciting for my brain. I assemble a thing that undoubtedly bears little resemblance to the baker’s rack that used to stand in Miss Sasha’s kitchen. It’s a bit crooked, despite the careful construction. It’s also standing in my kitchen and I can see most of my kitchen floor!
None of this is very important. No like the gift that keeps on giving: explosives. No. Not like that at all.
Four afternoons a week, I watch the last few minutes of General Hospital, listen to the first few minutes of Oprah,and fall unconscious in self-defense. One afternoon, I must’ve changed the channel in my sleep because when I woke up Martha Stewart was talking to Jessica Alba. Having seen and totally loved Sin City, I know the only way these two should meet is on a press junket to small claims court. Martha is a recent parolee. Jessica is a dirty, dirty girl. I sit up straight on the couch.
On Martha’s new show, there’s freaking Jessica Alba wearing an orchid cashmere sweater in Martha Stewart’s freaking TV studio kitchen. I know that innocent smile. I know that studied distance. Jessica’s telling Martha the story I read weeks ago about a genuinely interesting incident during the making of her most recent movie. She was doing a scene and out of the corner of her eye she saw a shark. With nothing else to do and nowhere to go and the camera rolling, she stuck out a hand, pushed the shark firmly and off it went. Jessica’s smiling and says something like, “Well, you can see.”
Film rolls. Superfit Jessica is fawning, underwater-esque, on some fella pinned under a something-or-other and then there’s a shark about the same size as our ingenue and a hand goes PUSH! and –
The audience applauds. We’re back with that orchid sweater and Martha’s talking about something made with spinach. This feels fake beyond belief and WASN’T THAT A SHARK? They cook something, more or less. For the life of me I can’t hear a single thing they’re talking about.
Somehow, these two incidents are related. I contend it’s the possibility of chopped spinach.