The Deceitfulness of Cabbage

Now that I have reached the prestigious age of 24, I am recognized by most of the world as being an adult–or at least adultish. I’ve survived college, bought my first non-clunker car, and have so-far managed to hold down a job in corporate America. (We’ll leave off admitting to the “still living at home” part for the present.)

As a responsible, respectable young person, I do what responsible, respectable young people do. I go to the grocery store and buy (most of) my own food.

On this particular day, I headed to the local Aldi’s on my way home from church to buy what I usually buy myself for a week of nutritious lunches. First passing the massive amounts of chips, I pick out a tasty looking bag. Next comes the cookies lined up and looking scrumptious. A package of these joins the first. Weaving my way up one aisle and down the next, I finally arrive at the produce section. Like every week, I grab some strawberries, lunch meat, tomatoes, and a head of iceberg lettuce. My trip was quick and cheap–just how I like it.

Sunday evening came around, and I was preparing my lunch for the next day. After discovering how mushy bread gets when it is in sandwich form for five hours before being consumed, I moved over to a type of sandwich wrap/taco-like creation. Not much flavor, but it does its job.

Popping open my strawberries, I took out a few, washing and dicing them for easy eating. Next, the carrots were plopped in a Ziploc bag, and the chips and cookies went next. Finally, I ripped open my head of lettuce. It had a strange shiny texture to it–almost like what waxed fruit looks like.

Hmmm, I thought to myself, it must not be quite ripe yet. Since a chicken and tomato wrap seemed rather lonely, I decided to take the lettuce along anyway. The color was good; the texture just seemed a little funky.

Monday arrived much too early, as always, and the hours ticked away until noon. Adjourning to my lunch-eating corner, I pulled out my materials and began assembling my wrap. The tomatoes weren’t quite ripe either, and my eyes didn’t make my stomach grumble with pleasant thoughts of what was to come. With a shrug, I took my first bite.

Crunch.

I continued munching on my sandwich wrap as I tried to figure out what was so loud and crunchy about it. Could it possibly be that the tomato was more unripe than I thought? Making it through half a wrap, I decided that a chicken-only wrap wasn’t too bad after all.

That evening, I began preparations for the next day. Pealing open the lettuce again, there was that same lime-green color. That same waxy texture. That same tearing sound when I ripped off a piece. I studied it a bit more. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps it was going bad.

“Is lettuce supposed to look like this?” I asked as I carried the head out into the living.

My sister took one look at it and laughed.

How is one supposed to tell which is which?
How is one supposed to tell which is which?

“That’s not lettuce,” she said. “That, My Dear, is a cabbage.”

A few important lessons were learned that day:

1. Make sure you know what you are buying (Just to clarify, nowhere on my cabbage did it say “This is a cabbage. Beware.”)

2. Watch out for sadistic supermarkets that place the lettuce and cabbage next to each other.

3. Finally, cabbage sandwiches will not be catching on anytime soon.

P.S. Don’t even get me started on the deceitfulness of Chicken of the Sea! 🙂

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Wisdom Did Not Descend on Me on My Birthday

On the morning of December 28th, I awoke to discover that I had survived 24 complete years of life. On this day 24 years ago, Angela was born into this world. While this is a great accomplishment in itself, apparently, being a year older does not automatically make one smarter. I found that out quickly.

My birthday began relatively quietly as I dragged myself out of bed and prepared for church. My five day sabbatical from work seemed to have left me more worn out than before I began. Since my family all separates and evangelizes the entire city of Dallas by going to four different churches, I headed to church on my own.

Pulling into the parking lot of my place of worship, I was quite pleased with myself. With the holidays drawing to a close, traffic had been light, and I made good travel time. Pleasant thoughts of arriving early for the service for the first time in months swirled through my head as I pulled into the parking lot and found a close spot. I gathered my belongings as I listened to the end of a song on the radio, and then I went to turn off my car. I switched off my vehicle and started my normal routine. Suddenly, I realized I had a problem….

I had no training on what to do in a situation like this!

My key wouldn’t come out of my ignition.

Panic began to swirl in my chest, but I tried to calm myself down. When I had purchased the vehicle in October, I was only given a single key, and the key was bent. On Tuesday, I had had the hardest time getting my key to slide into the ignition (though I finally got it in after pushing on the brakes and straightening out my steering wheel). As I jiggled the key, turned the car on and off, and yanked as hard as I could, my stomach began to clench up. The key was not coming out, and I had no idea what to do.

The minutes ticked by. I was pressing, pulling, and praying frantically as I tried to process what to do about my problem. I had a warranty on my vehicle–should I call and say my engine swallowed my key? Should I call a locksmith? I was alone, and my family was inaccessible. I considered going into church and coming back later, but I couldn’t leave my car with the keys in the ignition sitting in a packed parking lot.

Five minutes of stress dragged by. I decided I needed a second opinion. No use getting the authorities and specialists involved if I had simply made an error. Like mothers who are able to find something in two minutes that took others hours to find, I wondered if perhaps someone else would have the magic touch I was missing.

A couple of cars pulled in, and I sprang from my vehicle to assault the other drivers.

“May I borrow one of you?” I called attempting not to seem too frazzled. “This may sound very dumb,” I said with a meek, frenzied chuckle to the 35-year-old man climbing out of his vehicle, “But I can’t get my key out of the ignition.” I went on to explain about the bent key, and my inability to free it from the jaws of my Camry.

The man began working to help this damsel in distress. He began asking questions about which way my key was bent and if this had happened before. I stood in the cold, swirling breeze trying to be helpful but really being no help at all.

“I don’t want to pull too hard and break your vehicle,” the man said. He seemed about ready to give up. I understood his feelings. At least my diagnosis had been correct.

As a final resort, the man began playing with the lock buttons and fiddling with other gadgets. Shoving my hands in my pockets, I let out a sigh. Now what was I supposed to do?

Click.

Suddenly, the man turned to me with a great grin on his face. In his hand, held aloft, was my free key!

These foreign cars are so tricky to use!

The man climbed out of the vehicle and handed over my released treasure. Trying to swallow his grin, he said, “Next time, try putting your car in park.”

With profuse thanksgiving and gratitude, I allowed the man to return to his family. He assured me that this would be our secret. I had a profound wish in that moment that my hair hadn’t been blonde.

So, moral of the story: wisdom did not descend on me on my 24th birthday. In fact, I couldn’t even make it to 9AM without having trouble. With a start like this, I’m a little concerned about what will happen to me in the next 12 months!