It’s always been a thought that I’m not entirely normal. Sure, no one is ‘entirely’ ‘normal.’ But don’t you at times suspect you are a little more off-center than everyone around you?
Popcorn. A house guest and the Boss enjoyed popcorn while amusing themselves with a video bowling session. I make good popcorn. Because I like popcorn. Butter, experimental spice combinations, salt, no salt. I offered, good host that I am, to make popcorn for the bowling team though, a rare instance, I didn’t want popcorn myself. Did it correctly. Smelled and tasted as good or better than movie theatre popcorn while not nearly as midsection-expanding or arterial-damaging.
Only made one batch. One large bowlful. Delivered, with napkins for the ever-present errant chin-dribbles of butter and buttered fingers. Who eats popcorn with a fork? A spoon? Tongs? That evening it was popcorn purist style. Butter and light salt.
When I’m in a popcorn mood, providing I’ve behaved reasonably all day leading up to popcorn time, it’s for me a two batch, very large bowl deal. With a separate bowl for whomever feigns popcorn craving and avails themselves of my popcorn-prepping prowess. Two reasons1 for separate bowls. First, I don’t want someone else eating my popcorn. It’s not that I’m concerned for sanitary reasons. It’s that I don’t care to have anyone developing designs on my bowl of popcorn. When I want popcorn, I want popcorn. Not a taste of popcorn. Lots of popcorn. Not that it’s ever happened, but enough you would judge there is no way I could finish the bowl, leaving only the old maids2 in the bottom of the bowl, rolling around in the butter that mysteriously escaped the fluffy main event. My bowl must hold two batches. Like I said, when it comes to popcorn, I don’t fiddle around.
Second reason for two bowls, one for anyone and everyone else, and one for my exclusive use, it that I do play around with butter alternatives3, spice combinations4 and timing. You can buy butter variations. You can buy seasoning variety. But ‘timing’? Yup. I like popcorn fresh and still warm, but I love stale popcorn. Something happens to a bowl of popcorn that’s idled on an end table waiting for me to finish the supper dishes, or take a shower, or decide if I’m going to settle-in for the evening with a book, noodling on my writing, or a good Britcom. Most of the time, the other bowl is purist-style. I do find it a delight when someone requests an alternate flavoring.
Aged popcorn has a chewy feel. A meaty feel. A substantial heft. It takes longer, or feels it should take longer, to chew. After the butter or olive or avocado oil drizzle has counseled the spice du jour and unless I didn’t finish my evening meal wine, water is all else that’s necessary.
Popcorn. Good stuff.
“Schedules”? Is the man daft? Well, yes, if you’ve been paying attention, that’s one way to put it. However, when I sat to poke this out, I intended to inform my many, many, followers I would be away from my office for over a week and blog posts would be undependable. They still might be. I just can’t say. Sometimes, I am not entirely in control of my schedule.
‘Many, many followers.’ There’s a chuckle for you. At present I still have enough fingers and toes to count those folks who don’t mind my disrupting their morning, afternoon, or evening hours. At first, that bothered me. A neophyte in this endeavor, shouldn’t I just relax, learn more of the craft, and let blog wanderers discover my work naturally? Or, seeing people visit from places suggesting they are not part of the ‘crowd’ pestered by email copies of my posts or following my blog from their sites, and not subsequently following, assume I’m in the wrong business?
Considering this many times, it’s settling-in that I care but I don’t. Not really. Writing is mental yoga for me. My creative pieces, if never published will be left for the amusement or chagrin of my children. In the end, if I only put the larger pieces, those I myself consider decent and somewhat an accomplishment, on spwilcenwrites for free, I may have accomplished something.
Lest this devolve into a self-serving rant, I’ll not comment again on two favorite peeves: the apparent decline in the ‘reading public’s’ intelligence and the generally deteriorating quality of most creative writing. Therein the reason I don’t have a larger following. Those who do follow are erudite and sophisticated with refined tastes. I’m delighted they hang around. Gee, did this not become something of a self-serving rant anyway? Was that sneaky, or clever?
I don’t want to hear which. I can’t change who I am, (to a large extent) how I think (as opposed to what I think), because there is little time left and I have many other curmudgeonly responsibilities.
*1 Seems I have two reasons whenever I feel a need to justify or qualify a statement. Not certain why that is, it just is. Maybe with one reason I could be argued. Two, and my statement is fairly-well inarguable. Three, and I should run for Congress.
*2 Sorry. If you believe that sexist, I’m willing to listen to a male-gender substitute. Together, you and I can go down in history as champions of gender-equality, non-biased popcorn specification, and lexicography. Is that a deal or what?
*3 Alternatives. Not substitutes. If your fingers don’t require a napkin, your popcorn is not correctly prepared, you are bashful eating popcorn, or you fancy you can get by without ‘butter,’ there is something seriously wrong I haven’t time in a blog to correctly explore. Perhaps after I explain quantum physics for those of us who only took four calculus and three physics semesters, I’ll devote a week to the subject. Olive oil. Avocado Oil. Melted butter supplemented with a “healthy oil” to hold seasonings close to each fluffy kernel and slicken fingertips.
*4 Combinations. Salt alone is in some cases all that’s necessary. But an aficionado will opt for garlic powder5, chili powder, Tex-Mex combos, wasabi, cinnamon, ginger, curry, cocoa powder, hot pepper flakes, or powdery Parmesan cheese for example. Then there are post-pop drizzles beyond or instead of oil – chocolate, caramel, and I dunno what else. I do not go for these gooey options, but certainly can see where they would be tasty, even addictive. I cannot handle bleu cheese, but I see where a powdered but not artificial form might have appeal.
*5 Is this even legal? A footnote footnote? Garlic powder. Not the commercially available crap. Real garlic powder. Buy California or (if you can find it) Spanish garlic in bulk. Peel it (an art form) slice and dehydrate it. Save some in chip-form for seasoning (potent stuff, requiring less than fresh garlic for a recipe) and grind some to a powder. That garlic powder will make you swear-off the alumino-silicate-cellulose junk in the tiny overpriced cutesy jars. Not having real garlic powder, you will go without and explore (viola!) other spice combinations.
PSA: “Olga, Svetlana, and the Handsome Russian Lieutenant” added in Short Stories