One of the most amazing and frustrating things in the universe is just how quickly it can screw you when you least expect it. Even, technically, when you should know better and could have prevented the said screwing in the first place. Like realizing that the even though you found the five cents you needed to buy that ice cream cone you probably should have tied your shoes so you didn't trip and lose that precious scoop of mint chip on the hot asphalt and scrape up your arms and knees, your treat and top layers of skin sacrificed to the Clumsiness Gods. (Stupid running shoes.)
These instances strike without warning or your knowing better. Take my corn for example:
Beautiful, is it not? We planted six stalks of them, each of them growing strong and tall. We knew we would only get about two cobs from each stalk and though that wasn't a lot between three people it meant that we would have four good meals with our homegrown corn. Sure they would grow as tiny, stunted half cobs, but they would be our cobs. Grown from our soil. Food we had tended and cared for with our own hands and fretful worries. None of us had grown corn before and we knew nothing about how to care for it. We winged every decision, a roll of the dice. When to water, allowing the clover to grown between the stalks, pollinating by hand just in case. Yet, somehow, it worked.
They had overcome such adversity too. An incredible heat wave followed by a sudden downpour that would have made Noah freak caused us to worry. A neighbor cat brushed against two of the stalks knocking them down. We found them one morning at an acute angle, the stalks leaning against the old wooden fence with their once fluffy peaks smashed and bristled like old paint brushes. Yet, somehow, they actually propped themselves back up. A feat I wasn't aware corn was capable of. This corn had vim and vinegar and as such we decided to serve a few cobs with balsamic when they were ready in order to honor their tenacity.
The worse scare was when the ants came in. Droves filing up and down the stalks; black vertical stripes running across each leaf and pouring from the husks. Tearing one open we found not only ants, but whole aphid nurseries. Thousands snuggled between the satin layers and silk threads. Yet each cob had been spared. Not a single insect had penetrated the inner linings of the husk and reached the starchy sweetness that laid within. What luck!
We quickly harvested all the corn, they were nowhere as impressive to the dispassionate eye as ones from any market, but to us they were OUR corn; beautiful; the way any parent finds their child (without the plans to eat them, of course).
We washed and husked them and left them on the counter, counting on the wonderful ways we would eat them the next day.
The next morning I awoke like I usually do; to the incessant, unnaturally loud yowling of the cats for me to feed them ten minutes before my alarm goes off. Mace knows to sit and scream just to the right of the doorway on the hallway side. From this strategic vantage point he knows he is safe from any possible line of fire and cannot be creamed with a clumsily but fiercely chucked pillow. I am left with no choice but to rise like an extra in George Romero film and lumber over to the kitchen to feed the fuzzy bullhorn/vacuum I
As I walk to his bowl I step on something somewhat wet. Looking down I see them: two corn cobs, massacred; their kernels scattered across the carpet. I realize that this is my corn. My beautiful corn that I cared for and finally picked. I turn to Eat Beast and see that he's already hiding under the chair. Apparently, in waking me up to eat he forgot that he was going to get in trouble for his snack. His critical error. I grab a cob and chuck it at him and peg him on the butt before he can run away to leave me to clean the mess. I know he has gone into my closet to hide. He squeaks out an audible little mew. Not so much an apology out of penitence but out of insincerity and want. After all, breakfast has yet to be served.
The carnage reminds me of scenes from tornado shows you see on the Weather Channel where a wind funnel tears through a home or office building sending debris in every direction. I imagine that this was very much like that, only yellow and sweeter. This meant I got to play clean up crew first thing in the morning. Goody.
The cobs are only half destroyed each. Apparently the fat bastard decided to have two different snacks, and that simply gorging one whole one wasn't quite wasteful enough. No, he went and took a second off the counter and dragged that across the floor to only eat a few mouthfuls of it. The pernicious corn Hoover apparently enjoys being wasteful.
Cleaning is a pain. The uncooked starch from the kernels has glued them into the carpet fibers. I can't break out the vacuum as Roommate is still asleep, and I'm still too tired to really get those basic motor functions working at a digital level to be able to pick up every single canary-colored speck of corn out of the floor. Still, it gets done. Sort of.
I bag the rest of the corn in a ziplock and toss it into the fridge. The other two cats get fed (when BF moved in along came his cat as well, we are now at three). Eat Beast sits next to his dish and looks at me. He has forgotten he is in trouble, or, knows he is in trouble and is willing to risk trouble for food. He will risk everything for food.
"Nope. Sorry cat. You apparently already fed yourself." He seems unfazed. He hops onto the couch and curls up for a nap. I go to the bathroom and ready a shower. My feet and hands are sticky from corn bits, and I'm going to be late for work.