I was raised right and generally like to think I'm with rather decent manners. I never push my way through a crowd, but rather gingerly shoulder my way past to with the appropriate "Pardon me. Excuse me," as is expected. I feign timorousness when the situation is proper and speak out when it is expected or necessary. I hold doors, always smile, and genially try to be cordial to everyone.
Then again, we all have our bad days. I've been that person who gets in the car and takes personal offense when the person behind me thinks I'm going to slow - which I probably am - and decided to go around and get in front of me. I respond with anger, taking this pass as an insult to my ability to drive, and speed up determined to prove to EVERYONE that I am not the slow, inattentive driver I am.
I'm also the type who detests poor phone skills and will deliberately make my revulsion apparent. For example, I may or may not have been taken aside at work and told that it is not appropriate to chastise one of our more annoying vendors for always every. single. time. interrupting me on the phone.
Then there are the days where I don't just completely toss all sense of propriety out to the wind, I club it in the back of the head with a shovel and then throw it in the back seat of my car to be buried in a train yard.
This is what happened yesterday. When I told a baby to go fuck itself.
Now, it wasn't the baby's fault. I admit that he was innocent and not really the problem. His father, who was an ass and whom I did tell to go fuck off, was.
It had already been a bad day. I mean a really bad day. The kind where you a negative energy of pure bitch fury just radiates off of you like heat from fire. Everyone knows to just leave you alone and the obvious scowl is enough to deter questions and well-intended comfort which would only add fuel to the flames.
Yes, it was that kind of day. Thank God, the work day was over and I only had to run to the market for some mussels so I could test a dish for the cookbook. I had called ahead and checked if they had any mussels.
"Two pounds? Yeah. We have plenty."
I asked if they were sure and if they could hold some for me. They explained that no, they couldn't do that for seafood but that it shouldn't be a problem. I told them fine and that I would only be an hour and that they would please just try to keep me and two pounds of mussels in mind.
I arrived, earlier than I had told them and walked up to the fish counter where there were no mussels.
"Dude, what happened!? I called only an hour ago! You said no problem and that there would be plenty of them!" I cried.
"Sorry, I just bought all ten pounds that they had." I turned to see a guy in his early thirties, WASP-ish, and dressed in a Northface cable-knit sweater. He had a rather comely countenance and it was immediately apparent that this was likely the type of man who knew he was good looking and made use of it. Sitting in his cart was a small baby that looked little like him and was inspecting a nearby pile of burgundy-spiked rambutans.
I looked back at the fishmonger. "Seriously, no more? You knew I was coming!"
"First come, first serve."
I immediately wrote him off as a dick and decided that the universe should punish him for this fact. I then turned to Cable Knit. "Any chance you could spare just a pound? I have guests coming, I called ahead, and I came all this way. Please?"
"Nope. I need them all," he smirked and held up the bag, gave it a toss in the air and caught it. A gesture to demonstrate that this bounty was his and his alone.
"Not at all?" I begged, exasperated. I was tired and just, please dear God, I needed one thing to go right.
"Sorry 'bout it." He smiled. But that wasn't just a smile. His face and tone were - I know for a fact I was not imagining it - communicated one thing only: Ha ha. Sucks to be you.
It was that that flipped the lid off my filter.
Given, not my most crowning social moment, but it felt like the right one.
His face contorted into feigned saintly appall. "I have a baby with me!" He gestured towards his child who wasn't paying attention to anything that was going on and was reaching out for a stack of organic bananas.
"Fuck your baby."
And then I put down my shopping basket and left the fish counter.
So yes, I could have handled that better than I did.
The next day I was more behaved. I had calmed down significantly. I felt zero regret for what I had said to that guy. I stayed at home that day did some writing, and as a bit of social karma made scones and invited people over for social weekend snack and rather enjoyably languid conversation.
As a bit of extra cheer for the holidays the scones were something rather unique. Flavored with a heavy pour of eggnog and studded with cranberries these scones were creamy, tart, and possessed a comfortingly dense crumb. Perfect with butter and mugs of chai tea spiked with a hint of brandy.
Admittedly, I will probably make these a few more times during the holiday season. Though it's a time of good cheer, it can be achingly stressful at times. These might help just temper my more temperamental moods just a bit. And all the better for everyone else, man and baby alike.
Eggnog and Cranberry Scones
6 oz bread flour
2 oz sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dried cranberries
6 oz eggnog
1. Whisk together the bread flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Next, whisk in the cranberries.
2. Add the eggnog and use your hands to gently bring together the ingredients. If you need to add a bit more eggnog or flour then do so judiciously. It will be sticky and clumpy. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead twice (push-squish, push-squish, done).
3. Form the dough into a disc and cut into 6-8 pieces. Brush the tops with a bit more eggnog.
4. Bake at 425F for 10-15 minutes or until golden.