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Don't Be Mad, Babe

I really should know better by now than to get miffed with Scotty before I have all the information. I always end up eating crow.

I came home from a 12hr shift the other day and was immediately hit with the smell of peanut oil. Ahhhh-I thought- Scott's been cooking. He exclusively cooks in a cast iron skillet, regardless of the food he is making or the mess it will inevitably create. His current oil of choice for seasoning the pan, and frying whatever is in the freezer, is peanut.

With things like sausages or cornbread.... even gravy, I completely understand the allure of using the skillet. But Scott will completely disregard the rules of civilized society and toss a veggie stir fry in the damn thing. What kind of animal does that? I think he just wants to watch the world burn.

Regardless, as soon as the waft of charred something hit my nose when I was taking off my boots, I began to get agitated.

You see, when Scott cooks he will not only leave a trail of destruction in his wake, but he will make no attempt to clean or even neaten the area he covered in flour, grease and other assorted ingredients. He will also ensure to use as many knives, cutting boards, pots, pans and utensils as possible to accomplish his task. He must think if he doesn't use them, the kitchen police will come and take them away or something.

Annnnd, this night was no exception.

After my long day of peopling, I was ready for an edible, a painfully hot shower and bed. But coming around the corner into the kitchen, seeing the disaster before me, I realized that my plans would be delayed by an hour while I cleaned this up.

I don't know how people in the service industry clean up after people day in and day out. Being a nurse is one thing. I have no problem cleaning up bodily functions.... I have to imagine mentally that it is far worse for the patient to have a 20 something nurse mopping up their accident than it is for me doing the mopping/sopping/wiping/digging.

Like flight attendants, for example. How they are able to put up with whiny passengers- listening to complaints, serving food, collecting garbage, waiting on insufferable people- and not throw someone out that cabin door, is completely beyond me. They are literally trapped on a tin can with these people with no way out and no way to avoid their line of sight.

I regularly think of my flight attendant, Alfred, whenever I get myself in a situation that makes me want to bang my head against a wall.

.... To be clear, this man's name was not Alfred, nor is he MY flight attendant. But I have come to think of him this way after years of reminiscing about him. He is also very English and butlery.... so I feel that by calling him Alfred I correcting a cosmic mistake his parents made naming him.

Anyways, I was 15 when my uncles offered to take me to Europe for an extended vacation. I am not sure how I got so lucky, but I was told that if I could come up with the money for the air fare, they would take care of the rest. In hindsight, my uncles have absolutely ruined me for travel.

We were flying from Toronto to London on an overnight British Airways flight and they had upgraded the back of the bus ticket (I was able to scrounge up the money for by babysitting) to club class.

When we arrived at the lounge and greeted by a woman that looked like she stepped out of vogue and 'free' drinks, I all of a sudden understood why Uncle Ron had insisted that I change out of my sweat pants and flip flops into something more acceptable before leaving the house. And also why his face had contorted when I changed from flip flops to birkenstocks (the official shoe of the lesbian I was later told) thinking that it would be better. There were men in full suits sipping scotch, while seated in leather arm chairs, complaining about the glare off the crystal chandelier above them to another man in a cheaper looking suit who nodded and scurried off in a hurry. Huh, I think I just found my people, I remember thinking.

When we were escorted onto the plane, through a separate corridor so we didn't have to look at the peasants that were flying 1st, 2nd and 3rd class (yuck), I was greeted by name by Alfred. "Good evening Miss Obsessive. Can I interest you in a glass of champagne before take off?" Ohhhhh ya, I thought. I'm home.

Before my uncles could answer for me, I immediately agreed, my 15 year old brain drunk with power.

Now I don't know your experience with air travel.... but when being served a drink, I am always given a plastic cup that can fit half a can of coke. Not in club class bitches. Alfred returned with a crystal glass filled with champagne. And, being the classy bitch I am, I finished my drink in two gulps. I caught only a brief glimpse of horror in Alfred's eyes before he composed himself. Such a professional. And when he offered to refill my glass, Uncle Colin offered that it might be easier to just leave the bottle.

I was a few or more deep when I started experimenting with my seat. That wasn't really a seat. It was a lounge chair that stretched out into a bed. And after rummaging through my little cupboard, I found an entire toiletry case complete with pajamas, tooth paste and slippers. Plus a pillow and blanket in the little bin beside it.

I was so distracted that I kicked my legs out and bumped my champagne glass right off my side table. It SHATTERED on the floor and in bits landed in my discarded shoes.

(Ya I'm that bitch that takes her shoes off on a plane. Deal with it.)

As the panic and shame began to settle over me.... I can't afford to replace one of these glasses, now everyone here will KNOW I'm a fraud and don't belong here.... Alfred appeared out of nowhere. Like a fucking angel.

"Miss Obsessive! Are you hurt? Stay there I will be right back. Don't move." He returned with the most quiet and efficient vacuum I have ever seen, got down on his hands and knees and began sucking up the bits of crystal. He then asked if he could take my shoes with him for a little bit to ensure that all the glass was out of them.

He returned, maybe 20 minutes later, with shoes that I didn't even think were mine. Previously scuffed with worn soles, the shoes he brought back were pristine and looked to have come right out of the box. "Did you steam clean these?" I asked.

I began envisioning Alfred at the front of the plane, scrubbing my shoes and muttering to himself in his adorable little accent. "40 years old and I'm stuck scrubbing this little brats shoes. Fucking bullshit. I should have gone to Oxford instead following my dreams. Butttt daaaaad, I want to travel. Idiot, idiot, idiot."

And I felt terrible and shameful for creating this mess that Alfred had to clean up.... but also wonderful in my new shoes. Which then in turn made me feel even worse.

How Alfred didn't spit in my next glass of champagne I'll never know..... Oh crap. He wouldn't have. Would he?

So, as you can imagine, I immediately recognized the shame in Scott's eyes as he poked his head up from the basement steps and said, "Don't be mad babe."

I kept my head down, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of seeing my nostrils- that uncontrollably flare when I am angry and sends Scott into a fit of laughter every time he sees them- and began tidying.

"Just come see what I did. I think you'll be really happy. I'll clean up when I am done down here."

Begrudgingly, I headed for the steps. What could be possibly be doing down there?

He lead me through the unfinished basement to the back corner where he had set up a make shift work bench and I saw a structure perched on it.

"I am making you a potato box for the kitchen. You've been talking about how much you want one, so I thought I'd give it a go. I was hoping to get it done before you got home- which is why I didn't clean up from dinner- But.... what do you think? It's going to have three sections for different veggies and...."

He kept talking, but I wasn't listening. I was too focused on this beautiful wood box before me. It was perfect. And it completely took the wind out of my angry sails. How could I be mad over a few dishes, when Scott is this thoughtful?

I stretched up on my tippy toes, gave him a kiss and told him he was off the hook this time. Then I headed upstairs to tidy the kitchen and feel simultaneously guilty for how angry I was a few minutes earlier.

Gosh he's good.



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