Cream Cheese and Other Shortcomings

This column first appeared in the April 2016 issue of “Forsyth Family” magazine.

When Sparkle Girl puts cream cheese on her bagel, she carefully spreads it so that no bagel peeks through the surface and that the cream cheese is of uniform depth. When she is done, the surface is so smooth that, if it were ice, it could be used for skaters in an itsy-bitsy version of Disney on Ice.

When I put cream cheese on my bagel, I glob it here and there and don’t smooth it out. Small bits of the bagel remain exposed. Elsewhere, there are tiny mountains. One of my bagels could be used for the extra-rugged challenge in a teeny-tiny snowmobile competition. I do that solely because that’s the way I like my bagel. For one, I enjoy coming upon bonus blobs of cream cheese as I eat it.

Unfortunately, my technique deeply offends Sparkle Girl. Could I please, please, please spread it out so that she can eat her bagel in peace? she asks. When I can, I like nothing more than accommodating Sparkle Girl, Doobins and Garnet. But asking me to eat a bagel covered with a boring vista of smooth cream cheese is asking too much.

The other day, we were having pancakes for breakfast. Watching me butter the pancake the same way I put cream cheese on a bagel, Sparkle Girl asked me whether I seriously intended to eat my pancake that way. I looked down at the shards of butter scattered over the surface.

Absolutely, I said.

Unbelievable, said Sparkle Girl.

I couldn’t begin to say why but that reminded me about a time when I was in my 20s and lived in an apartment with two roommates. One day, they sat me down and told me that my habit of leaving cupboard doors wide open after I got something off the shelf was driving them crazy.

“Like the way you don’t push in your chair when you get up from the table,” Garnet said.
An excellent example of a similar lapse, I thought. I also thought about how handy it is that our kitchen has open shelves above the counter where the plates and glassware are stored so I’m never in danger of not closing a cupboard door. (The same cannot be said of the cupboard doors under the counter.)

Anything else that I do that drives them crazy? I asked.

“That would be an essay not a column,” Garnet said.

From Doobins’ reaction, I surmised that he could put together something to rival the old World Book Encyclopedia.

Anything in particular she would like to mention in the moment? I asked.

You don’t put things back when you get them out of the refrigerator, Garnet said.

Sparkle Girl agreed.

They had me there. I definitely have a tendency to leave the half-and-half on the counter when I’m the last person to add it to my coffee.

They love me anyway, they said.

I didn’t ask any more follow-up questions. I simply poured syrup on my pancake and began eating it secure in the knowledge that, although listing my good traits might not call for writing an essay, surely they would fill a well-illustrated brochure.

Comments are closed.