Wednesday, February 27, 2008

all the layers

dots, stripes, stripes

I've heard at least several mentions in so many days of some newly engineered onion which will not make you cry. And this onion, so I've heard, will taste and react in all other aspects just as you expect an onion should, minus that one little thing. No tears. And I can just about see why that might be a desirable thing. I am especially sensitive to even the weakest, half-withered onion and fat drops roll down my face as I tend to my chopping most nights. But it's an onion. That's what they do. For every reluctant pot of soup I've ever thrown together with random ingredients culled from a bare pantry and noticed, upon first taste check, the obvious absence of onion, I can't buy that they can remove the cry and leave the rest behind. I won't believe it even if they insist it to be so. I won't deny an onion its onion-ness any more than I would keep my daughter from being who she is. I could steer her toward safer wardrobe choices, respectfully request she consider choosing something that goes together (says who?) more than her typical eccentric fashion, but why would I? She tends to alternate from a monochromatic ensemble one day to some crazy mishmash of patterns and colors and textures the next, the latter often drawing a smidge more public notice or comment at times than I tend to prefer for myself. I could encourage her to take off a few layers (the girl, she likes her layers) or consider switching the stripes for a solid or maybe ditch a few of the necklaces. One might say, despite her poise and confidence and brilliant enthusiasm for her own brand of fashion, that some of her outfits might make my eyes water, figuratively speaking. But that's who she is. And to ask her to change into something else would change her. It would spoil the fantastic pleasure she finds in putting outfits together and she'd look the same, she'd seem the same, she'd probably still be just about as witty and sharp and interesting. Just about. But it would change her in some tiny way and a tiny drop of water can carve a canyon, eventually. Even take the change part (the biggest part, really) out of the equation and I'll say that dabbing at my teary eyes with the back of my onion-juicy hand is a little diner making ritual I don't care to lose. Not because I particularly like hoping that I don't chop off my finger as I finish up the last few slices with my eyes inadvertently clamping shut in opposition, no. Not because I have an endless supply of fresh responses to the, "oh no, Ma, why are you crying?" affectations I get from that sharp dressing girl of mine, no. I support holding on to as many rituals as one can notice. I believe that even brief annoyances can be important. I think if we could lump a whole lot of annoying things up and eliminate them all at once, our collectives lives would instantly become that much more bland. I'll keep my weepy onions and my sparky kid, thanks.


Lisa said...

Oh no, the onion would indeed be different. The stuff that makes you cry is the stuff that gives it antibacterial properties.

Great musings on what makes our kids unique.

april. said...

yes, of course it would be different! how could you remove the very essence of an onion and still call it an onion? i should have mentioned the physical properties of change, too, and not just the flavor. this genetically modified world is getting ridiculous.

Angelina said...

I have to say that I used to dress exactly as Freya does (joyously mixing dots and stripes and colors according to mood and whim) and I love her sense of style.

I also agree about the onions. One of the things I relish about life is the incredible collection of scents that are everywhere and how uniquely each of us experiences them. One thing I used to love about San Francisco was how you can smell so many good things on the same block that you smell gross things...walking by the bakery I would smell hot grease (donuts) and cigarette smoke and coffee, passing the apartment building next to it I would smell that exhilarating smell of chemical laundry (I don't use them but have a secret love for the smell of Tide and others like it) and then passing the alleyway right next to that I would smell piss and old sex. The things that smelled unpleasant always seemed to frame the things that smelled good so wonderfully. Without the things that smelled bad the rest would seem so much more boring.

Besides, none of us will ever agree on what smells good or bad.

I don't mind that onions make me cry. seems to be a part of their inherent character. The sharp and the sweet of them.

Wonderful post.

kort said...

your post made me think of this...