Day 942, January 10, 2023

What We Think About as We Get Older

Taste is a funny thing. Sometimes, perception can be so precise. A specific brand of cranberry-apple juice can be unique and render other brands as mere imitators. If I were more of my mother’s chemist, it would be a blessing because I could replicate the correct proportions out of bottles of cranberry and bottles of apple juice. Instead, I just express my disappointment and suffer through 64 fluid ounces until I can play the grocery store juice roulette and hope my brand is in stock the next time we go.

My mother’s taste must be like that for all things. She has a precision to her cooking that is so identifiable. Whereas my cooking is more like a Cray-Pas smudge, my mother’s cooking has the sharp lines of a graphite automatic pencil. I need to be certain to pay more attention the next time I visit. I have to admit, my excitement of eating my mother’s cooking often overwhelms me and I find I have eaten without attention, just succumbed to the pleasure of it all.

Sometimes our bodies tell us something is wrong. I have sensitive guts, and they can be as discriminating as my juice tongue. Maybe I’m experiencing a little unusual stress, or staying up too late too often, or having too much cheese, or standing funny on a rainy day in January. They recognize something, and then it seems like whatever it is that is triggering this irritation, becomes all the body can focus on. It is the curdling taste of drinking juice that is out of proportions. 

I used to imagine that as I aged, the aches in my knees from old football injuries would become identifiable. That I would be one of those old guys sitting in a rocking chair on a porch and predicting a hail storm tomorrow, or maybe a dry spell for a few weeks, or that it is time to batten down the hatches before a hurricane hits. Like my Cray-Pas smudge cooking, I haven’t quite figured out what the aches mean other than, often the air feels funny, and the weather is changing. 

A doctor can ask me to go take a test (are you taking a test if you are giving a sample?), and tell me my guts are inflamed, but I didn’t need his letter to tell me that. How strange to send that through the US mail. Such precise and succinct correspondence. I like it better when things are unremarkable. With a test, there are precise numbers, scatter plots on a graph, ordinary ranges. I would imagine my juice analysis to be something like that, each brand plotted for Cranberry X and Apple Y, and then a shaded pleasure factor. Perhaps the next time I have to give blood, I’ll bring a vial of cran-apple juice and ask to have it sent in along with my sample for analysis. 


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