Eggplant bruschetta and IDGAF


Something weird has been happening: Strangers are noticing my body and reacting to it, and I don’t like it. WHAT ARE YOU SMILING AT.

This happened one other time, in 2007 and 2008, when I got skinny after my divorce. I was pretty depressed, and sure, I wanted attention (I ALWAYS WANT ATTENTION HAVE YOU NOTICED MY EXCRUCIATINGLY PERSONAL BLOG). But I had gotten used to a certain level and quality of attention from men. I’ve been sexually harassed as much as the next XX chromosome (WHAT IS THAT WHY IT’S SYNECDOCHE LOOK IT UP MILLENNIALS), but I look like a slightly angrier version of Peter Sellers, so men don’t go too far out of their way to hit on me. All of a sudden, after I lost 20 pounds through starvation and running 40 miles a week, attractive men were being really nice to me. But all I could think was, THIS IS WHAT YOU LIKE YOU FUCKING DOUCHE BAGS? A SKINNY BASKET CASE WHO PUKES IN RESTAURANT BATHROOMS? OH YOU’RE PAYING? OK FINE YOU CAN HIT IT.

Now, it’s happening again, but for a different reason: I am the OPPOSITE of fuckable (oh, if only they knew about pregnancy sex!). And men and women I don’t know are SMILING AT ME. WHAT ARE YOU SMILING AT.

I’m a friendly person. I smile first all the time. It’s kind of my life philosophy (RECENTLY. I have had other, less productive life philosophies that were closer to scorched-earth policies; see list, below): You’re here, I’m here. Let’s make this easier on each other instead of harder. But now people are smiling at me BECAUSE I’M PREGNANT. Which means they’re not smiling at ME, they’re smiling at something ABOUT ME. Which is FUCKING WEIRD AND I DON’T LIKE IT.

Also, the belly rubbing. It hasn’t happened much, and only people I like have done it. But it doesn’t feel to me like they’re rubbing my baby. It feels like they’re rubbing my stomach. Because they’re rubbing my stomach. I don’t understand what THEY think they’re doing. The whole thing confuses me, and I smile awkwardly through it.

At the same time as these new and exciting ways to feel dissociated from my body, these are some things that have become more difficult in the last few weeks:

  1. Putting my shoes on.
  2. Sitting for any length of time.
  3. Standing for any length of time.
  4. Giving two fucks about your bullshit.

The last one is a problem, because this is what I’ve done recently:

  1. Called a co-worker a “mansplainer” IN A MEETING.
  2. Said about another co-worker that “he doesn’t work well with others.” Again, IN A MEETING.
  3. Ate an entire meatball sandwich with my head leaning against the wall of a restaurant.

I really need maternity leave so I need to not get fired, and I need the lunch place near my work to continue to let me eat there because I don’t have any food in my apartment. Instead I have decided that work is the place where tact goes to die and the lunch place is a great place to stare vacantly at the counter guy while gumming my food and wearing flip-flops, maternity pants, a hoodie, and–it will come as no surprise–no makeup or hair products.

Also, my sex drive has taken a dive. It could be because my hands are swollen pretty much constantly, my ass hurts, dickweeds will not give up their seats on BART, and I spend every minute I’m not at my two jobs packing my apartment to move into SJ’s house. It also could be because last week SJ, who will be my husband in THREE WEEKS HOLY GOD I’VE ONLY KNOWN THIS PERSON FOR TEN MONTHS AND HE’S AS IMPULSIVE AS I AM, had NOT A JOKE poison oak ON HIS FACE, a cold sore, and WALKING PNEUMONIA. WALKING PNEUMONIA. For a short while he also had an exploded zit on the end of his nose. Thank god he’s funny and smart because that shit was not happening. Fortunately we enjoy each other’s company when we’re not having sex (a novelty!). We were driving in his unregistered, unsmogged van with two broken doors the other day and I decided to change the subject from whatever he was talking about:

Jenny: Do you want me to read you my blog post out loud?
SJ: That would be wonderful.
Jenny: Do you notice how I cut you off to talk about me?
SJ: I don’t notice that anymore.

See? He’s perfect.

Anyway, at some point last week, I decided to call my dad for some relief.

Dave: We spent most of the morning at the accountant’s.
Jenny (distracted): Tax time.
Dave: We have a good accountant now, after the shyster we almost had.
Jenny (no longer distracted): Go on.
Dave: We had a good year with this one guy. He was a teacher [both my parents were teachers, so being a teacher begets the highest measure of respect from them]. And then after a year, without telling anyone, he sold the business to this other guy. Name Patel. Indian. We looked the guy up on Help. Er, Yelp. And everyone said he’d done things that were almost fraudulent! We were like, oh, my god, this guy has our paperwork!
Jenny: (A vague memory begins to surface of my mother telling me this story. My parents become a unified front only when, but always when, they feed into each other’s paranoia that Someone Is Trying to Take Advantage of Them. Then my father gets Very Serious, my mother shrieks about feeling “violated,” and this couple that spends 90 percent of their time avoiding each other in a 500-square-foot apartment bands together to defeat the forces of evil. It always, always has to do with money.)
Dave: So we made an appointment with him and asked to see our paperwork. We went into his office and sat down. And when he gave it to us, we said, We’re going to keep this. And then we walked out with it.
Jenny: (Remembers clearly now. They were incredibly proud of their clever plan to trick Mr. Patel, who was likely disarmed by the caged fury of a unified front who, taken together, are 148 years old; sport two heads of thick white hair, two pairs of spectacles–one perpetually askew–and 25 dental crowns; and dress in LL Bean.)
Dave: Then we went to H&R Block and they had a Polish woman do our taxes.
Jenny: How could this possibly get any better!
Dave: But at H&R Block they’re selling you products. We’re like, wait a minute, we’re paying you to do our taxes. We don’t want any products!

I wish I could end with a report on which ethnicity is doing my parents’ taxes now, but I was pregnant while walking, with Dad on speakerphone so I could type and hear at the same time, and my train was coming. But for one brief moment, I was entranced by someone else’s drama, not mine. And if that’s not what parents are for, then I’m not 40 years old and six months pregnant with a stranger’s baby and getting married in three weeks and moving in with my fiancé tomorrow. Oh, wait. I am.

For this bruschetta, you need:

  • 1 large eggplant, chopped into 1-in. cubes
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 TB olive oil
  • 1 fresh Italian or French baguette, thinly sliced
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

You need to:

  • Sauté the garlic in olive oil.
  • Add the eggplant and tomatoes. Cook until the whole pan is sloppy and delicious.
  • Toast a whole bunch of the baguette slices.
  • When eggplant/tomato mix is done, scoop onto toasted slices. Season with salt, pepper, Parmesan, and basil.
  • Take a break from packing. Then keep packing. Because that’s what you do now. You pack.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Julie Widder says:

    One of your best blogs yet!

    I love that you include your parents, because I can totally picture them doing what you write about them.

    Good luck with the packing. Oh, and the baby, and the wedding and the everything else you are doing…!

    :), Julie Widder (We knew your parents in Berlin, now we live in Singapore, where they have visited us.)


    1. Julie, thank you so much for your sweet note! Ah, I remember them visiting friends in Singapore, and I know they loved the people they met in Berlin — lifelong friends! 🙂


  2. Stephanie says:

    I was hesitating about taking a writing class (should I? with whom? will I like it? will the teacher be stodgy and formal?), then I read this. You’re hilarious and real and raw and definitely don’t seem stodgy, and I can’t wait for your class. I promise I won’t ask to touch your belly. I’m not really into babies and that kind of thing anyway. 🙂


    1. What a sweet note! Thank you so much, Stephanie. Are you taking the Intro to the Essay class? Can’t wait to meet you — introduce yourself and remind me about your comment!


      1. Stephanie says:

        Let’s see, its called Personal Essays – in Berkeley. I will definitely introduce myself- I’m really looking forward to it! The last time I took a writing class, laptops weren’t even invented yet- so it’s been awhile. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s