I am writing this post from our bedroom, sitting cross-legged on the white bedspread, the white noise of our air-conditioning loud enough on this warm April Monday to have me wondering why it’s belting out so fiercely and also if I’ve missed the sound of the oven timer going off. I just got up to check—both the air-conditioning and the oven—and turned the air-conditioning off and pulled a tray of near-burned oatmeal cookies from the oven. This activity is sort of a microcosm of my entire life, maybe yours too, this making of messes and then cleaning them up. I mean, from the moment I get up (make the bed!) to the projects throughout the day (Workout; pile sweaty clothes that smell like elephants into the hamper. Do laundry; dump it onto the bed to fold. Prepare dinner; now wash the dishes. Get an assignment; untangle the documents and instructions into something that makes sense). Chaos, order, chaos, order. When Tim’s family was in town visiting a few weeks ago, I told my father-in-law I think I have a learning disability or social disorder where I am constantly seeking order in every environment. I hate the chaos! You should know that Tim’s dad is a very compassionate man, and he has this ability to sound very understanding when he talks, but he nodded and said something like “me too” after that, which was pretty nice of him, I think. If someone is going to tell you they agree with their assessment of your mental lacks, it’s good to have them be empathetic about it.
I always see the hairs I’m shedding on the bathroom floor, every day. I notice the mud that gets tracked in in the kitchen and the stack of bills that need to be organized, and something in my brain throws them, each one of them, onto a sort of Ferris wheel where they keep rotating around and around in my head, demanding I pay attention to them in regular rotation. Even as I’m writing this post, for example, I’m thinking about organizing my dresser (I probably won’t; that one can circle around a few more times) and about what to make for dinner (oh, good, there are beets roasting in the oven, so chalk that one up as almost done). Life is disordered and ordered all at once, you know? My friend Carrie told me at lunch last week that, in her mind, everything is happening all at once; she can’t compartmentalize the problems from the fun Sunday afternoons or the arguments with friends or the great new restaurant we just tried or the children without families around the world. It’s all happening at once to her, she says, and when she tells me that, I nod my head. The brain I’ve been given takes it all in, everything at once, and up in my head it’s chaotic and complex and I can talk for a straight hour without coming up for air when I start to let it out. (Just ask Tim.)
There are good things about this personality, like there are good things about every personality. But there are hard things, too, hard for other people and hard for me, and unlike some personalities that don’t have to think too much about this, I have to take its hardness and throw it up on that Ferris wheel and let it circle back from time to time to be analyzed and examined to be better understood.
This is all what just came out of me when I sat down to write about these affogatos, the idea of which is just pure brilliance: hot beverage (usually espresso but in this case orange cinnamon rooibos tea) poured over a scoop (or two) of sweet (in this case maple honeybush) ice cream. I start thinking about the complexity of life when I want to write about these drinks because I start thinking about the complexity of our time with them yesterday. The drinks are simple. The disaster zone we created in our dining room with them yesterday was not. What started as a black backdrop on the table and a black backdrop behind the French press turned into a dropped backdrop, a broken French press, hot liquid seeping through our farmhouse table and onto the floors and mismatched chairs, broken glass in pieces all over the room, and the two of us throwing towels at everything like a person throws life rafts to the drowning. Life is beautiful and terrible, ordered and disordered, wondrous and chaotic all at once.
ps. I learned to make animated gifs! I hope they don’t make your head hurt.
pps. Einkorn Cookbook update: It is already available for preorder on Amazon. What! One of my oldest friends is getting married Thanksgiving weekend, and I think about her when I look at that far-away publication date. Jackie, you’ll be married when the book comes out! Woah.