Wednesday, August 5, 2009

City Girls Scare Easy

One of the reasons I want to move to the country is due to my deeply rooted fear of all things that wriggle or wiggle. Or have squishy centers. Or sting. Yea, yea, I understand that those types of things tend to congregate in the country. But I'm all about conquering this fear and figure I might as well look it straight in the, or all of their, eye(s). Follow me?

The key to tackling fears is to embrace them, and I've decided to do this with lots of unjustified confidence. For example, when I noticed a potentially bountiful harvest of cactus pears sitting like crowns atop our abundant cactus, I knew it was time to call Jesse. You see, Jesse is my sister, and Jesse likes food adventures. Actually, she's a crazy good chef and has no fear of trying the most complicated, most intimidating dishes. Prickly cactus pears encased in wicked spines, amidst snake infested mountains of cactus are right up her alley. What appear to me as gem-like-fruits-of-doom appear to her as the makings of luscious sauces and decadent aromas. However, she also shares this inherent fear of creepy wildlife and I was certain she would be slightly apprehensive.

Therefore, I decided to take advantage of this obvious opportunity to feign confidence by offering a late afternoon tractor-ride around the land to help her collect the little beasts - in the middle of snake country in the middle of snake season. Basically, it was an excellent plan to a) fool my sister into thinking I was totally fearless and awesome, and b) fool myself into the same lie. Also, I was kinda counting on Jesse's own fear of the same types of wild things to cause her to cancel.

When the afternoon arrived, I waited patiently for Jesse to call and back out of this game of chicken I had created. No dice. It turns out that her love for food adventure far outweighs her fear of creepy crawly things. Rather then let her call my bluff, I donned my trusty trucker hat, knee high boots, and Lone Star. The casual confidence my outfit conveyed was probably almost believable until I refused to climb down off the tractor at our first stop along the back fence (location of all of my land/snake spottings to date).

As we stopped aside cactus after cactus, I watched Jesse walk right up to the towering plants. Sure, she screamed continually as stink bugs and various other mysterious creatures crawled onto her hands or out of the fruit, but that didn't stop her. It was awe inspiring. So much so, that I realized there's nothing sissy about showing your fear while going through with the task. She was a whole lot cooler and more confident out there grabbing the fruits and screaming then I was in my trucker hat atop the tractor. After thirty minutes of this process, I finally crept off my perch and joined my sister in the middle of potential snake nests, innumerable and invisible creepy crawlies swarming around us. We plucked the heck out of those cactus - twisting, screaming, cursing at the needles in our fingers (thighs, elbows, etc), saying "DID YOU HEAR THAT?" at rustling leaves, and screaming again.

Our version of confidence, and an hour and a half, got Jesse a bag full of the magenta beauties. I was quite certain she was only bluffing about her claim that she would immediately de-prickle, skin, and boil the suckers when she got home. We both secretly knew that in reality, they were too intimidating to actually cook and EAT, and that we had only attempted the harvest process to prove something to ourselves. Wrong. Again. She managed to make our semi-traumatic adventure worthwhile through the creation of what sounds to be an elegant sauce. Hmph.

I guess that, regardless of age, you can keep learning stuff from your older sister.

Our thorn and creature infested afternoon was made complete by an iridescent bug that zoomed in for a landing on the picnic table as we had a few beers.

For the record, it was I who took these pictures while Jesse and Jeremy shuffled around awkwardly behind me, attempting to avoid the mysterious beer-drinking beetle. Apparently, I'm kind of over the fear of crawly (so long as they don't wriggle - still working on that) things. Mission, partially, accomplished.

(Drunk beetle.)

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