Monday, April 9, 2012

"Carma"

I think it could have happened to anybody.  I never expected it to happen to me, but that just goes to show how limited my imagination can be.
I’m a pielady.  And by that I mean, I bake pies.  I enjoy eating them, too, but most of all I enjoy making them.  What I don’t enjoy is watching them fall upside down on the floor. 
The first time it happened, I didn’t actually see it.  I just . . . felt it.  And I learned my lesson.  I really did.  Never put a hot lemon meringue pie in the back of a station wagon and break speed limits while delivering it to a fire station.  When I lifted the tailgate, the inside of our car looked like a giant yellow Nike swoosh. It smelled better than tennis shoes, but the pie was just as inedible. 

I continued to break speed limits, but never with a hot pie in the car.  Until last month.  Procrastination might come into play here, but that’s a blog for another day.  Let’s just say I should have made that fresh blueberry pie the night before instead of parking my chassis on the sofa watching American Idol.  Hot fruit pies don’t slice well, and this one was going to be served in about an hour.  But I figured if I put it on the front seat of my new Tahoe (you’re wincing already, aren’t you?) and aimed all the air conditioner vents at it, it would cool off enough to serve up beautifully to the ‘ooh’s, and ‘aahh’s,  and “hey, everyone, this pie’s still warm!” of my admirers.  Carma was about to kick in.
Baking lesson number two:  never let a good pie go to your head.  As I daydreamed about the compliments, I failed to see the brakelights of the van in front of me.  The good news is I didn’t have to meet that driver by accident.  The bad news is—exactly what you thought was going to happen—a  blue Nike swoosh on the floorboard of my formerly new Tahoe.  And I was late for Toastmasters.
A couple of weeks later, my husband and I were in Florida visiting my sick father-in-law in the hospital.  Word to the wise: overworked nurses pay extra attention to sick patients whose family members bring them pizza and pies.  So on a warm tropical afternoon, I made two blueberry pies, one for the nursing staff and one for our fatigued family.
In retrospect, I should have paid attention to my instincts and baked apple pies instead.  The truth is, I was just being lazy.  See, apple pies are more labor intensive than blueberry. So I made two beautiful blueberry pies.  In cheap aluminum pie tins.  Slow down, I’m not stupid - just clumsy.  I put those gorgeous pastries on individual cookie sheets so I could carry them safely to and from the oven.  Sheesh.  You have no confidence in me, do you?
I put one of the pies in the oven.  But when I turned to grab the other one, I bumped the cookie sheet it was waiting on, and the whole thing did a reverse two-and-a-half pike and kissed the kitchen floor with flourish.  Tearfully, I scored it at 9.8 and would have given it a ten if it had landed right side up.
Now, at this point, I want to mention that I had a co-conspirator.  I’m not making excuses, I’m just saying that sometimes audacity requires a push.  My sister-in-law, who shall remain nameless but is the youngest of my husband’s siblings, was watching the culinary aerobics and quickly admonished me, “Don’t touch it!  We can save it!”  And, God forgive me, we scooped the fallen, but not broken, pastry up off of the recently cleaned floor (it was, it really was), scooped out the protected blue contents, made new crusts, and drove the resurrected dessert over to those deserving nurses in the hospital. I heard they really enjoyed it.  I’m so grateful we could save it.
Maybe that was the last straw.  In my defense, I did tell the truth to the family before I delivered that pastry, and they felt, too, how unfortunate it was that the gift pie hit the floor instead of the other one.  So, I don’t really think I should have been the only one held accountable by the “what goes around, comes around” law of life.
We flew home a few days after the last piece of blueberry pie was consumed by my brother-in-law.  It was an unusually empty flight which gave my husband the coveted aisle seat and placed me in my favorite spot next to the window.  Better yet, we  were able to set my computer bag with all of our electronics under the middle seat, giving both of us ample leg room.
Halfway through the flight, my panicked husband grabbed my arm and pulled my bag out from under the seat. I didn’t understand what was wrong until the woman in front of us freaked out--apologizing profusely--and a flight attendant handed us at least a hundred paper towels.  While walking up the aisle back to her seat, the plane lurched, the lady in seat 12C dropped her beverage upside down on seat 12D, and its entire contents funneled directly into my open bag.  My laptop, camera, and our phones were baptized with roughly eight ounces of tomato juice.
I still wonder if that woman worked in the nurses’ station on my father-in-law’s floor. I guess I’ll never know for sure. But she was wearing a Nike windbreaker. 
Carma.  It never gets mad—it just gets even.

2 comments:

  1. I remember right after the plane incident happened. Been waiting for the blog post. It was worth the wait! Brilliantly written.

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    1. Thanks, Liz! You always encourage my crazy writing passion!

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