Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Raspberry torture

Today, as I write this, is the first day of my summer vacation. But one needs to sort of ease into vacation. Calmness, bliss and luxurious indolence don't flood in the minute the gates are down. They have to be coaxed in. You have to fluff up the pillows for them. They're very fussy about the pillows.

And so I have one last little work story for you. After this it's probably going to be all talking about mooses and the aerodynamics of sitting around, and how enchanting all the dolphins are as they frolic under the rainbows of Lake Superior.

So, this is a story about raspberries.

I was in the break room having my supper. Due to a sort of clearing-everything-out-before-vacation austerity this was not a glamorous affair. I had the very last semi-petrified corner piece of a huge pan of enchiladas. Strangely, though, it was still pretty good. Just, there wasn't enough. I also had a failed attempt to make mango syrup that had been turned into ice cream that, realistically speaking, was inedible. I was giving that one more shot, but ended up throwing it away.

Somehow, while dining upon this repast, despite the fact that I was READING, I fell into conversation with my co-worker. But, okay. She was eating something with a lot of lovely, fresh raspberries on it.

"I have so many raspberries I don't know what to do with them." She exclaimed.

I grunted. I was READING. But then again she mentioned the word raspberries.

"I have stopped even picking them and now just let them fall to the ground and rot." She continued.

I quailed in horror.

She told me a lot about her over thriving raspberry bushes. I told her about how mine do the same, spreading wildly, expanding constantly, but that they refuse to produce any more than 14 raspberries a summer. I think there's too much shade for them. Then I started reading again. This caused her to tell me about all the things she had done with the raspberries. She told me about all the ways they had been eating them at her house, the parfaits, the sauces, the binges. She told me about how many they had frozen. She told me about how heavy the buckets get when you are out filling them up every single day. I looked at her like someone in the headlights of an oncoming car, as if to say "You do realize you are driving directly at me. Hello? Do you see me here?"

Then she started to tell me about all the people she had given raspberries to before she could not think of anyone else to give raspberries to. "I gave a bunch to the neighbor who mows my lawn. I gave some to the mailman. I gave some to these 18 relatives. I gave some to a couple of people walking down my street. I gave some to a couple of stray dogs. I went down to the local garden store and stood in front giving them away. Then I gave up. I had no one else to give them to."

This is a rough approximation of my co-worker's "giving away" speech. It was actually much longer and more detailed. Every minute or so I would look meaningfully at the library free food table, where kind and thoughtful co-workers bring in free food, like, for instance, if you have a bumper crop in your garden you can bring that in and put some there.

Each time I looked meaningfully at the free food table it seemed to make her remember another person she gave her burden of raspberries to.

This co-worker does not read my blog. I do not use my co-workers' names, without their permission, in my blog. And I do not, as a rule, write accurately and specifically about things my co-workers do if it is basically an unflattering story about an identifiable individual. 

But, clearly, there are some lines of decent humanity that a co-worker can cross so far over that I am no longer able to hold to my strictest rules of respect.

It almost never happens, it takes an incredible amount, but yes, if you go racing past the line of basic human decency far enough, you should expect to appear here. It won't be pretty.

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