Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Dream of Sushi Salad

Jesse lay fully extended on our small, shiny, red IKEA couch. His legs hung off of one end and he looked like a teenager who is not yet used to his full grown length. He had a large grin on his face, causing his characteristic one sided dimple to crease, and his eyes to squint blissfully. In one hand he held a large black genie bottle, the kind that resembles the standard queen piece in a game of chess, with gold and blue painted details. In the other hand he held a worn out plastic bag with two little white handles. Inside the bag was a number of pieces of cloth, all in various shades of pink. For once Jesse didn’t even notice me as I walked in the door. He usually jumps up to come and give me a welcome home hug.

"What are you doing Jesse?” I asked. Nothing.
“JESSE WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I repeated, louder. He looked up startled.
“I’m playing with Jeannie” he said, and he held up the little bag of pink cloth. From the first time he watched I dream of Jeannie, Jesse was in love. It has probably been ten years since he acquired that I dream of Jeannie costume, but he keeps it in mint condition neatly keeping it wrapped in plastic as though it were a marvel comic book. The mind of Jesse is a complete mystery to me, and I often find myself asking him all sorts of questions to try and figure out how it works, but to no avail.

“Jesse, what do you mean by playing with Jeanie?” and he held up the bag as though to say, isn’t it obvious?

“Do you see Jeanie? Is she here?” I asked.

“Yai yai yadow!” He said back to me, and shook his hands in the air, which I think means that he is happy.

“Does that mean you are happy? Jesse are you happy?”

“Yeah. Can I play with your ponytail?” Change of subject.
“No Jesse, you can’t just go around asking women if you can play with their hair.”
“Why not? Because it would be…” He leaned in waiting for me to finish the sentence. This usually leads to a series of questions about what would happen if he broke the rules. I kept thinking, I am not going in for it. “Why not Emily” I ignored the question. “Hey Emily, I can’t play with your ponytail because it would be.. because it would be… Emily, because it would be…” He will never stop asking.
“Inappropriate” I said, defeated.
“WHAT WOULD HAPPEN?” Jesse’s favorite question. “WHAT WOULD HAPPEN?? Would I go to JAIL???”
“Yes Jesse, they would lock you up and you would go to jail” I think he likes this answer. It’s a schtick, an obsession. The pattern of the phrase, and the way the words sound seem to be more important than the meaning of the words. It’s like when he practices movie lines. He never gets tired of repeating the same scenes over and over again.

Catherine, Jesse and Christina’s mother, recently discovered that Jesse has honed each of our voices and can perfectly parrot every member of the family. “Jesse, how would I say ‘I would like to go to the movies?’ Catherine asked. Jesse’s eyes half closed and in Catherine’s rich and regal voice repeated ‘I would like to gooo to the moovies’. He did Everett, Christina, and Shawn. He did my voice, which sounded like a munchkin on the wizard of Oz, but since he got everyone else’s voice to a T, I have to accept that that must be what I really sound like. He did Karen’s voice with a perfect English accent, and Baba’s voice with his touch of Iranian.

We have decided to start having more regular sit down dinners, so that we can all get better at having regular conversation. During these dinners I keep trying to get answers out of Jesse about what is happening inside his brain, but he just gets annoyed with my inquisitiveness and asks if he can turn on “I dream of Jeannie” on the computer.

I Dream of Sushi Salad
This salad is in honor of the spicy tuna roll.
1 can tuna fish packed in water, rinsed and drained (if you have fresh cooked tuna, even better!)
¼ chopped Vidalia onion
1 Tbsp chopped pickled ginger
1 tsp wasabi paste
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 garlic scapes chopped
2-4 Tbsp mayonnaise (depends how you like it)

2 small slicing cucumbers or 4 Persian cucumbers

Mix together the top ingredients and use to top cucumbers with (if you are not worried about presentation you can just mix the cucumbers in with the salad).

Christina's vote: "This salad was unblemished"

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