Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Knock It Off Salad

It was a huge mistake, and one that I am likely to be paying for, for decades.

We stood by the elevator, dressed in our workout clothes. I wore shorts and a tank top, and had my hair pulled into a ponytail. Jesse was wearing long shorts hiked up high and white tube socks stretched out long. Jesse is tall and slim, with blond thinning hair, long arms, and large hands and feet. He has blue slanted eyes, and prominent child-like dimples that appear when he smiles, or smirks, which is most of the time. Jesse has autism, and enjoys repeating phrases that he picks up. A few months ago Christina and I talked about getting a parrot. That was before Jesse came to live with us. Now we thank our lucky stars that we never followed through with the parrot adoption, as already we hear ourselves echoing through the apartment, our voices a few octaves lower and projected theatrically out of Jesse's voice box.

We were waiting for the elevator to open, so that we could go down to the gym for our nightly workout. "You know what your gonna get? Your gonna get a one way ticket back to your parents!" Jesse said, for about the thousandth time. I still don't remember what movie this is from, but I am thinking 'Clifford'..or 'jingle all the way' two of his favorites. "Emily, what does 'a one way ticket back to your parents mean?'" "Jesse, I have already answered that question. and answered it. and answered it. I am not answering it again." I said. Jesse stood smiling, and looked nervously down and to the right.

We stood in silence for awhile. Then Jesse began inching up behind me. He was testing me. Jesse loves the smell of women's hair, but he knows he is not supposed to go around sniffing people. He began inching closer. He towered over my shoulder, and I could see out of the corner of my eye that he had a sneaky looking grin on his face.
"Smell your haiiiir" he sang.
"No Jesse, you may not" I said.
"Why nooooot?" He asked innocently, but his face betrayed the innocence in his tone with a guilty sparkle in his eye. He scuffled in closer, leaning in ever so slightly.

That's when it happened. The words flew out of my mouth before I realized their significance. Actually, in all fairness, to most people they hold very little significance at all, but to Jesse (as I had recently discovered) this particular grouping of words hold a special meaning. There are certain phrases that trigger Jesse, getting him so upset that he obsesses over them. The obsession can last for days, or months, or....years.

"Jesse!!!" I whirled around just as Jesse was gently lifting my ponytail with the fingers of his giant hand and gingerly bringing it up to his nose.

"knock it off!"

Immediately after I said the words I regretted it, knowing that I would never hear the end of it and that for years to come Jesse will be telling the story about how sometimes Emily says 'knock it off' to him.

"wha?? did you just say knock it off to me???"
"yes I did" I said
"why did you say knock it off to me?"
"Because I don't like having my hair sniffed" I stood my ground. Jesse stared down at the floor of the elevator, looking stunned. He looked sadly up at me
"sixteen days ago you said knock it off to me too." He said. I had forgotten. "Why do you say knock it off to me?" I had committed a crime in Jesse's eyes. A horrible horrible crime for which he would punish me by being an inconsolable victim. He flailed around on the exercise bike, gesturing wildly, pointing at imaginary characters and shooting me wounded looks every so often. After 40 min on the bike, I asked Jesse how he was doing.
"You said knock it off to me. Come on, what's the matter with you?" Jesse said, no doubt repeating something he had heard somewhere and looking seriously injured. I couldn't take it anymore. I sincerely apologized, and hoped that he would decide to drop his tantrum. He looked me soberly in the eye, and spoke assertively.
"I don't like it when people say knock it off to me."
"Okay Jesse, I am sorry." I said, knowing full well that the story had already been imprinted in Jesse's mind, and that I will be forever made to regret ever saying those three little words.

Knock It Off Salad
mix together:
3 long thin carrots, sliced
1 large red pepper, diced (the one I used was not fully ripe, so it is red and green
2 cups soaked and cooked, or 1 can mixed salad beans (if using a can, rinse them well)

In a frying pan, add:
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp grape seed oil
1 small head broccoli, broken into pieces
3 cloves garlic
Heat and cook until broccoli is bright green, let cool, then mix broccoli with the other veggies.

Dress with 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar and 1 Tbsp grape seed or olive oil. Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme!

Christina's vote: "This salad is zesty!"

No comments:

Post a Comment