The Curious Case of the Aging Banana
The Curious Case of the Aging Banana
Long, long ago and far, far away, on a very strange planet called Austin, five college boys inhabited a two bedroom apartment. The names have been changed, not to protect the innocent (because there were none), but rather to avoid senseless litigation. Let’s just refer to them as “Happy, Grumpy, Sleepy, Dopey, and Doc.”
At the beginning of a promising new college semester, these five good friends combined their Earthly belongings to furnish a 2-bedroom apartment. Considering the cost savings reaped by sharing rent, nobody even momentarily cogitated about the potential hardships of five testosterone-filled bodies in such a small space. All went well…for the first week.
On the first Saturday night of the semester, one anonymous roommate stayed up late, watching an outdated movie on their tiny television. Grumpy swore it was Sleepy. Sleepy swore it was Happy. Dopey and Doc were both out of town with iron-clad alibis. Happy shot them all the finger and left for the library.
The trouble had all begun around midnight when Mr. Anonymous got hungry and attempted to consume a week-old banana. After one bite, he quickly understood why his mother had always thrown out aging fruit and he set the offending monkey food aside, atop the small TV in the common area that passed for their living room. Come Sunday, all Hell broke loose.
Now under normal circumstances, some responsible adult would have just relocated the aging edible to the trash so it could begin its journey to the town dump. But this was college, and this was Austin, and these were five young males, and they were each resolutely dedicated to the principle of the matter.
Fastforward several weeks: I was particularly penniless in college as was the roommate with whom I shared a 1-bedroom apartment downstairs from our five friends. One evening, several weeks into the semester, I made my way upstairs and asked if I could watch the evening news on their TV. The three friends currently in attendance agreed it would be no problem so long as I didn’t ask for anything to eat (They were in the process of preparing their meager evening meal.)
As I approached their tiny TV, I was taken back first, by the pungent odor and second, by the impressive bi-directional highway of ants that spanned from the banana, down the right side of the TV, across the small cabinet it sat on, down the three-foot side of the cabinet, across several feet of carpet bordering the floorboard, and finally into a tiny cave at the carpet’s edge.
(Interesting note: Ants do not follow the “stay in your lane” method of travel. They simply hop over or scoot under the oncoming traffic, forming an incredibly choreographed single-lane highway.)
My natural reflex was to reach out and discard the offending produce but I never made it. A cacophony of wails and warnings erupted from the kitchen, from whence the three attending roommates were apparently eying me. I was subsequently lectured on the black-and-white principles of right and wrong, followed by a strong warning to never, ever touch that banana since I was not the transgressor who left it there.
To make a long story short, the rotting, odorous banana corpse remained atop their TV and became home to numerous insects, both flying and crawling, until Thanksgiving weekend when some secret Samaritan (I always assumed to be one of the girls from next door) snuck into the living room and put an end to war of the flies.
I was recently reminded of the banana saga while talking to a friend who had moved here from Florida. Yep, she’s the very same person who I mentioned weeks ago for having weathered the trifecta of 2004 hurricanes. My friend, Dr. Jessica Fernandez moved from Florida to Garland several months ago after accepting a position at Spring Creek Church. The only hitch was that her husband’s job transfer got delayed, relegating her to the role of single parent for six months.
Dr. J related to me that she had gained a new appreciation for her husband. She had previously come to take for granted all the tasks her husband routinely performed – like taking out the trash, putting new license tags on the car, and fixing broken items around the home. She realized that much of her free time had been the biproduct of her husband’s underappreciated labors. Ah, how absence makes the heart grow fonder. Not so fast there bucko! You’ve only heard half the story.
Jessica’s husband finally got his long-awaited job transfer and moved from Florida to Texas, to live in his new home. Only problem was that the home was no longer new to Jessica who had found a place for everything and liked everything in its place. To her husband, it was a new environment with proper storage places yet to be decided upon – resulting in marital conflict over such trivial issues as where the sugar bowl should reside. The good news is that they worked it all out and marital bliss resumed its noble trek.
The Bad News:
With our two-year COVID vacation coming to a close, the great work-from-home revolution is beginning to reveal some cracks in its foundation and companies are realizing just why office buildings came about in the first place. At a minimum, we’re all headed back into the office for at least a portion of the workweek. That means no more Zoom meetings in our dress shirts and underpants. It also means dealing with cubicle mates who leave bananas lying about and bosses who have preconceived notions about where the sugar bowl (or office supplies, or departmental responsibilities) ought to reside.
We’re in for a semester or two of deciding whether principles or people come first. I hope we make the right choices.
Let’s meet for coffee and maybe I’ll reveal to you which of those five prospects was the guilty dog unless of course, you’re married to him. In that case, you won’t need my insight but you might still need the time away from Grumpy. Hit the reply button and let’s get together.
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
– Mark Twain
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