Thursday, June 24, 2010

Today I threw out a nutmeg

I asked for a nutmeg, because nutmegs are sacred in The Kitchens and the thought alone that there would be a container for pre-ground nutmeg is absurd. You have to ask for one, because the chefs keep them in their private office. Chef K told me to go to Elizabeth, who she made The Keeper of the Nutmegs, and Elizabeth gave me a small wad of plastic wrap.

I unwrapped it, grated it, wrapped it up, and gave it to her.

Done. Or so I had hoped.

Bill came up behind me. "I have a nutmeg for you."

"Oh no, that's okay," I replied. "Elizabeth gave me one. I don't need it anymore. But thank you."

"No, you can use this one," said Bill.

"It's too late--I already grated the other."

"Well, you can have this anyway."

"I don't need it."

Bill started to get angry. Really angry. Some people have "crazy killer eyes." Bill could put them to shame. Whenever he gets that stare, especially when he's cutting meat, it piques my flight-or-flight reaction.

"No, I'm giving it to you! You can have it, d*** it. It's like a gift! Take it!"

"Okay," I said, trying to have the proper tone to say That's enough. "Alright. Thank you."

"See? Here's the bag," said Bill. "I got half a dozen of them for $1.25 at the health store. They're cheap. That's why I wanted you to have one."

And then he stormed off, leaving me with another wad of plastic wrap. His insistence caught my attention and made me curious, suspicious, as to why he wanted me to have this so badly. I knew his intentions weren't out of kindness, either. Bill is in his 50's, married, and has asked out several women at school, beginning in the first semester. Aside from the fact that he told me and my best friend that after he received his Financial Aid check he would take us out to lunch (he didn't), he's stalked at least one woman. His phone calls to her were as last as 11:30 at night.

A gift is something very psychological, as well. When someone gives you a gift, "it increases the bond between us and the person to whom we have given." (Psychology Today) The last thing I want is for Bill to feel as though he created a "bond" between us. This probably never would have occurred to me if he hadn't said "gift" in the first place.

Last night as I was falling asleep (and I fall asleep pretty quick these days), I imagined that I was driving home from school and had gotten pulled over. The officer asked if I had any weapons in the car, and I said yes, I have my chef knives. He asked to see them, and I gave him the case. He opened the case and took out the little plastic wrapped package. He took a closer look at it, then decided to arrested me for possession. Bill didn't give me a nutmeg. For some reason, he tried to frame me.

Obviously that's not the case. But that didn't stop me from tossing the nutmeg in the garbage the next morning.
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