Posts Tagged ‘Oatmeal’

This morning Bob volunteered to make a hot breakfast.

This happens randomly; maybe it’s really cold outside or maybe he’s just pulled a loaf of steaming sourdough bread out of the oven. I was sipping my first cup of coffee and watching a report on the new Vanderbilt “Project on Unity and American Democracy” – my man crush Jon Meacham was speaking about Lincoln. I said “Yes” to oatmeal.

When a man cooks, it’s like an Army drill sergeant has commandeered the kitchen. Everything is set and ready to go, whether it’s scrambled eggs, pancakes or oatmeal, Bob has his methods and I never question him. I have no idea how much cheddar cheese he puts in the eggs for instance, I simply wait at attention for the meal to be served. And granted, it’s usually delicious.

There is just one little thing I ask of him when he’s making oatmeal, “Please let me fix it myself!”

All I want is the hot, hard, congealed lump of Irish steel cut oatmeal in a bowl – don’t make mine like yours. Don’t add milk and salt and butter. Call me crazy, but I like to add bananas and peanut butter.

As I was waiting for breakfast, Eunji Kim, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Vandy, was speaking about the importance of listening. After all, how can we even hope for unity in this country if the right and the left don’t listen to each other?

“In this age of political inattention, governing is inherently thorny and communicating is impossibly difficult. President Obama frequented late-night comedy shows, yet for a while they have been the spearhead of satire only for blue America. Reaching out to the inattentive public may require unusual approaches to presidential messaging, even if it means setting up a virtual Biden Island inĀ Animal Crossing, a squishy Nintendo game.”


Granted I don’t play video games but I get the analogy. Mr T was elected precisely because people thought they knew him from The Apprentice. Who wants to read all those lengthy real news articles about his underhanded dealings in Atlantic City, when most Americans are getting their news on social media. And social media loves to fit you into its algorithm, so that you not only consume its message, you get really mad about it! Then you click on their adverts.

The oatmeal was being served! I paused Professor Kim and walked into the kitchen; there was Bob stirring my oatmeal. Every single time he makes oatmeal I feel the need to remind him about the way I like it, just as I did this morning.

What are you doing?” I said.

He proceeded to tell me that he had added a little milk because otherwise it would be too hard! My first inclination was to throw the bowl in the sink and make myself the usual morning meal of yogurt and fruit while not saying one single word. Yes, I hate to admit that at times in the past I’d used the passive aggressive technique of total silence. Instead I said,

“I might just have a heart attack if you ever actually listened to me.”

He looked at me and smiled, because we’ve been doing this marital dance for over forty years, and humor has always served us well. I proceeded to fix my oatmeal the way I like it, smushing in a half a banana and adding a plop of maple peanut butter, while he poured salt into his bowl.

And I thought to myself, if we want the other half of the country to listen to us, to listen to the facts and science, to wear masks and to care about the poor and disenfranchised, we are going to have to be willing to listen to THEM – and not in a demeaning or deprogramming way. A heart attack is not equivalent to an infectious respiratory disease, ie #wearadamnmask. https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/florida-grocery-store-captures-country-s-divide-over-wearing-masks-100487237927

Because we must have some common ground in the post-truth Trump world if we want to hold these United States together. And it doesn’t matter who starts listening first, if we truly desire unity, maybe President Biden needs to appear on The Daily Show, or even FOX? And we need to mind our manners (and disregard my poor attempt at photoshopping).


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