Saturday, October 29, 2016

This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things, America

Picture it: It's Sunday morning on the Champs Elysees in Paris. 

You're on an old-fashioned bike with no helmet and a basket on the front, in which a warm baguette, a bouquet of fresh flowers, and that day's copy of Le Monde--each procured from a different speciality shop--rattle gently. 

You pedal past old women on park benches and painters trying to capture the early light of the rising sun hitting the Seine just so, as hand-rolled cigarettes dangle listlessly from their mouths. Also nestled beside the items in your bike basket is a 6 ounce--I mean 177ml-- glass jar of Nutella. 

You hop off your bike on a tiny cobblestone street in the fifth arrondissement, lean it against a sixteenth century balustrade of a neighboring building, and walk six flights up to your small apartment. You prepare a cup of strong espresso and tear a piece of bread off the baguette, spreading just the thinnest layer of Nutella into its nooks and crannies, and settle in for your delicate breakfast.

Now imagine you're at Costco somewhere in the U.S.A. 

Your kid's sixth birthday party is tomorrow, and his dad promised to make him a "pizza" cake, with real pizza crust as the crust, Nutella as the "sauce," and marshmallows and chocolate chips for the toppings. Fortunately, Nutella has come to America in the form of two twin-packaged, gallon-sized plastic jugs at Costco. You buy four of them, because who knows how much dessert pizza you'll really need, and you don't want to run out.

You get back into your car which is parked two feet from the double-wide electric doors of the warehouse wholesaler and drive 15 minutes back to your driveway, where you pull into your garage and park six inches from the entrance to your house. The party comes and goes in a whirlwind of chaos you can barely remember, because screwdrivers. 

But the very next day, you discover that an entire jar of Nutella went unopened. Uh oh/YAY.

You put on a pot of coffee in that bastard, broken-down slacker asshole of a coffee pot Mr. Coffee, and try to "sneak a cup" as grounds and hot water spill all over your countertop. You grasp frantically for a rag and open the silverware drawer. 

You spend a few minutes staring at the teaspoons and the tablespoons, deciding quickly to use the latter. Standing at the kitchen sink in a giant hoodie sweatshirt and pajama pants, you stick the spoon all the way into the bottom of the jar and drag up as much Nutella as will possibly adhere to the spoon--"heaping" is an understatement. 

You open your giant, Steven Tyler-mouth as wide as it will go and shove the spoon into it, waiting for that familiar dopamine sugar rush to hit your bloodstream as you stare vacantly into space contemplating the meaning of life. Specifically, all the shit at work you have to do, how little money you have because you live beyond your means, what your ex-boyfriends are doing right now and if they're happier than you, and how eating a giant tablespoon of Nutella for breakfast is not in line with your plans to reduce the size of your ass by several inches before you hit 40 in ten months.

And that, friends, is why America--or at least this American--can't have nice things.

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