When I was a kid, the best thing ever was a snow day. It wasn’t so much about the sledding and snowmen; although they were fine too. The thing that made the snow day so great was that all of a sudden you got a free pass on science tests and math lessons. It was this little impromptu gift to untangle yourself from the unpleasant non-negotiables.
As an adult, it’s such a pleasure to give myself that “snow day” experience on the things I don’t enjoy. I hate scary/intense/violent movies. For so many years, I’d go anyway. Friends or boyfriends would convince me to tag along. Then I’d sit in the movie theatre at the climax of the film when all of the tension was coming to a head, and I would hate, hate, hate it. I’d ask myself why I was there of my own free will with a hand over my eyes and a big knot in my stomach.
So now, I just don’t do it. I don’t go to movies that are violent for the sake of being violent. I don’t enjoy feeling scared. I don’t want to see anyone get tortured. That’s not entertainment to me. (I made the mistake of going to see Snowpiercer this year without realizing how much violence was involved. I excused myself from the theatre 15 or 20 minutes in to the movie and joyfully escaped to a coffee shop and stationery store until the film was over.)
Another place I give myself a free pass – sports. I have zero interest in watching baseball, football, soccer, and basketball. Watching sports on TV feels like all of those years I spent watching my brothers and cousins play video games while I waited for my turn. Boring. And yet, when people would have Super Bowl parties, I’d go anyway.
I distinctly remember the last Super Bowl party I attended 11 years ago. A friend had gotten a projector and a huge screen, and he was projecting the game onto it. He loaded up on appetizers and drinks, and all of that sounded very fun. I love little bites of things, and the big screen sounded festive. Then I got there, and I realized that obviously on that big screen they would be playing something that isn’t even mildly interesting to me. And while noshing on all of those snacks, in the middle of an entertaining conversation, people would stop talking to watch a big play or scream over a touchdown.
And the commercials? I really don’t get the hype around them. All year long I avoid commercials. I do whatever I can to not see them by streaming television, fast forwarding, or putting the TV on mute when that’s not possible. Why would I purposely seek out commercials during this one event? Plus, being vegan there’s very little that’s marketed to me. And for those things that are – I already have a cell phone plan, a car that’s fully paid off, and insurance coverage. I’m not looking to make a switch, regardless of commercial.
So after that party 11 years ago, I stopped watching the Super Bowl altogether. And as luck would have it, I married a man who went to the same Big Ten college that I did and yet never set foot inside the football stadium. He’s as disinterested in watching sports as I am. It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing. I never have to sit and wait while he checks the score or get interrupted at an event while he finds out who won. He’s not yelling at the TV over a bad play, or complaining on Facebook that they should fire the coach. I’m not a “football widow,” and his mood isn’t affected by if or if not his team won the big game. I love it. We are blissfully unaware of what is happening in the world of sports, except for what we glean on late night talk shows and from the rants of our friends on social media.
Yet, like everyone else, we prepared for this past Sunday by going to the grocery store. Weather forecasters were predicting a monstrous snowstorm, and we knew we’d be housebound for a while until we dug ourselves out.
I stocked up on crackers, cornichons, stuffed grape leaves, kalamata olives, and wine. You know, the essentials. Miyoko’s Kitchen had emailed with a discount earlier in the week. So I’d ordered three new-to-me cheeses, and luckily they arrived on our doorstep before the snow made driving dangerous. I mixed and matched and bought three that I’d heard a lot about – Mt. Vesuvius black ash, classic double cream chive, and French-style winter truffle.
We spent Sunday shoveling and snow blowing in shifts until the driveway was clear. Then that evening, we laid out our nibblies and wine and dug into our well deserved treats.
Both of us liked the black ash best. It’s a semi-hard cheese with a firm texture, good bite, and vaguely smoky flavor.
The truffle was my second favorite with a velvety finish and strong pop of mushrooms. If you like truffles, you’ll be all over this one.
David’s second favorite was the double cream chive. (That’s the one with the greenish hue.) It is a full-bodied, creamy cheese that has an acidic edge to it and undertones of chives.
Feeling contented and full, we retired to the living room to curl up on the couch with our kitties and watch a new episode of Portlandia… Now, that’s my kind of Super Bowl Sunday.
Are there things that you’re supposed to enjoy but don’t? Do you force yourself to do them anyway, or do you joyfully avoid them?