A Pen or a Pencil?

I keep a catalog of 180’s in my office. I use my red file folders and label each file in pencil, preserving, therefore, the opportunity to do another 180 by erasing the label and creating a new one. I don’t think it’s a crime to reverse myself. I just need to keep track of it.

Most of my 180’s are about people although some are about the utility of daily exercise and carbs. Are carbs good? Should I load them? Or should I eschew them, so to speak, not let that poison in my body for a single glutinous moment? I change positions on this, weekly,sometimes daily, sometimes between breakfast and lunch where only a tortilla or bread can hold the protein that stood alone just hours before. Bacon naked at dawn is lovely, by noon it lies thin and wanting on the plate.

I recently turned against Cheerios. You might think this is not such a big deal but it amazes me every single day. A cupboard moth flew out of the cupboard where the Cheerios are stored and a sixty year involvement with Cheerios just evaporated. Oh, we go way back, me and Cheerios. I remember standing at the stove at my friend’s house, six years old, dumping Cheerios in a cast iron frying pan, frying them in butter and dousing them with a cup full of sugar until they were carmelized and crunchy. Who told us to do this? No matter. It’s history. Done. Cheerios are dead to me.

Just like that. It’s the essential nature of a 180.

The Cheerios phenomenon, as I shall now call it, has happened with people as well. Oh yeah, you might have been all crunchy and buttery at one time but now you are dry and bitter, the black detritus on the bottom of my oven, I saw it just now when a roasted potato slipped off the cookie sheet. You can try washing it off, like I did, but the shadow remains. The dead to me shadow.

There are a couple of people in my life, or not in my life, as it were, right now who are in the Cheerios sphere. They are people who were friends who crossed me, not in a little way, but in a big, public way. They were people who had eaten my cooking, taken advantage of my hospitality, poured applesauce on latkes I had made with my own hands, fried in my own kitchen with the oil splattering on my stove top and staining my shirt. Once or twice, the splatter hit me on my hand and made me wince.

So who does that? Betray someone who has made them latkes? It is unfathomable to me. So I wrote the labels on their red files in ink.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one to think that breaks with people are always permanent. I voluntarily orphaned myself at the age of forty, having a falling out with my parents that lasted ten years. Then magically, a 180 occurred, mostly because one of my sons kept harping on wanting to know his grandparents, and I drove, with my husband, six hours to my parents’ home to pick up essentially where we had left off ten years before. That 180 allowed me to talk to my mother before she disappeared into Alzheimer’s, get to know the father who had been working nonstop my entire childhood and have parents again, if only for a short time before they both died. 180’s can be huge flaming shamrocks of luck if you take the time to notice them.

I notice them. I take note of them. I file them. I keep records. Indeed.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “180 Degrees.”

2 Comments on “A Pen or a Pencil?

  1. Not to miss the point of the story, but I did not know you could do that with Cheerios and I can’t wait to try it out.

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