Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Might As Well Face It, I'm Addicted To...

White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn-

...which I'm currently eating.  For breakfast. At 9 something in the morning on a snow day.  I'm not picky about the brand, although I prefer the kind that comes in the red bag. That one is my crack. My bust-the-bag-open-while-still-driving-who-gives-a-shit-if-fake-cheese-powder-gets-all-over-my-steering-wheel-I-must-have-this-now kind of crack.

Waiting in line to pay for this particular brand of popcorn, I get itchy. I can't understand why the line is moving so slowly. I've got cheddar cheese popcorn to eat, people! What's wrong with you! I consider tearing a tiny hole in the top of the bag and eating a little- just a little- to get me through the line. I paw at the bag and it crinkles. Loudly. I look around and feel suddenly exposed. Figured out. I don't want someone to sense my need so I exert every bit of will-power and control I have. It's just enough to get me through the line and out the door. Sometimes I don't even make it to my car before I'm getting my cheesy chomp on. Fuck it.

Currently, I'm finishing off a bag of Pelican Bay white cheddar cheese popcorn. There are so many adjectives on the bag, I can't tell exactly in what order I'm supposed to be reading them: premium, hot air popped, white cheddar cheese, all natural, no preservatives. What's missing is "addictive," "crack-ish," but perhaps there's some sort of FDA thing that keeps those kind of words from being printed on there.

On the package there's an image of a maniacal, drug-addicted pelican flying over some water with a jacked-up buoy in the background. That's how I see it, anyway. The pelican is jonesing for some white cheddar cheese popcorn. He's all itchy for the powder, just like I get in line at Walgreens. He has that same crazy look in his eye that I get. I know. I've seen it while passing the tiny mirrors on the spin-around sunglasses display as I make my way to the checkout holding my bag of popcorn.

Once I picked up a bag on the way home from work. My gentleman caller would be coming over to watch a little Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (Great series on tv from 1993-1994, by the way.) Anyway, I somehow make it home without opening the bag. I walk into the kitchen and put the popcorn in the cabinet. The one with the 4 jars of peanut butter (seriously- what the hell?), the opened box of spaghetti that I'm afraid is too old to eat, but I can't seem to throw away, the bag of pine nuts that I used last summer in some pasta (probably the opened box) and now I don't want, but also won't throw away, and the 2 bottles of vegetable oil.  I shut the cabinet door and walk away.

About 4 steps away. That's about how long it took for my monkey-mind to convince me that I could, indeed, have just a little taste of the cheddar cheese popcorn flavoring and then roll the bag up and put it back until gentleman caller came over. I mean, it's not like a tiny handful or two would make a difference, right?

I turn around and reach out for the cabinet door. My heart begins thumping just a bit faster. My taste buds start tapping their little veins and high-fiving each other. Spit forms under my tongue. Open the door. Reach for the red bag. Hear the crinkle. Pull apart strong adhesive. Hear the pssssshhhht of the air escaping the bag. Reach in. Grab popcorn. Sweep hand to mouth. Make clicking sounds to invite dog to eat the 2 or 3 pieces that fell to the floor. Toss popcorn in chew-hole. Feel sides of tongue get all tangy-like. Remember to save some for gentleman caller. Roll top of bag down and put back in the cabinet. Walk away.

About 4 steps away. That's how long it takes me to chew and swallow the popcorn I'd just put in my mouth. And about how long it takes me to have the brilliant thought that just one more bite would be fine. In fact, it would be good. In super-fact, I'd somehow be doing someone a favor. I can't figure out who or how, but it's enough to motivate me to turn around and go back to the cabinet, grab the bag, unroll it, reach in once or twice, roll it back up, stick it back in, and walk away.

This time, I rinse the cheesy residue off of my fingers. Now, how could I go back and get more, I think. I've just cleaned my fingers. That would be silly.

That's about how long it takes for me to realize that another handful of popcorn would be just dandy. Who cares about the finger-cleaning? I mean, it's not like the water or paper towels cost anything. Okay. The paper towels do, but I'll just use the same one. It will be damp, even, and maybe I can bypass the water-rinsing stage and go right for the wiping of the fingers on the damp towel. Yes. Yes, this will do.

On my fourth or fifth trip to the cabinet, I begin to realize that the supply is dwindling at a rapid pace. I'm not sure that I have the willpower to leave the bag alone until gentleman caller gets here. I briefly consider putting the back outside. In the trunk of my car, maybe. Or perhaps I can take it to my deter me. All of this I'm thinking as I'm standing in the middle of the kitchen, hand deep inside the bag of popcorn and mouth moving like a cow chewing its cud in fast-forward.

Finally, I give in. I eat the whole fucking bag. I'd like to say I make it to the "ohhhh....owww....my stomach hurts....this is awful....I swear I'm never doing this again!" phase. But, the truth is, the last bite is as good as the first.

On this particular night, gentleman caller would arrive. He'd come in, hug me, greet my dog, and head towards the television. "Can I get you a coke?" I'd ask. "I'm sorry I can't offer anything to snack on. Seems I'm fresh out."