December 29 – Defining Moment
Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.
(Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice)
I ate popcorn. And I liked it.
Yes, it might sound insane that I am picking this moment as one of the defining ones for the year but it just seems so clear to me. I’ve hated popcorn my entire life. People ask (often with a sense of incredulity) if it’s the taste or the texture or that the seeds get stuck in your teeth. It’s none of those things. I cannot stand the way popcorn smells.
One of my earliest memories is of my mom making popcorn in her brand new air popper, filling to the rim the brown kitchen mixing bowl with the small flowers stenciled out on the side. She held the bowl out to me and I backed away. It smelled absolutely disgusting! I couldn’t understand what they were so excited about but they ate it with utter glee while I cringed.
For years my mom tried to get me to actually try it, and I gave in eventually. It tasted as bad as it smelled. So I avoided it for the most part, hurrying through the lobby of the movie theater, hoping I wouldn’t end up sitting next to someone holding a big bucket of the stuff. I could tolerate caramel corn because that smelled and tasted like sugar but that was about it.
So while we were in Rotorua, we decided to go see the newest Harry Potter movie. It had just opened that week. We weren’t sure if there would be a line so we got to the theater to get tickets about an hour before. There was no need to wait at the theater so we went to the pub next door to get a pint.
I had a Radler Bier from Monteith’s of Greymouth and it was one of my favorites of the trip, light and lemony. We hadn’t eaten dinner but I figured I’d get a hot dog for the movie.
Um well. They didn’t have hot dogs at the concession stand. In fact, they had limited kinds of candy and the dreaded popcorn. So out of necessity, we got a medium popcorn and two sodas.
I am not sure what it was but that popcorn tasted SO GOOD! I’ve tried since then to have that experience again and I came close at another NZ theater, but I haven’t been able to duplicate it since I’ve been home. Maybe corn just pops differently in the southern hemisphere? I dunno.
But the lesson, I suppose, and the reason why this is clearly a defining moment of the year, is that things are not always what they seem and your perceptions aren’t always right. So I’ll keep trying things I’m sure I dislike – maybe not all that often – but I won’t wholly write things off anymore just because I’ve always thought they were disgusting.
(As a note, I picked up some small microwave bags of popcorn at the market recently and I popped one today. Unpleasant experience, mostly because I burned it. Maybe it’s only movie popcorn? Certainly, I need to do more experiments.)