On Tuesday, one of my friends came over to cowork and brought some fruit for us to snack on including two grapefruits. We didn’t end up eating them, and before she left she said she wanted me to keep the grapefruits.
This morning I sliced one in half and was taken back to a time when I used to eat halved grapefruits regularly. My mom used to give them to me when I was a little girl, with sugar sprinkled on top. She would cut the fruit along the radial lines of its membranes and give it to me to eat with a spoon. When I would try to scoop a chunk out, it would cling to the rind and squish the majority of the piece. In the end I would have a grapefruit shell full of juice. This morning when I was preparing the grapefruit for myself, I cut it this way, got a spoon out of the silverware drawer, and looked at it, recalling my longstanding grapefruit feud. I remembered when I finally learned that most people also cut along the inside of the rind so the pieces come out easily in chunks. I’m now wondering if her decision to withhold the circumference cut was one of her many inventive methods of keeping me occupied before I came up with my own ways.
Throughout the day, every time I opened the fridge, I looked at the remaining grapefruit half and thought about my responsibility to not let it go to waste. I can’t remember ever eating a grapefruit in the five years I’ve lived in New York. I stopped buying all high-maintenance fruits a long time ago.
Just now I decided that it would not go to waste. As I prepared it, pondering the circumference cut, I remembered my first job as a server at The Atrium elderly living facility in Gainesville Florida. It was a prime job for blue collar high schoolers, community college burn outs, and a few middle aged odd balls. One evening while my friends and I were getting ready to wheel the desert carts down the rows of elderly people, I was sorting through the silverware bins to find spoons and came across something quite evil looking.
“What kind of torture device is this?” I exclaimed, holding it up for my friend Trevor to examine. Also astonished, he dubbed it The Spoon of Death and we showed it to the other employees speculating about who on the management staff was secretly trying to kill the residents. Finally, our manager came to see why we were behind schedule and informed us that The Spoon of Death was actually just an old grapefruit spoon that had gotten mixed up in the dinnerware. From then on, the grapefruit spoon was our proposed solution for senile temper flares and last-minute order changes, though it never left the kitchen. Good times.