“I have too many tomatoes!”
It’s a common cry this time of year. People with plants or who have been overzealous in an afternoon of picking at the farm find themselves with 40 pounds of tomatoes and don’t know what to do with them all.
I don’t like tomatoes. I don’t have plants. I don’t go mater picking at the farm.
By 6pm last night, I stood in my kitchen and said to myself, “I have too many tomatoes!”
Because, that’s how I get down. Or, to put a finer point on it, that’s how I calm down.
Mild insanity, I’m convinced, is mildly contagious.
A few days ago, the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay slipped across the Georgia border and dropped five inches of rain and a few little tornadoes on our little slice of Paradise. In terms of weather, it was more wet than wild. For a guy who likes a good dose of both, it was anticlimactic and more annoying than invigorating. It also signaled the zenith of a group bug-out.
This is one of those things I can’t really write about without breaking several confidences. Let’s just put it this way. Many of my close friends are loopy right now, and I’m not quite stable myself. Everyone has their own stuff going on and none of it is particularly fun. With every little peccadillo arises another dilemma, and with every dilemma springs a new problem. It’s ridiculous and unnecessary, but it is what it is and I am as much at fault as anybody else.
This is not about that, however, inasmuch as it is about what happens to me when I get buggy. Typically, when in the middle of a mild freak-out, I turn to vice. It’s usually a bar and it rarely ends well. Yesterday, as the silliness bubbled, I sat at this computer on a slow burn. I put one album on repeat and tried to calm down. By 4pm, I knew it was going to be impossible. I scouted potential landing zones and was nearly out the door, in a seat, and in front of a pint of Sweetwater 420 before 5pm.
But that would’ve been a bad idea, right?
Something in the back of my head whispered, “You should have too many tomatoes.”
I looked up and thought, “I should have too many tomatoes.”
The Greenville Farmer’s Market is a two-minute drive from my house. It’s not the best market in the world, but it has a pretty good selection. It was almost closing time, so I worked fast. I picked out 20 giant maters, a couple of big onions, some green peppers, and some mushrooms.
The woman at the counter looked at me funny. I was sweaty, unshaven, wearing a two-day old shirt and the mud of a mid-afternoon round of disc golf. I nodded at my tomatoes as if to say, “How do you like them apples?”
When I walked back in the house, the wife looked at my bounty.
“Tomatoes?” she said incredulously.
I spent five hours last night making roasted tomato sauce. I made enough to last through December.
I used every one of the damned things.
Today, I need more tomatoes.