So I’m taking a workshop with the fabulous and stellar Writing Workshops LA this fall. Worth every penny and, more dearly, every minute I spent white-knuckled on the 110 before I figured out I could just take surface streets all the way to my instructor’s house. Almost two years in LA, kids.
I got an idea, after an assignment wherein we had to write our own NYT Mag style Letter of Recommendation, and the discussion swung around to not only the things we irrationally love, but also things we hate, too strongly, for no apparent reason, and what does this say about us?
So I thought it might be fun to explore some of these personal hatreds, in polemic form, then deconstruct them.
ISSUE 1: Avocados are Awful
Sometime during the spring or summer of 2013, I uncovered a truth: I couldn’t properly digest an avocado. For years, I’d gorge on sushi, then writhe in pain. I wondered if it was the wasabi, or maybe just the extra digestion required for raw fish, that gave me so much distress. This was not a lactose-y response, it was simply a burning pain abated by nothing but time. Finally, after one particularly excruciating post-guacamole episode, it occurred to me: it was not the horseradish nor the fish, but the green fruit snuck into almost every sushi roll available. Nature’s “butter,” the good, green fat or the earth, was toxic to me.
Saying you don’t like avocados is like saying you don’t like that girl in your class that plays guitar and isn’t exactly preppy but isn’t quite a stoner, either, and is just so nice to everyone and so creative and helpful, and really, who wouldn’t like her? I’ll tell you: me. I hate avocados. Not just because I can’t digest them. But because I never really liked them all that much and I wish everyone else would just shut up about them.
Since I now have real grounds to refuse California rolls and guac, I have to face the incredulous stares of every Californian I meet. Try going out for Mexican food (which is delicious, btw, like, 98% of the time in SoCal) when the top three things on your “do not eat” list are 1. black beans (agony), 2. Cheese (you don’t wanna know), and 3. Avocados (go f* yourself). It is a good thing I love, love, love molé, because it’s pretty much the only thing I can order. I’ll even cheat some cheese and black beans, in there, because they are worth it. But I do not give a shit about the avocados, and I will send this green puree back. And sashimi is SO MUCH BETTER than that adulterated crap filed with cream cheese and spicy mayo, whateverthefuck that is. It is filler and we all know it.
My main issue with the evil green things is not that I’m physically intolerant of them. If this was the case, it’d be another ice cream issue, where I would sullenly pine away for them, occasionally caving and stoically suffering the results. No, the most annoying thing here is that everyone seems to think that not being able to eat avocados is some amputation-level tragedy. “Oh, my god!” they say. “I would DIE if I could not eat avocados! I would straight up kill myself!” First: no, you wouldn’t. It’s not nice to joke about that. But secondly, why? Avocados, for all real purposes, do not have a flavor, unless “slimy” is a flavor, which it is not. It is a texture. Avocados are a texture food. They bring creaminess. Thing is: I’m just fine with a little aioli. Or not. Honestly I’d kind of prefer everything tasted like either lemons, chocolate, or smoke. Sharp and keen and acid and bitter. No cream needed.
Plus, there’s the fan factor. Like how Dave Matthews Band is ostensibly pretty catchy, except that it brings to mind legions of back-ward baseball cap-wearing, abercrombie-model-aspiring douchebags rocking out to “Ants Marching,” avocados for me bring to mind lean, beachy types who ask “oh, could you add avocado to that?” as if they had just invented something novel, or corrected a deep-seated wrong. No! I will not add avocado to that, because that would be disgusting! Eat what’s on the menu, bitch!
Perhaps, perhaps, it is sour grapes. Not that I can’t digest the damn things, whatever, that’s old news. But because there is clearly something a majority of people think is awesome that I don’t. Which means that it is me who is missing out. Like non cocoa-philes or people who “don’t like” gin. Those weirdos. Perhaps it is my insecurity at being an east coast girl the west coast aspirations. I’ve accepted smoothies (though I still friggin hate bananas, don’t get me started), the sun, wearing sleeveless shirts to work, normal people with lots of tattoos, and driving (mostly). But I will not accept that avocados are great. This lies at the very heart of my essential rust-belt soul. I want my food charred, pickled, and/or covered in hot sauce. I will not take a “creamy” thing off a tree and call it “fries.” I refute it. Avocados are my last stand.