i have always had a somewhat tenuous relationship with fire.
when i was in argentina i did a homestay and my housemom, MonMons (real name monica, insisted that “everything you put into your body is trash” which, in her defense, was true) had one of those gas stoves that you have to light with an actual match.
i don’t know if any of you have spent any time on this blog but like the absolute LAST thing i would put in baby!mollyhall’s hands is GASOLINE and MATCHES. i was terrified of that stove. i refused to use it. i would go to extreme lengths to avoid having to do literally anything with that stove.
anyway, monmons went away for a week at one point, on vacation with her husband who didn’t live with us because he had a dog and monmon’s apartment didn’t allow dogs (but was the significantly better apartment) (except that i could also never work the lock) (or the security system).
like, i kNEW THE CODE??? i knew the code you had to type in, but it never worked. i don’t know. why. it never worked.
it got to the point where the alarm would go off and the security people would call and they’d be like “maya was it you again? is everything fine and you just STILL can’t figure out how to work this incredibly easy system?” and i’d be like, “I AM TRYING SO HARD.”
so monmons went away and i was having kind of a Tough Time, just feeling a little homesick, you know? and i don’t really get homesick very often so when i do i tend to FLIP OUT and make really irrational, drastic decisions, because my brain just doesn’t understand what’s happening?
"homesick? no. THIS IS A PROPHECY. SOMEONE I LOVE MUST BE ABOUT TO DIE. I NEED TO CALL ALL MY LOVED ONES, LONG DISTANCE FROM A FOREIGN COUNTRY. I WON’T REGRET THIS LATER WHEN EVERYONE IS FINE!”
anyway in this instance the way my body decided to react was to aggressively crave coffee. and not coffee the way you get it in cafés in argentina, which is like espresso… they also have “americanos” but honestly it’s not the same. IT’S NOT THE SAME, ARGENTINA.
of course, monmons only had a kettle and a french press, and i say “only” but tbh french presses make faaaaaaar superior coffee to the bullshit garbage my Mr. Coffee makes.
that is, when my Mr. Coffee isn’t busy being ASTOUNDINGLY TERRIBLE AND GETTING GROUNDS EVERYWHERE!!! HEY, BUDDY I SAID I WANTED “COFFEE” NOT “DIRT MOUTH WATER”!!!!
NOBODY IN THE HISTORY OF EVER HAS EVER WANTED DIRT MOUTH WATER. WHY IN THE NAME OF GOD DID I NAME MY INTERNET AFTER YOU? YOU DON’T DESERVE IT.
if i could afford a keurig you would be gone so fast they’d call you Amy Dunne.
so!! in my fit of homesickness i decided to Conquer the Stove. i went out and bought some coffee grounds (CAFÉ BUSTELO OR BUST) and stood in front of the stove with a match and my best intentions.
“you can do this,” i said out loud to myself. “man has been a master of fire for many millennia now. if cavepeople could do it, you can do it.”
the stove stared at me. i turned the knob, and gas hissed like a particularly annoyed cat. “set that Gas Cat on fire, girl,” i said to myself, lit the match, and threw it at the stove in a panic.
PSA: don’t….do this.
i mean, it was fine.
don’t do that.
on goes the stove!! the flames sprung up but no one lost any eyebrows and none of the walls were set on fire, ayo, ayo. i put the kettle on the metal stovetop, boiled some water, and made myself some coffee using the french press, like a FANCY PARISIAN BOSS.
and then, because i was a Victor and Victors get Prizes, i did it again.
i made like 10 cups of VERY STRONG coffee, guzzling it down thoughtlessly as i sent emails to everyone in my family to assure myself that they weren’t dead. it wasn’t until i had just finished the final cup that i realized my heart was beating really, really fast, and my hands were shaking, and i had a twitch in my eye.
“this is weird,” i said to myself. “i wonder why my body is doing this?”
having never had a panic attack, and having never had THIS MUST CAFFEINE in such a short amount of time, and still in the midst of a Homesick Crazy brain period, i somehow failed to connect the dots between ten cups of coffee and “body freakout.”
“i’m probably hungry,” i said. “yeah. that’s probably it.”
i walked to a nearby restaurant and, in what i thought was a calm and collected manner–but which, by the waitress’s expression, was honestly probably more akin to someone in the middle of a Bad Trip–ordered six different meals.
“do you … have friends coming?” the waitress asked.
“no,” i said. “these are all for me.”
“oh…….kay,” she said.
i sat down and waited. when all six plates of food came, the whole staff was openly staring at me. i set in, eating bites from each plate, calmly reassuring myself that this was normal. my body was very very hungry, which definitely absolutely 100% explained why i was having trouble breathing normally. haha. you’re not yourself when you’re hungry!!!!
that’s how my friend sal found me, an hour later. the waiters and waitresses kept circling me like curious children around a bug.
“uh….hey,” he said. “you must have been hungry.”