Up In Liquid Smoke

[Note: This is a revamp of a post on my old blog, and contains the lamest graphic on my site.  

Warning: I curse! Surprise, I know.]

Do you think there is anyone out there who really enjoys Valentine’s Day?  Just about everyone I know laments the day.  As an adult, if you are alone, you lament not sharing it with someone special; if you are with someone, you lament how romantic your significant other used to be; If you are with a bunch of people, you lament that you can’t keep the secret going for much longer.

As a person who is married, it all just seems so overrated.  Chris and I are far bigger on our anniversary, so V-Day is basically pointless. On occasion however, one of us will make the effort to do something.  For Valentine’s Day 2006, Chris’ effort was to make dinner for the two of us.  I’m the primary cook in the relationship, so this was a nice thing for him to do.  I wasn’t sure what he would make, but I suggested something noodles, because he’s rather good with the noodles.  The story of V-Day Dinner 2006 is one that neatly summarizes our relationship and my neuroses.

Before I left for work, Chris called me and asked me to get a couple of items at the store.  There were a couple of staples, like milk and cereal, but he also asked me to get an item called Liquid Smoke.  “Liquid Smoke?”

“Yup.”

“What does it look like?”

“I don’t know.”

“Okaaay…where do I find it?”

“Probably where spices and oils are.”

“…Liquid Smoke.”

“Yup.”

How would I find this thing?  Was it in an aerosol can? Was it like dry ice?  What the hell was it?  On my way home, I stopped at the supermarket to pick up the items.  I walked up and down the spice and oils aisle – twice – and as I expected, no product jumped out at me screaming “Liquid Smoke.”  I stood there for a minute, realizing that I’m going to have to ask the customer service desk for help with this one.  If you know me well, you know that I have an aversion to asking for help.  It’s a combination of my social anxiety and not wanting their inability to be helpful frustrate me.  It’s a strange aversion.  In this case, I figured Chris needed this Liquid Smoke, so I was the Good Wife, went up to the counter, and sheepishly asked them if they had Liquid Smoke.  The lady smiled and looked at me.  “Liquid Smoke?”

“Yeah.”

“What does it look like?”

“I don’t know, my husband asked me to get it.”

“Where did he tell you to look for it?”

“Spices or Oils.”

“…Liquid Smoke.”

“Yeah.”

She looked at a computer and frowned.  “I don’t think we have anything like that here; what’s he using it for?”

“He isn’t telling me anything about it, just to pick it up for him.”

Her face lit up and she smiled.  “Ahhh! Maybe he has a surprise waiting for you, and he made it up to keep you at the store longer.”

A light turned on in my head.  “Could be…” and I walked away from the counter.  I decided to try the spices/oils area one more time.  As I searched the shelves, the wheels in my head began to turn.  This is a dramatization of my thought process from this point until I got home:

Liquid Smoke.  Could Chris really do something like that?  He is kind of tricky, but if this really exists, I’ll feel bad if I don’t find it.  What would it look like?  Wait a minute.  What was that joke the pizza place played on his brother?  Didn’t they tell him to go find Liquid Smoke as a joke?  Oh my God, that’s it!  If I fall for the same joke his brother fell for, I’m going to be really pissed.  Aww, Chris.  What a great husband.  I wonder what he’s planning for me?  How long is he expecting me to spend here?  He probably figured I didn’t ask for help, so he’s going to expect me to get home a little later.  He’s likely assuming I’m just wandering the aisles, crying and frustrated.  Oh crap, I don’t have anything for him! What am I going to do?  There was V-Day stuff at the front of the store…. this is all picked-over garbage!  Reese’s peanut butter cups in a heart? Are you kidding me? He can get those anywhere.  A balloon? That’s cheesy.  Maybe a stuffed animal…are there polar bears?  No polar bears?!? How can you have Valentine’s Day without some cute little polar bear holding an f-ing heart?  This is crap!  I suck at being a wife.  Maybe the candy aisle has something… he’s dieting, I can’t get him a mongo box of chocolates…maybe something small.  Cherries!  He loves chocolate-covered cherries!  There we go.  What?? No cherries?  Are you kidding me?!?  That is a standard confection!  There are the truffles…but he doesn’t like truffles.  I like truffles.  I don’t want to get him something that I’m just going to wind up eating, how selfish is that?  Here we go! Andes candies!  He loves these!  When we used to go to Olive Garden, he always said how much he liked the Andes candies.  Yeah!  That’s sensitive!  Good thinking!  This box is small and stupid.  He’s planning this great thing for me and I’m just giving him Andes candies??  Maybe I’ll look around a little more.  There’s a giant card with a puppy on it.  That’s cute – he loves dogs.  What the hell is is going to do with a three-foot card?  Let’s revisit the balloon idea.  These balloons suck! What time is it, anyway?  It’s getting late, damn it, I’ve been here long enough.  I better get in line…Tic-Tacs! He loves orange Tic-Tacs.  I’ll grab a couple.  He’s planning this grand thing, and I’m giving him Andes Candies and a fucking Tic-Tac.  I suck as a wife.  Should I have grabbed the giant puppy card?  Too late, she’s scanning my stuff.  Yeah, thanks, whatever… what’s that guy doing in a tuxedo at the door?  Yeah, sure I’ll have a free Hershey’s Kiss, thank you…chocolate…yummmmm… wait a minute.  Did that guy even work at the store?  What if he’s some psycho freak who poisons women by posing as an employee handing out free samples?  Asshole.   Oh well, it was good, so it probably wasn’t poisonous.  Well, maybe if I do get poisoned, Chris will forget my insensitivity.  Almost home…if I drive real slow by the front window, maybe I can get a peek of the big plan…nothing.  I can’t see anything except for the dog’s head.  Walking up to the front door…slowly grabbing my keys and making noise so he will know I’m here…there he is! “Hi, Honey!”

He looks at my bag.  “Hi.  Did you find it?”

“It was real?”

“Yup.”

“Really?”

“Yeah…I saw it on Bobby Flay.”

Damn it!  I tossed the bag on the counter. “Happy Valentine’s Day.  Here’s a fucking Tic-Tac.”

[Note: we have since purchased and used Liquid Smoke a couple of times, and I see it everywhere I go]