Can I pack a paring knife in my checked luggage? How much does a can of beans weigh? Does my hotel room have a refrigerator? How am I going to pack all of this seaweed snack? Where will I get my protein? Can I take produce across state lines if I’m on a plane?
These were the questions burning in my mind as I packed for ten days of work out of town. I’m aware it’s nuts, but I was actually more concerned about where and how I was going to eat the way I like to eat on the road and in the hotel and on the new set than I was about being away from my family or deadly plane crashes or – hello? — doing MY NEW JOB. What can I say? I get antsy when I’m not in control of my food fate. Plus, when I’m shooting, I like to eat CLEAN. Since I was traveling to the South – as in buttered buttermilk biscuits/buttered cheese grits/buttered butter everything, THE SOUTH – I doubted I’d find much in the way of naked, healthy food.
I was quietly worrying that I’d crossed the line into serious, bizarre food obsession as I boarded my plane in Los Angeles. I’d been fretting and talking and researching and acting like a semi-lunatic. Then, I met my seatmate. Sweet Mary, Mother of God, before I met the man sitting beside me, I met his naked armpit. Yep. Naked armpit. Short shorts, tank top, no shoes and NAKED ARMPIT. He immediately informed me that he was a “Fruitarian,” and that the Larabar I was about to eat was a “candy bar” and full of “low-quality peanuts that would FOR SURE make you fart.” Well, hello. Nice to meet you, sir.
Mr. Fruit then proceeded to lecture me on the error of the world’s ways, and that he’d moved to Hawaii, because he had to get away from the toxic rays coming out of all the cell phones and computers, and that, once again, massive farts were on their way if I continued to eat the Larabar (a delicious, preservative-free, non-processed, FOOD BAR, containing the following ingredients ONLY: dates, peanuts and sea salt). Oh, also that Oprah had visited his island in Hawaii, and he was certain that (A) she was there because he’d sent her his book about . . . yes, fruitarianism and that (B) she was “a heifer.” Charming. I informed him I had several very dear friends who work for Ms. Winfrey, and that she’s a lovely person and an incredibly generous woman, who helps thousands upon thousands of human beings and that I did not like his derogatory name for her nor his discriminating tone. He said, “Well, they airbrush her in magazines, but she’s a real heifer.” Mr. Fruit was a very good listener.
As I began to thankfully doze off, I was treated to the sound of gunshots next to me. No, Mr. F had not smuggled an AK-47 onto the plane, but he had smuggled this (by the way, the sound of this sucker in the video is not even 1% as loud as it was in person):
Wondering what you’re lookin’ at? It’s a macadamia nut cracker. “Oh, this old thing? Golly, I didn’t MEAN to call ATTENTION to myself! But I’m a FRUITARIAN! And I live in HAWAII! Gotta have my macadamias RIGHT NOW ON A CROSS COUNTRY FLIGHT!” How the hell does TSA take away my 2-inch long travel tweezers, but let this literal nut-job on the plane?
So, I counted 24 nut cracks before I fell asleep. (I’d stayed up the night before, packing, crying and writing out 10 cards and wrapping 10 little trinkets for my little girl each day while her mama was away, and I didn’t get any sleep.) I awoke, 30 minutes later to what I’m sure was nut number 472.
All was not pure hell, however. The flight crew was lovely. Katherine and Twin (his birth name . . . and, yes, he was a twin) were THRILLED to have Nutty McNutterson on their flight — bananas passengers must be their social bread and butter. I’m pretty sure the businesswoman sitting a few seats away got the hiccups from her non-stop, doubled-over laughs. All in all, it was good, clean fun for everyone on the plane . . . except me. When my vegan meal arrived, Mr. F said, condescendingly, “That’s a good start.” When I checked my email on my iPhone, he raised his eyebrows, “That’s toxic and it’s going to kill you.” When I reached for my carrot sticks in my carry-on, he quietly said, “Those carrots had to DIE for you to eat them.” Thanks. I didn’t ask. Put on some pants.
I’m currently sitting in my hotel room, dead-tired, halfway through my trip. I miss my kiddo. I miss my husband. I miss my bed. I miss my kitchen. But most of all, I miss the delusion that I am insane – it was sorta fun to feel edgy for a minute. No, no. I’ve seen real insanity, my friends, and it only eats fruit. And macadamia nuts. And is also quite averse to proper clothing and personal space and social norms . . . and deodorant. I’ll take my own kinda crazy any day.