Katherine has just made gazpacho, the soup you don’t blow on.
She says “Do you like gazpacho?”
I reply “Well…”
Katherine says “Well what?”
Hesitantly, I venture “Um…”
She says “Are you afraid that if you say no, you’ll hurt my feelings and I won’t like you anymore?”
Holding my breath, I nod.
“Are you nodding yes, meaning you like gazpacho or yes you’re afraid I won’t like you anymore if you don’t?”
Once again I find myself at the corner of Um and Well. There’s always a blinking “Do Not Walk” sign and I keep pressing the button hoping it will say “Run away, run away.” It never does.
In cases like this you need to mantra up and imagine a calm, beautiful place where the sun is shining and everyone is nice to banjo players and the soup is the kind you have to blow on or you will burn your tongue.
To get to those calm and beautiful places I have a card with my secret mantra word—Om. Next to it I have written “rhymes with Jerome,” so that I don’t mispronounce it and wander accidentally into somebody else’s mantra field.
While reciting “Om” I try to become one with whatever needs one at the moment. I call this process “Oming in.” But the only “Oming in” sense I can find for a soup that doesn’t get hot is that someone needed to cover up a mistake.
Imagine a home in a small Spanish village where Senora Gazpacho has just made a pot of cream of tomato soup. From the bedroom Senor Gazpacho hollers out “Where did you hide my bullfighter pants?”
Senora Gazpacho sighs. “Did you look in the dresser drawer, el torero?” He hollers “Of course I looked in the dresser drawer. Why do you always hide things just when I need them?”
To herself she says “If I were going to hide something, it would be him.” In the bedroom as Senor Gazpacho stands pantless, a foot tapping impatiently, she searches under the bed, the dirty clothes basket and the closet. Finally, she checks the dresser.
“Oh look,” she says. “Nice, clean bullfighter pants. Right next to your Batman jammies.” To which Senor Gazpacho responds meekly “Oh. That dresser.”
Back in the kitchen, Senora Gazpacho serves Senor Gazpacho a bowl of soup. He blows on it, tastes it and blurts “It’s cold.”
“Of course it’s cold,” says Senora Gazpacho. “I just invented it. Everyone else does hot soup. I do cold soup so I can spend more time looking for lost trousers.” Senor Gazpacho decides that since he is wearing his lost pants and will not look like a fool at the bullring, he likes it.
Meanwhile, in the here and now, Katherine sets a bowl of gazpacho in front of me. It takes every bit of willpower and double-Oming not to blow it by blowing on it. Even so, it’s still cold soup.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013, all rights reserved.