As I start this: I’m on my lunch break, at my desk, and I can smell the watermelon my co-worker is eating.
Why this matters: She is upstairs.
I am a fruit bloodhound. Bow down to my nostrils. If the FBI needs to find a killer that likes to cover themselves in macerated berries, they know who to call.
My love affair with nature’s sweetest prize is deep. And it’s not just watermelon that makes me eat until I swell. I will gorge happily all day on blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, gooseberries, strawberries, melons, mangos, cherries, apples, oranges and a banana but only if its tip is green. A girl has her limits.
Something about fruit makes the odometer in my head that monitors safe consumption turn OFF. I have no common sense. I eat until I die. Until my stomach is distended. Until I poop with so much emergency and distress that I involuntarily tear up and don’t have the coordination to even hold my phone while I sit and emit.
It all started when I was young, like under 10 years old, and my Dad decided to take us strawberry picking. He had done this child labour when he was younger and wanted us to have a taste. I took that literally. Do not plop a chubby child with no concept of portion control in the middle of a field heaving with fruit, and expect anything to land in the sanctioned u-pick bucket. My ratio was one in bucket, 87 in mouth. The owners should have weighed me before I went in. I’m sure they jotted down my Dad’s license plate as we left, the car weighed down on the side where I sat, my stomach flush with fruit, and dried red juices sealing my shirt to my neck.
It was the best afternoon of my life.
Until the time my grandparents took us blueberry picking.
This farm had some progressive tactics, dividing the property so it had a child-free zone. As we picked I stared longingly at that roped off section. Even with my little weak eyes I could still make out the huge dusky berries bending their branches over. HELLO FRIENDS.
All of a sudden. Deep guttural gut rumbles. The results of several sturdy fistfuls of blueberries having already been devoured. My ¼ full bucket was abandoned as I ran and told the terrible news to my Grandpa. I had to go RIGHT NOW.
I’m not sure what went through his head, but seconds later we were in the forbidden zone, currently empty of adult pickers, and I was instructed to drop trou and just go.
So, there I squatted. Underneath the most beautiful berries I’d ever seen, I had an epic shit. As I finished I reached up and plucked a handful of the closest berries, and quickly slid them between my teeth. They yielded just slightly and filled my mouth with such a dark sweet pleasure I was transported to another dimension. Sometimes you experience nirvana in the most unlikely of places, like while pooping and eating at the same time.
I finished and yanked my pants up. I was encouraged to grab a few more berries and we scuttled back into the rows we were allowed to pick in. I imagine now how the owners reacted coming upon that coil of human feces under their precious off-limit berries. I like to think that my shit infused that soil with some kind of magical impetus and that one shrub grew to be the strongest and most bountiful blueberry bush of all time.
Or they held a ceremony and burned it to the ground.
I remembered this story when I saw pictures of This West Coast Mommy berry picking with her kids. I was momentarily tempted to take my kid too but then I remembered she hates all things fun, so, for now I’ll just buy my fruit from the market. Maybe I’ll pop a few in my mouth on the way to the checkout, for old time’s sake.