At Home

Piano man makes bean salads

Foodie: Last night I dreamt that I bought a condo.

Beast: Last night I dreamt I was a Ralph Lauren model.

Foodie: And it was really, really big. Like, it had two levels.

Beast: And I got paid in clothes.

Foodie: Did I tell you what I saw yesterday looking out into the backyard from the sunroom?

Beast: Not yet.

Foodie: There was a giant black crow and it was injured. There were two neighbourhood cats cautiously circling it. The bird was flailing, trying to seek shelter. Then all of a sudden, four other black crows appeared in the trees and started cawing louder than I’ve ever heard, trying to scare away the cats. It worked. It was all so dramatic!

Beast: Crows are extremely smart, you know. And not just for birds. The smartest animals are 1) dolphins 2) elephants 3) humans 4) crows and 5) cheetahs.

Foodie: Cheetas?

Beast: Yes. They aren’t really that smart, but they get extra points for being so fast and beautiful.

Foodie: What’s for dinner?

Beast: I thought we could have the bean salads I made.

Last weekend the Beast prepared two batches of different bean salads and hummus using recipes he found in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. It was supposed to provide him with sustenance while I was away on a work trip. I don’t think he intended to make enough bean salad and hummus for a family of 15. But he did.

Foodie: Aren’t the bean salads more of a side dish?

Beast: I thought we could put them into some healthy wraps.

Foodie: Who are you?

Beast: I don’t know anymore. I don’t even like fucking wraps. What if we make sandwiches with the hummus and have the bean salad on the side?



That’s exactly what we did. When we finished dinner, it was still light out. That made it more difficult to fall asleep drunk on the couch watching shit TV. So I made a suggestion.

Foodie: How hard do you think it would be for me to learn how to play a Michael Nyman song on the piano?

Beast: Which one?

Foodie: It’s called Debbie. I just think it’s so beautiful. And, I don’t know, I am having a hard time lately making anything beautiful.

Beast: What do you mean?

Foodie: I just feel zapped I guess. I feel hollow inside, like there’s nothing going on upstairs. I have nothing to say. I don’t want to make anything.

Beast: Where is this coming from?

Foodie: Don’t you ever just feel like you’re empty?

Beast: All the time. That’s why I’m such a spaz.

Foodie: I fear I’m in a creative funk. I don’t want to do anything when I come home from work, save for watching Season 3 of the Mindy Project and getting into my pyjamas. It feels like there’s always a weight in my chest.

Beast: If you want me to teach you how to play Debbie, I will. You can learn it. I’m positive.

Foodie: But I’ve never had a piano lesson.

Beast: I’ll teach you.

Okay, I’ve never had a professional piano lesson before. I had a tiny electric organ when I was kid. And boy did I compose some beauties on it. I could also play any Christmas carol (with one hand) by my ears alone. For my 13th birthday my parents got me a Casio keyboard, minus the lessons. That’s when my dad taught me the whole Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge and FACE business.


That’s also where my musical education stalled.

I don’t know why all of a sudden, at 40, I want to revisit it. But it might have something to do with not being able to create anything on my own. Maybe if I can copy something beautiful made by someone else, It’ll turn on some sort of internal switch.


Turns out the Beast is a wonderful piano teacher. He takes it all very seriously–maybe too seriously, especially when he gets all up in my grill about what fingers to use when hitting particular keys.

Still, I have the first line or whatever you call it down. It’s a bit choppy. But it feels good.

The Beast got home from work today and found me practising.

Beast: I don’t want to pick a fight but I’m disappointed in you.

Foodie: Enough with the fingers already! At least I’m hitting the right keys.

Beast: Your fingering is troublesome.

Foodie: Your fingering is troublesome. When you see a piano you see 130 keys and two pedals–

Beast: It’s 88 keys and three pedals. And I’m not talking about your piano playing, jack ass. I sent you some of the funniest text messages in the history of the cell phone and you never responded.


Foodie: I don’t think I knew what PBMCP2 meant.

Beast: The photo was supposed to explain that. And then you never said a thing after I texted you saying that I ordered a Paul Blart costume from Amazon and they’re delivering tonight via a drone.

Foodie: [Silence]

Beast: If I had a Twitter account my first tweet would be: “I can’t believe the last season of Mad Men is getting more hype than Paul Blart Mall Cop 2.”

Foodie: That might be too long to tweet. Why do you like this Mall Cop so much?

Beast: Uh, because it’s fucking funny?

Foodie: [Silence]

Beast: Also, because Kevin James and I have a similar body type.

Foodie: [Silence]

Beast: And because Kevin James has a heart of gold. You know what I think would cheer you up?

Foodie: Don’t say the Mall Cop trailer again.

Beast: Don’t be ridiculous.

Foodie: What?

Beast: The prequel to Paul Blart Mall Cop 2.

Foodie: You mean Paul Blart Mall Cop?

Beast: Exactly.

Even though the sun hasn’t set yet, we both just got into our men’s Muji pyjamas. The Beast is getting dinner ready and I’m going to practice the piano a little while longer. The heavy in my chest is still there. But it’s not so bad.

Categories: At Home

3 replies »

  1. “Debbie” really is very beautiful. Hope your chest is no longer heavy Jess as you are a beautiful person….

  2. We all get those heavy chest periods. More some than others depending on life stressors, or sub conscious challenges. Music is a wonderful way to meditate your way out. Your self awareness and honesty is lovely.

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