Give me some sugar, baby.

Tonight was the first pie night of the season. Since Lost is a new addition to my Wednesday night, I was unusually short of time tonight. I had about twenty minutes before it started to throw together the pumpkin pies so that they would be ready for Law and Order, when DP and Brother 2 would come over. I started grabbing all the ingredients from the pantry, only to realize that I had completely forgotten that I was almost out of sugar. I only had a little left in a small tupperware container. The recipe called for 1.5 cups. Of course I went to my neighbors first, but they ignored my knocking at their door, and I thought it best not to persist.

The next obvious choice, of course, was Gregory Hines. He lives only a few houses away from me, even though we've managed to make it into different wards. I could have gone to a ward member's house to ask for sugar---you know---get to know people in my ward a little better. But the last time I tried that, I saw a ward member walking around the house in his underwear, and really, I don't need to know my ward members that well. Gregory Hines works with me (or as he once put it, is my coworkers' coworker) and we sat beside each other every day in July and August. So really, if there's anyone I should feel comfortable borrowing a cup of sugar from, it's him.

When I knocked on his door, his roommate answered. He's quite geeky to be completely honest---rather emaciated, ill-fitting clothes, a mock-turtleneckish shirt. He's the type of guy you suspect has a committed relationship with a calculator.

"Is GH here?" I asked.

The roommate looked around. "No. He's not."

"Oh. Well, I'm here to borrow a cup of sugar. Could I borrow a cup from you?"

His grandiose bow indicated to me that I was welcome to enter and I followed him to the kitchen. The last time I was in that kitchen was over a month ago when GH had just moved into the apartment. It was a Sunday and I really wanted crepes but I didn't have vanilla or baking powder. GH offered me some of his roommate's vanilla, but unfortunately the roommate didn't have baking powder (this led to the previously-alluded-to event of the ward-member-in-underwear sighting). We put a couple teaspoons into a little container that I'd brought with me.

Since one feels a certain pressure to try to make conversation with the person who is giving one sugar, and since I was feeling this pressure, I just said what was on my mind: "I actually borrowed vanilla from you once, too. You weren't here, and I really needed it, so GH gave me a little of yours. Thank you."

The whole demeanor of my helper changed. He looked over his bony shoulder at me, then back into his cupboard.

"That would explain why it's lying on its side," he sneered, as if he'd purposely left it on its side this entire month as a reminder that he would have to get to the bottom of the mystery of the horizontal vanilla.

"Yeah, well, I was making crepes, and it was Sunday, so... And I didn't really know anyone in my ward, and GH was here... And I didn't really have anywhere else to go..."

"This is the real stuff. This isn't artificial vanilla, it's the real stuff."

"Yeah. I use the real stuff, too. You know, if you ever need to borrow anything from me, I just live about three houses down."

By this time, he'd brought his bag of sugar out along with a measuring cup. He looked into my tupperware container that already contained sugar.

"What," he said. "Have you been going house to house getting what sugar you need?"

"No," I replied. "I had this sugar already, but I am making pumpkin pies, and this isn't enough."

"Do you need exactly one cup?" he asked.

"Yeah. I do."

At this, he measured out less than one cup, as if there were some sugar shortage and he was only trying to protect his resources. I dumped the sugar into my ration cup and thanked him and left. He certainly didn't even see me to the door. He probably was taking his time making sure he put his sugar back in the cupboard in its proper vertical position. Had GH given me the sugar, I would have invited him to pie night in return. Heck, had GH given me his roommate's sugar, I would have invited him (GH) to pie night in return. Oh well.

When I got home, I dragged the flour bag out of the pantry and found a full package of sugar in behind it. I guess I can cross SUGAR off the grocery list.

**The events as told in this story may be a gross exaggeration, and GH's roommate, if you ever link to my blog from his and read this, I'm very sorry. In that case, this article is completely fictional and I think you are a very good human being.


ambrosia ananas said...

Hahahahaha. Oh. My. Goodness. This kid sounds mildly OCD or something. Passive-aggressive in the extreme. Anyway, next time you need sugar and find that GH is gone and his roommate is huddled protectively over the baking supplies, you can just give me a call. I have tons of sugar. And vanilla. The real stuff.

Stupidramblings said...

Running out of sugar is like running out of blood. I mean, it's always just there--until its not. AND it's always there UNTIL you are actually stirring a wonderful concoction over low heat--the kind of concoction which is perfectly done and just ready for a slight-but-oh-so-sweet portion of happy, lucky, pure-cane sugar. Then the whole recipe--which was perfect--becomes a bitter failure.

Then you think, "I can duplicate the concoction once I borrow a cup o' sugar."

BUT IT NEVER HAPPENS. The recipe, version 2.0, is not just a bitter failure--but a complete, life-altering, tears-inducing, guest offending, bitter failure.

Just when you fail at it for the third time, the guests show up.

Oh and by the way. GH's roomate sounds like the kind of person who would own many, many cats if they didn't live in 'no-pets-allowed' apartments.

Miss Hass said...

Maybe you should go over to his house and lay all of his spices and condiments on their sides. See what that does....

Mary said...

Judging by your physical description of emaciated calculator boy, in conjunction with his apparent need to turn a horizontal "real" vanilla bottle into a nuclear fallout, I'd say this guy has about 16 minutes to live.

Great story! People. Are. Fascinating.

Anonymous said...

Yep. Dead.

Coop said...

I'm a little worried about GH now that I have heard a bit about the people with whom he chooses to associate himself with him... with. Actually, I'm kind of leaning towards the possibility that Calculator Lover is who he is because of GH's influence.

JB said...

You should write for a magazine or newspaper or something. I'd buy it just to read your articles.

This guy sounds a little crazy. I half expect he caressed his sugar bag and apologize to his "precious" after you left.

Squirrel Boy said...

I second that. Cicada is one of my very favorite storytellers and writers.

The cat comment made me laugh, considering she and I once had a pact that if we reached a certain age and were still single, we would get married and I would let her have a dozen cats.

Cicada said...

And it's not that I even want or like cats. It's just that when one reaches a certain age and one is still single, one must buy many cats. Not that you would know, ASB. You abandoned my world long ago.

edgy killer bunny said...

On the bright side, at least he didn't make you stick around while he counted out each grain of sugar to give you. I'm sure he knows exactly how many grains are in a cup.

daltongirl said...

I feel GH's roommate is being unfairly maligned here. As one who uses REAL vanilla myself, I understand how much the REAL stuff can cost. A LOT. And as one who lives in a house where people frequently don't put lids on things tightly, I can only imagine what kind of potential disaster could occur with the vanilla if it were to be found LYING ON ITS SIDE. Also, it could evaporate, especially over a month's time. One would need a calculator just to tally up the costs at that point. Fortunately, GHR has one. We think.

kit said...

Man, talk about stingy. Apparently, he was upset about the whole vanilla incident.

gregory hines said...

My roommate is... sometimes... eh.

I guess he took you for a complete stranger. I'm pretty stingy when it comes to strangers. You don't strike me as overly "strangerish" (or should I just say strange). I don't know; I can't step out of my shoes very easily on that one.

Cicada, did you have a non-english speaking lady knock on your door last week selling tomales? I got a delicious Mexican treat and she looked hard-up for cash. I was a tiny bit nervous about eating unpackaged, non-FDA inspected food from a total alien stranger. I gobbled it up anyway.

Why do I bring up the tomale lady?Contrast: all my roommate had to do was give food away to a english-speaking-sorta-stranger. He may not have scored many style/attitude points, but don't forget he did give.

Also, FYI, his health is not 100%. He has spoken to me of lime disease, although his diagnosis and prognosis still seem very mysterious. He doesn't have full-time work or school right now. That's just a tad extra info to put in the moral judgment pipe.

On the bar of roommates, I'd place him somewhere between "agreeable" and "I've had worse."

Cicada said...

GH---Ouch. I'll consider myself told. I could have represented the whole ordeal completely factually, but then it wouldn't have been as funny.

Re: the tomale lady, I think I'll make a post.

Re: the moral judgment pipe, condider everything put into the pipe and consider it smoked.

General Winchester said...

This is Winchester, GH's not so normal yet not so calculator dependant roommate. I was a witness to this horrific scene, I myself must comment that the horizontilzation of real vanilla causes a distinct degradation of the taste. Of course, I, if had the been the one to answer the door, would have majestically placed the innocent vanilla in a position ordinate of standing up( as well as the sugar and other miscellaneous items). I must protest as well, being a roommate since August of aught five, I will offer as solemn testimony that Senor Pantolones en las Nalgas was not a current resident of this locale(which is when the original vanilla adulteration), thus the crime is solved and I rest my case. Cicada, I apoligize for your inconvience, and will remember for ever more that pants are required when answering doors.