Today isn’t an ordinary Monday. It’s Bastille Day, a French national holiday.
I have been slightly obsessed with the nation of France since my uncle married a French woman when I was in third grade. I have taken French classes, and I ended up minoring in it in college. Bastille Day is extra special to me, because it is also my parents’ wedding anniversary. (Happy anniversary, guys!)
So, in honor of my second homeland of sorts, I spent all day today, my day off—
Sorry, I was rudely interrupted by some fireworks going off in my neighborhood. Scared me, but is appropriate for Bastille Day.
As I was saying, I spent my day off doing French things. I drank some French roast coffee with my breakfast, didn’t shave my armpits, went “fresh-faced” (code words for no makeup) and wore a navy and white striped sweater. Then, after dinner, I went with some friends to get macaroons. (It’s a toss-up as to whether I prefer macaroon Monday or margarita Monday.)
Sometimes life is cruel; sometimes it is wonderful. But on certain occasions, it can be incredibly unfair in the most bizarre of ways.
Anna and I consider ourselves serious macaroon snackers. We have had immense experience eating the French pastry/cookie/sandwich. Since our mutual friend Carol had never experienced the joy that comes with eating a little piece of heaven, we decided to introduce her to the chewy and light dessert.
Right before we ordered, it was revealed that Carol is allergic to nuts. Macaroons are made from almond flour. While she wouldn’t have died from eating one, she would have broken out in hives inside her mouth. Carol opted for a cupcake instead, her future as a macaroon gourmand cut tragically short by a physiological reaction.
On the drive home, after eating two macaroons, one strawberry-filled and the other “birthday cake” with sprinkles, I began to think about how Carol would probably never eat a macaroon. She would experience her entire life without being able to sample one of my favorite treats, unless she wanted to experience physical discomfort.
Her entire life, she will have to rely on the thoughts and experiences of others to determine her opinion on macaroons. She will never open a French bakery, and never be able to recall the one-of-a-kind texture that a macaroon has. It seems so unfair.
And, yes, I know that not being able to eat a macaroon is a “first world problem,” and that there are real injustices in the world, like being deathly allergic to something or being cursed with an incurable and debilitating disease, or, like the French people on Bastille day, subject to tyranny which impedes the happiness and prosperity of one’s life.
I know that many millions, perhaps billions, of people in the world will never eat a macaroon, and that malnutrition and an unreliable or unavailable food supply is a major concern for many people. Trust me, I don’t want to sound all Marie Antoinette, “let them eat cake.”
But forgetting all of the real problems out there, not being able to eat a macaroon does seem rather unfair. My friend Carol can’t help her peanut allergy any more than Romeo and Juliet could help but being star-crossed lovers, or any more than I could help being born in America.
I suppose that only one thing can console my turmoil soul, and that is the knowledge that every single time I eat a macaroon from now on I will think of Carol and savor the treat even more.
So, next Monday, does anyone want to eat a macaroon with me in Carol’s honor?