Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Must. Not. Pick. Up. Acorns.

I read a story on Discovery yesterday correlating women's shopping when they travel to their evolution as gatherers. Apparently the men that are traveling with them find this annoying and cannot relate. As I walked back to my office from lunch I noticed what an effort it was for me to not stop and pick up the acorns in the parking lot. They look so green and plump, the little caps are so charming. This compulsion to collect them can only be explained by my evolutionary instincts. Because I know in my logical mind that acorns are impossibly bitter and don't even make good decorations. They shrivel up and get worm holes in them. I know this because I gave in to this base response to acorns in the past. I have collected buckets of acorns, for no discernible reason. I have the same rush of excitement when I see plums on the ground when I'm walking on the greenbelt. I immediately look up to find the tree, marking it in my mind. Do men not do this? This whole time of year fills me with a bit of excitement. Yellow and purple wildflowers mean there are things out there that are ripe and I need to be finding them and collecting them!

But I didn't pick up the acorns or the plums. In my rational mind I know that I can buy more calories worth of food than I'd get out of those acorns if I go back to work and earn money instead. I left the plums because my friend would get bored waiting for me to pick them up, plus I recall the dozen jars of plum jam I left back in Beachton. I have this year's Christmas presents covered already. Back when I didn't have a job it was acceptable to be a gatherer. Now I have to be efficient. Gathering is not efficient.

I suppose finding a plum tree feels similar to finding a great faucet for 85% off at Home Depot. But I can repress the urge to buy a faucet I don't need the same way I can repress the urge to pick up the acorns. I think it's pretty rude of these women to insist on going shopping when the men want to do something more unique to the destination. I do enjoy shopping in foreign cities a little bit, but only if I'm by myself, and I won't go in chain stores. Seeing an familiar facade on the Champs-Élysées because it looks identical to the one in Lenox Mall in Atlanta kind of fills me with revulsion, not an urge to buy eyeliner.

Some things are better as a shared experience, like a beautiful view or anything involving crowds. But when I'm trying to blend in with the French I feel comfortable in a fruit market. And I will always get excited when I find something edible in the wild. I am grateful I don't have the instincts of a male to kill any meaty looking animal that crosses my path. As much trouble as it is to make mayhaw jelly, cleaning and cooking a turkey is WAY worse.

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