The Brief and Tragic Life Of Chef Rowe

So.
It’s been a hot minute since I last blogged. But, as always, I have a hastily concocted excuse that really doesn’t stand up to the reality of the fact that I don’t have a job, or school, and should technically be able to post every single day.
But I wouldn’t want to overwhelm you guys with how absolutely hilarious I am and possibly give you a heart attack from laughing too hard every single day, so really, I’m doing you a favor.

You guys if I posted every day.

I’ll still throw my excuse out there anyway– I’ve started a new book and I’ve been writing feverishly and blah blah blah blah okay you get it. So moving on. I’ve got some exciting news before I get to the theme of this particular post– I ate at CiCi’s Pizza today… and NOTHING HAPPENED. NOTHING.
No mistaken gender, no chance encounters with acquaintances that dredged up humiliating memories from my past. I only ate four (cough five cough) pieces of Alfredo Cheese Pizza. It was completely, totally commonplace.

EVERYTHING WAS PERFECTLY NORMAL. AND PERFECTLY DELICIOUS.

So perhaps the CiCi’s curse has been broken! But don’t worry. I’m still going to expose my humiliation for your amusement.
Now to start my story.
There are two facts you may or may not know about me.
The first fact is that I am a fanatic pinner who is unashamedly and wholeheartedly addicted to Pinterest. Like, it’s bad. I think Pinterest is 64% of what I use my phone for. And I don’t want to brag, but my wedding board is kind of the best. Like, if you’re getting married and need a planner, then feel free to check it out. Because I’m becoming more and more sure that my calling in life is to plan weddings, like Jennifer Lopez in the 2001 classic, The Wedding Planner. And one day I’ll be planning this nice but spoiled lady’s wedding and then meet the perfect guy when he saves me from getting squashed by a runaway dumpster only to discover he is the fiance but then he and his fiancee will realize they don’t love each other and he loves me and I’ll end up with a hot, perfect husband. Except it will be actually a great love story because the guy won’t be Matthew McConaughey.

“I in no way use my physical appearance to distract from a lack of talent.”

Sorry, MM fans. But anyway– my wedding board is pretty much amazing, just saying.

Now, the second fact you need to know for today’s post is that I am a very bad cook. I mean, I can handle the occasional brownie or cake mix, and I love to whip up some pre-packaged cinnamon rolls every now and again. But truthfully, I’m just too scatterbrained to be successful in the kitchen. This has never been a great source of concern for me though, truthfully. I’ve never really been too interested in anything to do with cooking.
But then, something happened.
That something is called my sister started watching Chopped, and forced me to watch it with her.

IF ONLY I HAD KNOWN WHAT I WAS GETTING MYSELF INTO

Let’s just say, things spiralled out of control from there.

So this week I read an article on Buzzfeed called 18 Signs You Are Obsessed with Chopped. I laughed uproariously, gleefully reveling in the knowledge that I was, indeed, obsessed with Chopped (Sign Number 19- YOU WANT TO SCREAM AT EVERY CONTESTANT TO NOT MAKE A BREAD PUDDING FOR DESSERT ROUND SRSLY GUISE THAT’S WHAT EVERYONE DOES). So not surprisingly, a couple days later, I was watching Chopped.  I was also casually surfing through Pinterest during commercials. Perhaps you see where this is going.
Chopped + Pinterest= “Hey…. I think I’m going to bake something!”

Amanda… why are you rolling your eyes???

Eagerly I began searching through the pages of Pinterest, my eagle eyes peeled for some sort of unique, delicious, life-changing dessert. A dessert that my family would beg me to make for years to come. I had bright, glittering visions in my head of people asking me to parties just so I could make this dessert– of my friends wheedling me shamelessly to get the recipe and then passing it down among their families for generations to come.
I’m an adult, I thought emphatically to myself. It won’t be like when I was younger and didn’t know what I was doing. I watch the Food Network now. I know what I’m doing.
I continued to pump myself up as I scrolled through recipe after recipe, never quite finding what I was looking for, but just KNOWING it was waiting there for me. Suddenly, something caught my eye. Something… intriguing. Something with berries.

I’M A LITTLE LASS WHO LOVES BERRIES

(Side note: if you’ve never seen this commercial then I pity you. Go watch it right now. I’ll wait.)
Not only did it have berries, but, even better, it was French— I couldn’t even pronounce the name and I had certainly never heard of it.
PERFECT.

BERRIES

BERRIES

Eagerly I clicked on the link, and found I even already had the necessary ingredients! IT’S FATE, I thought to myself. This recipe just had that certain je ne sais quoi that told me it was meant to be. With bubbling enthusiasm, I rushed into my kitchen, ready to unlock the Chef Rowe that I just knew was there inside of me.

JE T’AIME, KITCHEN!!!!!

I began feverishly heating ovens and cracking eggs and beating mixtures and boiling milk and mixing mixtures and buttering pie pans. Finally, it was berry time. Now, technically the recipe calls for fresh raspberries, but it said you could just use berries. We didn’t have any actual fresh berries, but scrounging in the freezer did reveal that we had both frozen raspberries and frozen cranberries. Really feeling my culinary creativity at this point, I daringly decided I would mix the two together for my magical French dessert. I skillfully de-iced the frozen sliced raspberries (slightly mushy, but I was baking them, everything was going to get mushy anyway!). Then I washed off the very cold, whole cranberries. Briefly I wondered if I should slice the cranberries up but the recipe said nothing about slicing cranberries (to be fair, the recipe said nothing at all about cranberries specifically, which leads me to believe that the originator of said recipe never dreamed someone would try to use cranberries for it). So I thought, why bother?

Naaaah!

Cheerfully I spread the whole cranberries and the mushy remains of the sliced raspberries in my carefully prepared pie dish, and readied myself to finish the prep for my delectable dessert by pouring the mixture I had so slavishly whipped up. I tipped the bowl over, and started pouring.
As I did so, however, I noticed two things.
1. The cranberries were not remaining docilely on the bottom of the pie dish like they were supposed to– instead, they floated to the top like so many taunting little apples to a very inept participant in a game of bobbing for apples.
2. I had too much mixture and not enough pie dish.
Frowningly I regarded these unexpected problems that had cropped up, my complete lack of experience in matters of cooking leaving me with no idea of how to address the situation.
But I was obsessed with Chopped, damnit, with an actual Buzzfeed article as evidence! I had a creative, talented, generational-recipe-creating chef inside of me! I could do this! I could!
So gingerly I began picking out floating cranberries, taking about half of them out and depositing them into a cup. Then I proceeded to try and pour more mixture/batter/stuff into the dish. I managed to get most of it in, but there was still a troubling amount left.
So now I was stuck both with not enough berries AND not enough mixture. Even to my nonexistent cooking instincts, this seemed to be a problem. So again, I applied my brilliant brain to the problem.
Why would the cranberries be floating? I asked myself. And then suddenly, it dawned on me.

The cranberries were floating because they were still whole which meant they still had air inside them. All I had to do was let the air out, and everything would be fine!
Oh, Readers.
I honestly don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to just take the cranberries out and slice them up. That would be the logical thought, wouldn’t it? That’s probably what you thought I was going to do. It’s probably what you would have done yourself. Oh, but Readers, never, never forget– I am not normal.
My solution to the floating cranberries?
Stab them with an ice pick.

Now, you might think that was a joke, one where I thought up the stupidest, most ridiculous method of getting air out of cranberries and then threw it out there for a laugh.
But.
I’m.
Not.
Joking.

Even what I’m pretty sure is Mr. Bean in an Elizabethan ruff makes more sense than what I’m telling you.

I won’t attempt to explain to you the difficulty of trying to stab tiny individual floating fruits, bathed in a slippery mixture of eggs and milk and other things, with an ice pick. Because it just makes it so much worse. Because why, at any point, did my brain not kick in and say, Sara, this is one of the most foolish things you have ever done. Stop immediately. 
Instead, I stabbed about fifteen cranberries before deciding that would be enough, and pouring the rest of the mixture in, which now fit! And in blatant disregard of the utter, unacceptable absurdity of the entire situation, my brain instead decided that since the mixture now all fit in the pie crust, I was doing something right! So I then proceeded to shove all the extra cranberries I had taken out back into the pie dish.
And hey!! They fit, too!!! Chef Rowe was back on top, triumphantly overcoming the baking tomfoolery that had so briefly stymied her.
I cheerfully shoved the whole thing into the oven, blithely ignoring the fact that the liquid hovered precariously close to the edge of the pie dish and that floating cranberries had erupted like zits all along the top of the dish. Then I skipped off to watch some more Chopped while I waited.
I won’t describe what emerged from the oven, because I think this picture says it all:

I’ll just leave that picture there for you all, without commenting.
But what I will share with you is that while I was trying to take this out of the oven, I burned my arm quite badly.
That’s right.
I LITERALLY BRANDED MYSELF WITH MY OWN STUPIDITY.

Sigh.

Sigh.

At this point, Readers, I’m just going to take advantage of the convenient fact that I never have to see your faces while you read this post. And I will especially enjoy this fact when I tell you that even after stabbing cranberries with an icepick and scarring myself– I WAS NOT DETERRED.
I convinced myself that the problem was simply that the pie dish hadn’t been big enough, and I hadn’t used fresh fruit. Somewhere in the back of my mind I was like, yeah, probably should’ve cut up the cranberries. But hey, c’est la vie, you live and you learn! And there were endless amounts of recipes on Pinterest just waiting for me to try.
So the next day, I determinedly began searching for another recipe, and finally find one I thought was perfect. My burn still smarting, I was especially excited by the fact that you didn’t have to bake anything. No sirree. Because I was going to make a mousse.

Blackberry Cheesecake Mousse, to be exact.

Berries and cheesecake? SIGN ME UP.
But this time, I was determined to be smart. This dessert was going to go RIGHT, by god. So I forced my sister to go to Walmart with me to make sure I had fresh ingredients, including fresh fruit. I scampered around, collecting my things, only to realize to my utter frustration that Walmart was simply out of blackberries. Just completely out.
Scowlingly I stomped to the car, with my sister soothingly suggesting we just go to the grocery store Homeland, which was sure to have them. Somewhat mollified, I agreed, and I hurried into Homeland to get my prize, already intent on making my delicious, SUCCESSFUL dessert.
Quickly I scanned the entire fresh produce area, and then did a double take. Not only were there no blackberries in sight, there wasn’t any other kind of berries. Instead, Homeland had about six types of grapes AND NOTHING ELSE.
In a building anger, I rushed over to an employee and asked them if they had any fresh blackberries. When they told me all they had was what was on the produce wall, I huffily snatched up a bag of frozen blackberries, paid, and grandly exited the store.
When I got home, I grudgingly began to prepare everything, acknowledging that the frozen blackberries would do fine, because they obviously had not been frozen in the freezer for who knows how long like yesterday’s fruits had been in our freezer. Finally, it seemed that things were going right. I began tossing and stirring and scraping things into the mixing bowl of our mixer, gradually feeling my good humor and completely unjustified optimism return. I added the last ingredient, and triumphantly turned off the beaters. It was going to be perfect, I just knew it.
Except when I went to scoop a bite out to taste, I realized that my mousse was not, in fact, the least bit moussey. Instead, it was a bit runny and already the ingredients seemed to be separating. Again, Chef Rowe was facing a potentially devastating setback. My mind began feverishly running through ideas to salvage the situation, when suddenly, it hit me.

You’ll be proud, at least, that my solution did not involve icepicks in any shape or form. Instead, I decided to quickly whip up a white cake mix, and then use the blackberry quasi-mousse to top it with, a la my favorite dessert at Olive Garden:

Strawberry dolcini ;akjd’gja’ej j[iejaiwgnan;wgnh HEAVEN

It’s white cake with like strawberry sauce and then like some kind of magical fluffy white chocolate mousse and honestly I could just drown in a pool of this and I would die completely, blissfully happy.
So, just make a white cake and put my concoction on top of it, and voila– instant classic.
Since this was Sunday night, that meant we were having dinner at my Nana’s house, which just happens to be next door to mine. So I grabbed a cake mix and my mousse stuff, and trotted over to my Nana’s to finish dessert. I mixed everything up easily and quickly, because, after all, even I can make a cake mix without messing it up. I wisely remembered to turn the oven on before I did this so that way it would preheat as I made the mix. I went about my way with restored spirits and a spring in my step. When the mix was ready, I went to pop it in the oven only to discover to my surprise that it still wasn’t done preheating. I frowned, but fatalistically accepted that there had to be SOME delay– obviously true genius only grows out of struggle. But after a few more minutes, I began to grow concerned about why the oven wasn’t done preheating. Finally, I opened the oven to peek inside, only to be reminded abruptly that my Nana stores all her extra pots and pans that don’t fit in her cabinet inside her oven when she’s not using it.
In utter shame I began removing piping hot cooking ware and shoving it anyplace I could find where it wouldn’t melt something. Very quickly after I removed everything out of the oven, it reached optimal baking temperature, and I shoved my cake pan in with a great breath of relief. Twenty-seven minutes later, I popped out a completely acceptable white cake out of the oven, and I began cutting it up and putting it into little bowls so I would be able to top it with my mousse, which had been put into the refrigerator where it had surely been firming up and taking on proper mousse-like qualities.
With a burning desire to just be done with the whole endeavor, I pulled my mousse out of the fridge– and discovered that not only had it not firmed up, but the ingredients all seemed to be trying to disassociate from each other, much like I now decided I wanted to do with baking in general.
I had no choice but to plunge ahead and serve it up.

Bon appetit...(it's okay, I think it looks like someone threw up blackberries too)

Bon appetit…(it’s okay, I think it looks like someone threw up blackberries too)

The taste at least was acceptable, though by no means a recipe to pass down the family. I’m trying it again now and it just seems kind of…off. But at least it didn’t taste like berry flavored eggs, as my first dessert attempt had.

And that, my friends, is how I quit my brief, inglorious stint as Chef Rowe.

PS I know this one was a really long post, but thanks for sticking with me and I hope you enjoyed it! I certainly would prefer that SOMEONE got some enjoyment out of those two days.
And just in case you are interested, here are the links to the two recipes I so defiled. If you attempt them, I wish you much better luck than I had!
Dessert 1: Clafoutis
Dessert 2: Blackberry Cheesecake Mousse

Pizza’s Peculiar Recurring Role in My Life

Dear Friends, I want to tell you a story.
I know that you’ll find this hard to believe, but once upon a time I was painfully, terrifyingly awkward.
Now, I can guess what you’re thinking– what do you mean, Sara, once upon a time? Aren’t you still painfully, terrifyingly awkward?
And you are partially right, I am still very awkward.

I’m about this level of awkwardness now.

However, compared to my younger self, I now have all the confidence of Grace Kelly at a state dinner in Monaco. To put it kindly, when I was younger I sometimes became overwhelmed in certain social situations.

I was that blonde lady on the right.

So, big surprise, in high school I was not one of the popular kids. I’m not saying I was like an outcast by any means; I was acquainted with most everybody in my grade and I had a large group of friends. I just was not in the popular crowd. Now, I can’t speak for other places, but at almost every single high school in my state, the most important people at a school are the athletes. And generally, football players are the priority. For example, when I was in high school we put in a million dollar football field but didn’t have enough books for every classroom. Completely logical, right?
But anyway. So as you may know, I am an avid lover of soccer and I have played my whole life. This includes all four years in high school. It just so happens that after our million dollar football stadium was put in, the rule became that any time we played while it was raining, we played on the football field because it had turf. I was a sophomore the first year this rule came into effect. I won’t attempt to describe to you now just how awkward I was as a fifteen year old. Instead, I will let the following story speak for itself.

We had a home game, and I was incredibly excited because I got put on the varsity roster.

VARSITYYYYYY

I don’t actually remember, but I’m going to take a wild guess and say I didn’t even get to play, or if I did it was only for a few minutes. But what I do remember is that we had to play on the football field, because it poured down rain the whole time. I also remember that we won the game. The boys’ soccer team played right after us, and they won their game, too. I don’t know how or who or why it happened, but the word went around that all the Varsity players (THAT INCLUDED MEEEEE) were allowed to go eat Mazzio’s Pizza buffet for FREE.

I DON’T EVEN LIKE MAZZIO’S BUT ALL I HEARD WERE THE WORDS “FREE” AND “VARSITY”


Now, I must admit I don’t even really like Mazzio’s Pizza. However, I was particularly excited on that occasion for a specific reason. About two weeks before that game, I had gone to Mazzio’s with my dear friend Kasey and her family, and I had stumbled across a little piece of heaven.
It was called cheesecake pizza.

IT’S CHEESECAKE… PLUS PIZZA. NEED I SAY MORE.

Let me just lay this out for you, guys. When I really like a food, I am serious about it. Really, really serious. And when I rolled into Mazzio’s that rainy day of my sophomore year, all of my focus was directed on securing and consuming as much free cheesecake pizza as I could. The second I went through the door, I headed straight to the buffet, gleefully scanning it for the magical concoction I just knew was there waiting for me. But as my eyes ran through the offerings in front of me, I saw nothing that looked like the remembered cheesecakey-pizzaey delights of two weeks before.
Disappointed, but not defeated, I returned to my seat to keep a gimlet eye on the buffet, for surely they would be putting out the cheesecake pizza any minute now. Thus, I spent the first approximately fifteen minutes darting frenetically forward every time a new pizza was put out to eagerly check if it was cheesecake pizza.
Finally, my stakeout was rewarded when I saw a lanky teenager disinterestedly shove onto the buffet what my discerning eye recognized as my eagerly awaited prize, and my legs quivered as I leapt from my seat and charged forward towards the buffet.

“CHEESECAKEPIZZZZZZZAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!”

But when the fevered haze of gluttony cleared from my eyes, I was frozen with confusion. For what I saw before me was not what I remembered from two weeks before. It sort of  looked like my cheesecake pizza, but it wasn’t exactly the same.

“Is… is this a trick? Cheesecake pizza, are you hiding in the ceiling?”

Try to understand my dilemma here. I had built myself into such a state of anxious anticipation, that my mind just could not seem to comprehend that what I thought was cheesecake pizza, just might not be cheesecake pizza.
I stood there, staring at the pizza before me in bewildered contemplation. Was it cheesecake pizza? Was it not cheesecake pizza? I just could not seem to confirm either way. As I was frowning down at the pizza in this fog of confusion, I gained the vague awareness that someone was standing next to me.
Now, have you ever just known that you had a weird look on your face? Like, you could just feel that there was some bizarre, contorted expression firmly planted on your features? As I slowly turned my head to see who was standing next to me, I realized that I had one of those looks on my face:

If I had been an animal in high school, I would have been Libby there.

I simultaneously became aware that I looked like a drowned rat, with my soaked hair straggling all around me and my too-big, bulky hoodie on, with all trace of makeup washed away and skin still clammy and pale from the cold. The other thing I became aware of was that the person standing next to me was none other than Hunter Smith.
Of course, this probably means nothing to you, but let me give you some background– remember how I said athletes took priority in our school? Well, Hunter Smith, although a sophomore like me, was already something of a celebrity at our school. He was a star on the football team, but he was one of the best players for the boys’ soccer team as well. He was also, naturally, one of the most popular kids at our school. Though we were around the same age, in the same grade, and played the same sport, I had never spoken a word to him, and I was fairly certain he had not the slightest idea who I was.
I could only stare at him in a sort of bewilderment. Much like my mind could not comprehend the discrepancies between the cheesecake pizza I remembered and the cheesecake pizza that I had found before me, I could not comprehend that Hunter Smith was standing next to me, looking at me. The most popular guy in school was standing next to me, and I could only stare at him in disbelief.

Umm… you can’t be standing there?

Into the dead silence, Hunter innocently asks, “Hey, what is that?”
Oh, Readers.
All I can say in my defense was that I was already in a somewhat strange state due to the distressing situation with the cheesecake pizza. Then, you add to that the fact that someone I was in awe of (I’m not joking, I was outrageously and comprehensively intimidated by Hunter Smith and his athletic skills) was speaking to me, and I can only say that my brain simply shut down.
I took a deep breath, and then suddenly launched into this whole, long, stumbling explanation about how I thought it might be cheesecake pizza but I wasn’t sure it was cheesecake pizza because I’d been here two weeks ago with my best friend and got cheesecake pizza and this didn’t look the same as that pizza and blah blah blah blah blah. I honestly don’t even know all of what I said. Eventually, after who knows how much time, I came to my senses and realized I was rambling on to Hunter Smith about cheesecake pizza. Abruptly, right in the middle of  a sentence about heaven only knows what mysterious existential examination of the nature of cheesecake pizza, I stopped speaking. And resumed staring at Hunter.
Into this void of discomfort, Hunter politely says, “That’s cool. Is it any good?”
Ah, Readers.
This time I have no defense for what happened. I can only cringe.
In response, I scoop a piece of the much pondered pizza onto my plate, pick it up, and proceed to shove half of it into my mouth. Then I stood there, chewing. As I continued to stare at Hunter Smith.

Hiii. Just me here. Chewing.

After a good fifteen or twenty seconds of chewing to finally make it possible to swallow the half a piece of pizza I just ate, I finally manage to free my mouth to snap back this witty rejoinder: “It’s okay.” I then shoveled three more pieces of pizza onto my plate.
And then I stood there.
And continued to stare at Hunter Smith.

No. No, I don’t have any idea what’s going on either.

Into the absolute vacuum of awkwardness, Hunter replies, “Well, I think I’m going to get some.”
I nod dumbly back, and continue to stand there.
Hunter stands there.
We stare at each other.

EXCEPT WE WERE A FOOT APART

At last it occurs to me. In my fervor to secure ALL the cheesecake pizza for myself, I had unconsciously placed my body squarely in front of it. I was essentially hunched over its spot on the buffet, completely blocking all access to it. There was no possible way for Hunter to get to the cheesecake pizza.

BACK OFF MY NOMS

“BACK OFF MY NOMS”– my unconscious psyche.

Slowly, slowly I uncurled myself from the space around the cheesecake pizza where I was crouched like a beast of prey over my hapless victim. Then, without speaking a word, I backed away, turned around, and walked off.

Yep, and just walking away now.

For the two remaining years of high school, I did everything in my power to avoid Hunter Smith, which thankfully was not that difficult. You may think that this story is now at an end, because it surely has to be, because it could not get worse.
Ahh, but Readers. If you thought that, you underestimate my mind-bogglingly vast affinity for awkward, embarrassing situations.
Senior year of high school rolls around, and somewhat to my pleasant surprise I found myself in the soccer Homecoming Court. My naive mind did not comprehend immediately the potential for unpleasantness here, because I was actually really excited to be in the Homecoming Court… yay! The exciting shine of that wore off instantly, however, when someone mentioned to me how we were going to be paired with an escort from the boys’ team.
And Readers, you already must have guessed that Hunter Smith was one of the candidates for the boys.
But I was optimistic. I staunchly reassured myself that I would not be paired with him! There were six candidates each, which meant I had an 5 in 6 chance of not getting paired with Hunter Smith. Those odds were practically unbeatable. I would be fine.
You know already, don’t you?
What I failed to learn was just how a boy and a girl candidate were paired up– alphabetically by last name. Aka they put us in alphabetical order and matched us with the corresponding boy.
Hunter Smith. Sara Rowe.
In the Soccer Homecoming Court of 2009, Smith and Rowe were the corresponding names.

Now, most all of the girls on my team had heard the great Cheesecake Pizza Story at one point or another over the years, and they were absolutely loving it that I was paired with Hunter. The story made the rounds again, and it just so happened that Hunter’s girlfriend at the time was the athletic trainer for the soccer team. I had to get my ankle wrapped every day for a while, and somehow I ended up telling her the story. She thought it was hilarious, and told me she was glad I was the one paired with her boyfriend and not someone else. I did not share the sentiment.
Fast forward to the day of homecoming, and as so many big schools insist on doing, we had to have a PEP RALLY. And this pep rally had to feature the Homecoming Court for soccer! And of course, it had to be a THEMED pep rally. Our theme? Black light. So we find out kind of last minute that our escort will, well… escort us down this aisle set up in the gym, through a sword arch made by the ROTC, and then we will sit in chairs in front of everyone for the duration of the pep assembly. Awesome. Fantastic.
So we gather outside the gym, waiting our turn to be called. Hunter is, thankfully, off talking to the boys. A minute or so before its time for the first pair to walk, they line us up just inside the doors to the gym with our partners. This is the first time I will have spoken to Hunter Smith in two years. Let’s just say I was slightly anxious. Luckily, he says very little, merely a hello and a how are you. I think, hey, maybe I can survive this. The pair in front of us takes off. We’re next. It’s totally dark in the gym, may I remind you, except for black lights everywhere. I realize it’s much easier to face Hunter when I don’t really have to see him. He takes my arm. We step forward. And then we are walking the tarp aisle laid out.
Oh. Oh I got this.

LIKE A BOSS

I throw my shoulders back and I STRUT. I am a senior. I am in the Homecoming Court. I am escorted by the school’s athletic champion.  And my fervent wishes have come true, and he clearly doesn’t remember that time two years ago I made a fool out of myself. I start smiling so big that I know my pearly whites have got to be absolutely GLOWING in all the black lights around us. We reach the ROTC members lined up on either side of the aisle, and they make a freaking SWORD ARCH over our heads as we go by. I am ON. TOP. OF. THE. WORLD.
Then, Hunter casually leans towards me and says, “So… had any cheesecake pizza lately?
….
…..
……

I am, as the last time I was near enough to Hunter Smith for conversation, struck speechless. He chuckles and says his girlfriend told him about it. Then suddenly we are at the chairs, and Hunter escorts me to mine before going to sit with the boys on the other side. I cannot tell you to this day what happened during that assembly, because my mind was frozen with horror.
When the evening rolled around and it was actually time for the actual Homecoming ceremony, I hid in the dressing room as long as I could, pretending to get ready. Someone finally had to come get me to tell me it was time to go take our places. Hunter– who let me stress was always kind and polite to me, except for the teasing during the assembly– very sweetly said how pretty I looked. And because I am the living embodiment of Socially Awkward Penguin, I told him, “You too.”

This happened last week.

Then we were strolling, me trying to keep up in high heels, which I feel like I don’t even need to describe to you how that went. Luckily we didn’t really have time to say anything, and no more references to cheesecake pizza were made, and after Homecoming was over the Hunter Smith saga came to a thankful close.

Oh, hi, why am I wearing these shoes and trying to walk on grass again?

Oh, hi, why am I wearing these shoes and trying to walk on grass again?

The regal Soccer Homecoming Court of 2009

The regal Soccer Homecoming Court of 2009

But Sara, you are saying, now that I’ve finally stopped rambling about cheesecake pizza long enough for you to get a word in. That story was painfully humiliating, why on earth would you ever share it?
An excellent question, and I thank you for it, because you have created the perfect segue for me.
As I blogged about before, I am a big fan of CiCi’s pizza buffet. Unfortunately, the last time I was there someone thought I was a man, and I proceeded to eat half of a pizza to comfort myself. I went again to CiCi’s for lunch this week, and I am happy to report that nobody mistook me for a member of the opposite gender. But alas, who to my wandering eye should appear, but Hunter Smith, who I have not seen since I graduated high school.
Me. Hunter Smith. A pizza buffet.
It all came rushing back to me, and to ensure that a repeat of the infamous Cheesecake Pizza Incident did not occur, I pretended that I did not see Hunter Smith. To be honest, I’m not even sure that he recognized me, or knew who I was.

Ah Readers. Isn’t it funny how sometimes life comes full circle?