I am allergic to bananas, but this does not stop me from eating them. They make my mouth burn, even though they are not acidic, which is how I knew it was an allergy.
Turns out I am allergic to all fruits that are of the latex family of plants, which includes avocados and mangoes and basically all the best things in life. Avocados make my throat itch and mangoes make my lips itch, and I risk asphyxiation for all of them because I love them too much to stop eating them.
When I worked at Smoothie King in high school and college, a large part of my job duties involved peeling bananas. They were kept in the back room in huge boxes, and when I first began working there, the manager showed me how we kept them covered with plastic so that they would “sweat,” which meant they would sit in the boxes until they were very soft and almost completely black.
Since almost every smoothie contained bananas, we had to have four gallon tubs peeled and ready to go just to get through a single day. I learned how to peel a banana in one quick motion, clutching the stem in the palm of my right hand, digging my left thumbnail into the base of the banana, peeling the skin to expose the banana with a flip of the wrist, and squeezing the banana out into the tub with my right hand.
Since we were teenagers, we knew how to have fun doing even the most menial of tasks, and we often staged banana-peeling contests in the back room. A guy I liked, whose initials were BK, nicknamed himself the Freudian-sounding “Banana King” after he won one such contest. I hadn’t taken any English classes yet then, or I would’ve made fun of him for that.
I’ve forgotten how to peel bananas the old way. This is one of the many ways working at Smoothie King changed my life.
Once in a while someone will ask me why I’m eating my banana upside down. I explain to them that this way I get the seed at the bottom out of the way without having to contend with it later. But, really, it’s all the same.
A comedian I like named Demetri Martin has the following joke about bananas.
It makes me laugh to myself every time I recall it. Sometimes I’ll say “bananana” to my younger brother, and he laughs too.
My favorite desserts involve banana because it lends its flavor without overpowering whatever deliciousness you’re adding it to. These include banana cream pie, banana pudding, and banana creme cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory. Every time I go for custard, I get a banana concrete.
My mom makes the best banana bread.
I love bananas. But I hate artificial banana flavoring. This is because when I was little, my mom had to force banana-flavored antibiotic syrup down my throat, and it made me sick. Merely the thought of banana Runts makes me nauseated.
I buy a bunch of bananas every time I go to the grocery store, but they always turn brown before I can eat them. I will not eat brown bananas. Nor will I eat green bananas. I will eat only uniformly yellow bananas, which means I have about a 30-second window in which to enjoy a bunch of bananas. I usually feel terrible about throwing out the bananas I didn’t manage to eat before the window closed, until I remember that bananas cost almost nothing.
An English major friend of mine once apologized for being the girl who brings a banana to class and makes the entire classroom smell of banana. She has the talent of making stock characters out of everything, which is why she’s such a good writer, which I say without reservation even though she doesn’t seem to like me very much.
Today at lunch I was eating a banana that was still just a little too green. But it was delicious nonetheless, and much better a little too green than a little too brown. The wind was blowing as I ate, and in that moment, I considered cutting my hair very short for the sole purpose that it would not blow into my mouth while I was eating a banana.
I haven’t been able to blog for weeks. Some days I sit down and say to myself, “Just write, asshole, and stop making such a big deal out of it,” but still I could not. Bananas, in the end, were my muse.