Yelling at Dean about Spam

Haven't had generic Spam in ages, but a can of it was on my tiny shelf in the kitchen. One evening I accidentally knocked the can over, remembered the Spam was there, and all night long had a hankering. The next morning I emerged from my room, intending to make a few fried Spam sandwiches. Mmmmm.

In glorious solitude I opened the can, shook out the meat, and began slicing. When that task was completed, I wiped the glop off my fingers and found my only frying pan. Plonking the pan onto the stove made a sound, though.

Damn it. If Dean is home, any sound from the kitchen means he'll emerge from his room to stand around and talk at me. The only exception is if Dean is asleep, or isn't home.

I wanted to add cooking oil to the frying pan, but I'm all out, so I eyed Dean's oil, on his enormous free-standing six-level shelf of cookware and supplies. I'd have no qualms about stealing a splash of oil from a flatmate, but hearing the dreaded footsteps from his room, I resigned myself to frying my Spam without oil.

Spam's pretty greasy, it would probably fry up fine.

And just as I was thinking that stupid thought, Dean came out of his room to begin annoying the everhatin' crap outta me. After a fake-cheery, "Good morning, Doug," he said, "Oh, Spam!" and left the words hanging in mid-air as if they merited a reply.

He lives to talk, but I know it's not personal — he talks at my other flatmates too. They're closer to normal than me, so they don't hate being talked at by Dean, but I hate it like slugs hate salt. Leave me alone unless you have something interesting to say, and Dean never has anything interesting to say, but always says it anyway.

"Yes, Spam," I said finally, hoping it was final, while he stood and studied my sliced Spam on the counter. Dean works in a restaurant, fancies himself a chef, and loves talking about it, so he was probably going to critique either my knifework or my knife. He's volunteered his opinions on both in the past.

Sure enough, after a moment he said, "Some of your slices are thicker than other slices." Again I wondered what is wrong inside Dean's head.

I said nothing, simply laid six slices of Spam in my frying pan and turned on the heat. Fuck you was what I wanted to say, but I try to get along with my flatmates, even Dean. Oh, how I try.

Better to say nothing, right? That's been my strategy since moving into this house. Dean is what used to be called the r-word we can't say any more; he has some kind of chromosomal damage, and I try to be patient about it.

When I continued saying nothing, Dean said, "I'll be right back," and darted into the bathroom. As he closed the door, I grabbed the cooking oil off his shelf, and poured a splash of it into my pan of Spam.

It started sizzling, and Dean stayed in the bathroom long enough that I'd flipped the Spam to brown it on the second side. Could it be? Could I make my sandwiches and disappear into my room before he came out of the john?

Tragically, no. The toilet flushed, and while it was still swirling Dean opened the door and emerged to resume the world's dullest conversation where we'd left it. "Do you like Spam?" he asked.

Well, yeah — why else would I buy and fry it? I love Spam. It's great in sandwiches or salads, or fried and stirred into scrambled eggs. Sometimes I've eaten Spam like an apple. I never buy real Spam, though, only the cheapest generic, and rarely even that, because it comes in cans packed with glop, and you get gloppy getting it out of the can, and then you have to slice it and get even gloppier. So much bother, so much glop...

Of course, none of this I said to Dean. If I had, he would've replied, and we'd still be standing in the kitchen discussing Spam. Saying nothing should be the beginning of the end of an unwanted conversation, but the longer I said nothing, the more Dean continued standing there, looking at my Spam as it fried, waiting for an answer.

Then he pointed at the frying pan, his finger directly over it, and said, "You like your Spam fried?"

"I like my Spam without your hand hovering over it," I said. He hadn't washed his hands after using the toilet — he'd come out of the bathroom immediately after the flush. And I do the same thing, almost never wash up after a pee or a poop unless I've gotten shit on my fingers, but Dean is the chef, so he ought to have better habits.

And then I realized I'd been yelling all this at Dean, and maybe more. It's been months since I'd last yelled at the schmuck, and I regretted it. It's common sense — same as saying something extends an unwanted conversation, yelling something extends an unwanted argument.

But Dean raised his hands in mock surrender and smiled at me, and said, "OK, OK, no need to get testy." And then comes the happy ending to this story: He went into his room, and closed the door.

♦ ♦ ♦

Well into my senior years, I am still figuring out how to deal with humans. I frickin' hate interactions with most people, but also I hate arguments. A month ago, a midnight argument with 'L' threw my equilibrium off for a week. Almost always, my preference is to be left alone, with no talking, and especially no yelling.

That morning, though, yelling at Dean accomplished the trifecta of everything I wanted: He retreated, he shut up, and he went away. Obviously, I need to yell at Dean more often.



  1. Yow, VERY close to bursting out laughing, veeeeeery close...Eel

  2. Hey, I just noticed to my left that you announce No Spam, whaaaaaa???

    1. Well, that's a different kind of spam, of course. :)

  3. Glad you enjoyed a quiet breakfast...that's important to me, too!

    1. George and Aubrey! I'd met her half a dozen times before and she's always been super-introverted, like me. But at breakfast she was chatty, I was chatty, and we spoke like humans. I suspected I liked her, and I do.


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