This may be a surprise to you, but I am not familiar with okra. I know what it looks like, and I ate a bit of fried okra once at a buffet, but that people would take the effort to pickle it was news to me. This led to the inevitable conversation about okra (okay, inevitable for me, maybe. I don’t know what you talk about with your co-workers) and the inevitable invitation to try one when the vat was unsealed.
Later that week, I received the call and skipped my way to the other building to try a new food. We have forks at the office, so I kept my trusty chopsticks in my purse and took my first tentative bite.
It was dill-pickled okra. I don’t like dill. I like sweet.
I kept it in my mouth. I even managed to swallow past the shock, which I’m sure my co-worker appreciated since she was in the line of fire.
See, it didn’t say “dill-pickled okra” on the vat. Had it done so, I would never have agreed to try one. This led to the inevitable conclusion, that, to me, all pickles are sweet.
Why? Because that’s what I know. That’s what I like. And that’s what I expect, when I eat something pickled.
How often does preconception get in the way? There was nothing wrong with the okra. It hadn’t lied to me about itself. It wasn’t even wrong for it to be dill. I’m sure as far as dill-pickled okra goes, it was great. It had a surprisingly firm pickle-like texture. It just wasn’t what I expected, and it threw me off.
It happens in non-pickle-related ways, too. I start expecting certain things and when those things don’t turn out as expected, I get thrown off. I start wondering what went wrong, and who tricked me into this, and how can people survive if they don’t see the world the way I do?
Pickles come in dill and sweet (upon reflection, the okra was more bread-and-buttery than dill). Events come in expected and unexpected. Life does what it does and I’m along for the ride, no matter what I think I’m doing. My reaction is all I can control, and, believe me, it’s hard enough most days to keep a straight face while swallowing a dill pickle.
What about you, dear readers? What’s one of your “unexpected” moments? Was it dill, sweet or bread-and-butter?