Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Things I (Inexplicably) Like

1. "Car Talk" on NPR. Click and Clack, the hosts of this show that ought to bore me to tears, have voices that are almost as annoying as sports broadcasters with names like "The Red Bull." I am not a car fan. I think of them as necessary evils that get me from Point A to Point B, because there is no such thing as good public transportation in America (unless you live somewhere like NYC, and then, you only think it's good, because you've never, well, lived somewhere like Paris). Tell me you'd like to discuss the inner workings of cars to me, and I am likely to take out my book and start reading. Nonetheless, when I am riding around in that necessary evil on a Saturday, running errands, and I find out that "Car Talk" happens to be on, I will listen to it as if I'm listening to that excellent audiobook version of Dracula that I so love. As Click and Clack would say, "Go figure."

2. The television show Criminal Minds. Want to freak me out? Put me in a house all by myself at night and tell me there's a serial killer on the loose in town. Serial killers terrify me. I constantly have to remind myself that the statistical likelihood of my being the next victim of the "Blue Bonnet Butcher" while I'm out walking the dog just before bed is next to nil. Criminal Minds was a fun, thrilling, interesting show when I first discovered it (being way behind the times when it comes to television viewing, this was only last fall), until someone told me that every episode is based on a real serial killer. We have had enough creepy killers in this country to be able to highlight one per week on a show that has been on the air for something like seven years? Those comforting statistics on which I used to rely are, somehow, not quite so comforting anymore. Does this mean I'm no longer addicted to the show? Of course not. Why would I stop watching something that gives me nightmares and adds to late night fears, while telling everyone how it's the only show on TV that I really watch?

3. Chick lit. When I was a teenager, I shunned all those romances my sisters and mother read, preferring to spend all my time with other favorites of theirs, like Agatha Christie, when I wasn't hunkered down with Stephen King and John Irving. Today, give me a candy-colored cover, and I'll happily breeze my way through it, egregious typos and grammatical errors and all. I can't live off this type of work, but I certainly find myself craving it from time to time, most often just after I've read, yet another, grim contemporary "masterpiece" all the critics have hailed to the moon and back that has left me thinking, "This is what qualifies as 'great literature' in today's world?" I don't know, I guess it's just nice, sometimes, to pick up something and know that it will end with the girl getting the boy, no matter how formulaic it all is. And, at least, it never pretends to be anything it isn't, which is much more than I can say for "The new Huck Finn" or "This century's War and Peace."

4. Oysters on the half shell. I would like to know whatever possessed the first human being who ever ate one to look at it and think, "That looks like it's going to be delicious." There's probably a lot I wouldn't eat if I went by looks alone, but this has got to be way up at the top of the list. They don't merely look unappetizing; they look gross, like something some kid in a biology class would take from a dissected pig and use to frighten others. I don't just like them, though, I love them, and I can't explain why. It's not as though they're loaded with flavor (in fact, half the reason to eat them is the lemon and cocktail sauce typically served with them). It's not as though they have great texture. But I crave them sometimes. I miss them living where I do (even though we're not far from the Chesapeake Bay, the restaurants around here tend to cater to a meat and potatoes crowd, so they're not standard items on most menus). When I go to Maine, I don't eat lobster nearly as much as I eat oysters.

5. Craft shows and fairs. I know: what could be less inspiring than booth after booth of people desperately trying to make something out of nothing? And yet, tell me there's a craft show coming to town, and I'll pen it in on my calendar. I don't think it's because I necessarily care for much of what's being sold (although I do. Some of the jewelry I find at craft fairs is gorgeous, and I like anything that's hand-knitted, but most of that stuff tends to be out of my price range. Then again, I often don't: highly-shellacked, wooden plaques with "cutesy" sayings on them, anyone?). I think it has more to do with a certain sort of fascination: look at all the people who flock to these things, look at all this creativity, look at all the things I could have thought of to make and sell, look at all the things I could never, ever make, even if I spent every minute of every day trying to make them. On the other hand, it may just be the food.

What about you? What are some things you inexplicably like?


Jodie said...

Criminal Minds is based on real crime?! So the one where the guy takes his victims eyes and puts them in his taxidermy projects is real? Suddenly remembering all the worst episodes!

litlove said...

I like our local radio station, although it only has about 12 records,I think, that get played over and over. But it's sort of comforting. And I also like oat cakes with peanut butter for breakfast. Not eating sugar or yeast makes it a tricky meal, but I discovered this combination which I eat with a banana, and like very much. Mr Litlove wonders how I can possibly get it down!

Anne Camille said...

I love oysters too, yet can't explain the appeal. And Car Talk! Click & Clack lways makes me laugh. Never seen that tv show, stay away from chick lit, and the nearest I've been to a craft show recently was driving down a hiway and seeing one at the park we passed. That was close enough for me, though the food did look good!

Stefanie said...

I like Car Talk too but my dad's a car guy and the show reminds me of Satruday afternoons helping him fix the family cars. What is inexplicable is why my husband loves the show so much and always has to listen to it. What I can't explain is why I don't like tomatoes when I love tomato soup, tomato sauce, ketchup, and other tomato-based things but give me a whole tomato or something with chunks of tomato in it and I can't eat it.

Courtney said...

I love Car Talk too and am happiest in terms of my weekend schedule when I can do all of my errands on saturday morning, moving from car Talk to wait wait don't tell me to This American Life and then be home, and done. I used to watch Criminal Minds but had to stop because it seems like the episodes kept getting worse and worse. Inexplicably, I like (no, love) country music.

ZoesMom said...

You know how I feel about chick lit, but you don't know that I also LOVE Car Talk. I got into it when Zoe was a baby and I would take her in the car so she would take nap. Now I often download episodes to take with me on long car rides.

Susan said...

How do you come up with these lovely and weird post titles? and they're always funny. Like you I like oysters on the half shell ( my favourites come with the cheese topping, mmmmm), and that like one of your other commentators I adore tomatoe-y things and loathe plain tomatoes, which I can't eat.

Emily Barton said...

Jodie, oh yes, that one with the taxidermist using his victim's eyes was really awful, wasn't it? So was the one where the Psycho-like Mama's boy cut off the girl's toes, so her feet would fit in the shoes he wanted her to wear.

Litlove, in my book, you can't go wrong whenever you combine peanut butter and bananas!

Anne, I didn't used to go to craft fairs, either. Pennsylvania must be rubbing off on me, or something.

Stef, hmmm, yet another thing I seem to have in common with your husband, and you're not the only one I know who likes tomato sauce, etc. but who doesn't like actual tomatoes.

Courtney, oh, me too, as far as running errands and getting to listen to all those NPR shows.

ZM, so when we drive cross-country some day, we'll have to bring along some Click and Clack.

Susan, I don't know. They just come to me when I'm doing something like driving around and listening to Car Talk, and find myself writing them in my head after pondering the fact that it's so weird I'm listening to this show. When we finally meet each other, we'll have to go somewhere we can order oysters.