The other day, I was buying groceries at The Store, and I watched all my selections travel down the conveyor belt. The cashier scanned everything one at a time and slid it down to the bag man (sometimes our bag people are men who look as if they have retired from grander jobs and now bag groceries just for something to do). Anyway, we got down to the last few items, and the cashier picked up a plastic bag containing two small oblong looking vegetable things. They were whitish with green ends, and they had leaves you could pull off. That's exactly what I was going to do with them--I was going to trim the leaves and mound them with smoked salmon spread. I like these little natural spoon like things--they're great with tapenade or crabmeat salad.
So, the cashier held up the bag and asked, "what are these?" I know what those are, for Pete's sake. I purposely put them in the plastic bag and tied the end in a knot. I tossed them in my cart and brought them to the conveyor belt because I wanted them. I have used them several times before, and I had a specific plan for them. But when asked in that moment, do you think I could come up with the name? Do you think the tiny portion of my brain that sends the signal for the name of the small lettucy things would transmit properly without static, without interference from other signals that said things like "don't forget to get gas in the car," "don't forget to pick up the dry cleaning," "don't forget to pick up the kid at school," "don't forget your name, you blabbering idiot who doesn't know what day it is."
I stood before the cashier, the bag man, and the kindly woman in line behind me, and I could not name the vegetable. All I could do was chuckle, knowing by their respective ages they had most likely experienced the same cranial misfiring. Evidently, they had because they laughed too, and the four of us stood around the bagged vegetable and tried to guess.
The woman behind me: Is it bokchoy?
The bagman: what do you do with it?
Me: you peel the leaves and mound them with stuff
The woman behind me: Is it Chinese?
The Cashier: Is it sweet cabbage?
The Cashier: How about savory cabbage?
Me: Yes, that's it. Well, no it isn't, but let's say it is.
So, she rang it up as Savory Cabbage, and I got a bit of a bargain. She said I would remember the name as soon as I got home, and I said I would remember the name as soon as I got to the car. I paid for my bags of groceries and sheepishly pushed my cart back toward the cart spot.
I wasn't five feet from the cashier, the bag man, and the woman behind me, when the starter in my brain finally kicked in, and I yelled, "Endive!"
So, now, anytime I sense a glitch in the cerebral hemorrhaging, I yell, "Endive," so everyone will know I'm about to come up with a word or an idea, a whimpering thought that has been languishing in a pool of misspent starter fluid.