Bananas are my second favorite fruit. They are simple: peel and eat; easy to chew; no seeds to spit out; no messy juice; delicious. I like simplicity. Its parsimony is appealing. When I was growing up my mother often bought bananas for my brothers and me. It’s strange, because she herself did not like bananas and never ate them. She bought them for us, but never ate them. I never noticed this until one day, long after I passed into adulthood, she said, “I always bought bananas for you boys, but I never ate them. I don’t like bananas.”
I thought, “Oh, yeah!”
In my family today we eat bananas a couple times a month, I guess. I still like them for the same reasons. I had a banana for dessert after dinner on Wednesday, December 8, 2004. It was a beauty: large and thick, about 25-cm in length. I knew that its curvature might have been deceiving, but it was a fine looking banana - expensive probably, not one of those cheap, small, slightly discolored and over-ripe ones that are too easy to come by and that spoil far too quickly. The skin was a flawless yellow, soft and not tough like a less-than-ripe-enough-for-eating banana. That was encouraging, but I have learned from experience that a flawless skin can conceal ugly bruises. (I never eat bruised bananas, which is a shame because I don’t like to discard them after peeling them. But a bruised banana is a grotesque thing.)
I took this banana and walked into the kitchen where I was waiting for my computer to download E-mail. I peeled it as I walked. Good. The skin tore easily, but not too easily - a good sign. The yellow skin was smooth and looked unblemished. But in addition to that the yellow color was regular and consistent - another good sign. Of course, I know that the yellow color is probably artificial, but I don’t mind that. It matches my expectation of what a banana should look like, and like most other people my expectations shape the way that I interpret reality. Very soon I recognized that the fruit was clear of blemishes on the inside and happily began masticating. Half way through it in just a moment, I felt that everything was not as perfect in Bananaland as I thought. Partly down the arched curve of the fruit there was a previously unnoticed discolored patch. Don’t worry. It was nothing serious. Not a brown bruise but a slightly soft, more-pale-yellow-than-the-surrounding-yellow-fruit yellow. I suspected right away it was a nascent bruise. Good thing for me I was eating it when I was. One more day and it might have been too late.