I love surprises. I honestly do, but I pretty much only care for good ones. Such as grabbing an old pair of jeans and finding a crisp 50 in the pocket, or arriving home and finding a ladies volleyball team in the fridge. Bad surprises I can live without. I could happily meander through life without ever being treated to ‘surprise sex’ from a gang of deranged homeless men or being treated to the ‘surprise’ of exiting a taxi though the windscreen. In fact, keep your surprises. For every good one, there’s generally a skip full of bad ones waiting around the corner. I’d gladly trade every ‘surprise, I got you a packet of Rolo in the shops’ and ‘Surprise, you’re fired’ for simply knowing what I’m getting. If I buy toilet roll, I want it to be toilet roll and not, say, Carving Knives.
On three occasions last month, I bought onions from the street traders on Camden Street. Now, when I buy an onion, I want it to be an onion. I don’t want to cut into it and find a big black lump dressed up as an onion. On these three separate visits, I was let down. I also let myself down, because I was victim to the woman’s pushy sales techniques and returned home with peaches or strawberries which I never ate. So, like any good disgruntled customer, I continued to shop at the same stall.
Today, I’m making something that requires an onion so without thinking I was back at the stall like a heavily bruised housewife who wouldn’t listen to advice. I bought the onions, and some bananas that I didn’t want, and headed home.
It will come as no surprise to you that my onions were a bit worse for wear. Of the seven that were in the net, two would barely have scraped by in an ‘are you an onion?’ contest, whilst the other five had serious issues. Some were black, or grey, whilst one disturbingly puffed out a kind of dust when I sliced into it.
I’d promised myself the last time that I’d speak up if it ever happened again and so I did. I grabbed them and returned to the stall.
“Sorry about that Love, here ye go” she said calmly, handing me a fresh net and mentally pushing me away.
Well, you’re not going to need to use much brainpower to figure out what happened next and why tonight’s ‘Onion surprise’ is a bit light on the onion.
That’s ok though, because you’re not invited.
Although, you could surprise me.