That used to hang up in the old room above our bed. I scrawled it on a whim after I had put up a bunch of photos of Dan and I on the world trip. It is a word that we both used for us, but truth be told, I have always been a lucky person. Any time that life's meaning has threatened to unhinge itself, I usually become the amused and grateful recipient of some timely, random, beautiful curve ball of unexpected kindness. I have FGFs (Fairy God Folks) all over the world. Enormous hearts always seem to find me when I need them. There's Vonnie and Rob on a Perth beach as the sun is just beginning to rise, Hamid and his family in a desolate Jordanian Desert from another century, still writing to me a year later, Gabbie on a farm in Victoria sewing quilts and sending me emails every time she senses something's going on with me. Beautiful, beautiful people all over the shop. I can now add two detectives from a Sydney police station to that list, amazing souls who, unfortunately, have to remain nameless. The stickers don't lie, cops are tops, and this is why...
I was driving home from a nice, sober night out, about to make an absolute mistake. Silly Amanda and Wise Amanda were at it in the rink, I think it was round 7. Wise Amanda was copping some lethal uppers to the jaw and Silly Amanda was moments away from total knock out. No need for details, but my mind was weaving between doing something and not doing something. To Be an idiot or Not To Be an idiot, that's always the question. It's okay when your mind weaves in and out of things, but when the big blue car you're driving that has a broken indicator, starts to weave in and out of lanes in front of an undercover cop car at about 10pm at night: Not So Good.
With one point left on my license and the last shards of my dying sanity, I got out of the car and handed over my license. The voice in my head is all expletives at this point. Two detectives, a cool looking lady, and a Canadian guy who kind of reminds me of Dr Phil, start with the questions. After establishing that I am not drunk, armed and only mildly dangerous, we somehow start talking about life. My life, to be exact. No joke, these cops and I get into the whole, entire breakup story on the side of a busy Eastern suburbs road.
After five minutes I am leaning against the boot getting some hilarious relationship advice from this father of two and woman about to be married. They're counselling me on love and men and life. An hour later, siren lights still flashing, I have laughed my absolute ass off at some of the funniest stories and jokes I have heard in ages. In the middle of it all, after having shown me a photo of his two beautiful kids, the Canadian detective told me that he had read all the Harry Potter books to his children. Apparently there is some character who is constantly draining Harry, he steals his energy or something. He looked me in the eye and told me that it doesn't have to be hard, life/relationships etc. That the struggle can sometimes be a sign to stop the fight and just see what happens when you do. Something about the way he looked at me when he said it hit home. Light Bulbs. Not from the sirens, metaphoric light bulbs, silly. I looked back at him and didn't say anything. If something isn't working you don't have to keep trying to fix it, the need to fix it can actually be the problem.
Simple stuff, yeah, but mine is one very thick skull.
He then told me to book myself into the Observatory Hotel for a wrap, a facial and massage, to take up rock climbing so I could meet some good men (wtf?) and to go back and finish the last semester of my law degree. Heh. Then they both hugged me hard, told me to come visit them soon and sent me on my way (ticketless, of course). They are so getting boxes of Colefax chocolates next week.
People are so lovely they break my heart. I am still smiling today at the thought of them. Lucky, huh? Two brilliant people coming along just when I needed them to. Well, If I was at any risk of forgetting the Canadian's advice, I was reminded of it again today by a hapless coconut.
That hairy little fruit has been hanging out by the kitchen sink for a few days now. I look at it when I walk by, it looks at me, neither of us say anything, then we both go back to what we were doing. Coconut has never been a particularly favourite flavour of mine. I find it a bit sickly and too rich. Even as a little kid, I used to give bounty bars the Big Snub. I was a rather ravenous little child (ie. fat), so to say I didn't eat one type of chocolate is really saying something. That was, however, before I knew about a little thing called lauric acid, and before I discovered Laksa.
Coconuts got a bit of a bad wrap as of late, largely for two reasons: their saturated fat content and the fact that they look pretty retarded as part of a grass skirt ensemble. Scientists are at it again though, confusing us with new information every 5 years or so. The lauric acid in coconut oil (which comprises about 50% of the total fatty acid content of any given coconut) has been found to have pretty amazing healing properties, particularly for people with Crohn's disease, chronic fatigue and other bowel related disorders. But more of that later.
So i'd been sussing out this fruit, wondering how the hell to take it apart. I just couldn't work out how you'd get through to the flesh. Mum and I were having some tea in the kitchen today and I kept looking at the coconut on the sink, trying to figure out how i'd hold it down, what type of knife i'd use, whether it would be a good idea to place it on a chopping board or not. I couldn't get it to compute it in my head. The fruit just didn't make sense!
Amanda (to her peaceful, serene, gentle and patient mother): Mum, how do you cut a coconut?
Mum (to her sadistic daughter who takes extreme joy in destroying things with mess and instantaneous bursts of joyous fury): You don't cut coconuts, you take them and throw them on the ground and they split open...
Seriously, after a mad dash to my room for my camera and about 15 seconds later:
Jesus. Bloody. Christ. Talk about the most satisfying moment of my whole entire life. I am smiling broadly as I recount this to you. Hold my hand for a sec, I am going to take you through the whole glorious process: I just took it, read it its last rites, wrapped my palm tightly against the curve of the doomed body, held the quivering weight of it poised against an anticipating sky, and, with an evil grin and all the force of one very bad year blazing through my Shoulder Internal Rotators, I smacked that bad boy back down to earth with all of the fury and glee of dark and wicked forces. That fruit didn't just crack open, it entered into Amanda imposed annihilation. Watching the cracked up coconut, all splayed out on the afternoon concrete of our driveway...If I was a smoker, this is where i'd be lighting up....ahhh. That's one for the grandkids.
Just like the Canadian said, there I had been analyzing and calculating all week how to disassemble something that looked so tricky, so impenetrable, but all along it was really simple. Maybe relationships are the same. Maybe when you stop working so hard, that's when things really start to work.
Fortune Cookie pointers aside, you simply MUST smash a coconut once before you die, the release is apocalyptic, just do it, I don't want to hear another word about it. It'll get you in touch with your inner Arab.
So it turns out there is no need for counsellors, friends, yoga, meditation...just take one coconut, smash heartily into ground and enjoy the biblical catharsis that washes over your awed, silenced soul.
Violence aside, coconuts have some culinary value too. I enjoyed eating chunks of the flesh, the texture is really nice and it tastes much less coconutty when it's fresh flesh you're eating. I use some coconut shreds in gluten free baking, if you mix it in the right ratio with other gluten free flours, you actually don't get a coconut tasting cake/crust/biscuit at all. Coconut's oil content means it gives a good moistness to otherwise dry mixtures. I love a little bit but not too much of it in curries and laksas as well. If you can get laksas made without too much sugar or bad oils, the coconut oil in them will do great things for your body on the anti inflammatory and antimicrobial score. I usually feel quite revived and energized after I eat them. Pacific Islanders have long revered the healing properties of coconut, their "tree of life", it really does boast some impressive research results. If you want more of a run down on all of the things coconut can be beneficial for, go here.
Next time you see one in the shop, pick one up, not just for the violent prelude, either. So often I am surprised by how much we confuse the actual taste of real, natural things for the artificial shadows of them that we encounter in processed, commercial food. Real coconut flesh has a much more delicate flavour than what I normally associated with coconut. It's not about to be a favourite fruit, but I did enjoy it.
So, that's coconuts... Get cracking.