This weekend at the Farmers' Market, I bought a big bag of watercress. I know that's kind of a C- sentence opening sentence unless you're a watercress fan, but relax. The first time I ever ate watercress was in a soup at The Earle in Ann Arbor. It turned me into an instant fan. In a soup, it feels like you're eating spring. It's like turning into a fawn or a rabbit and eating something green and fresh after a long winter of poking around roots and salt licks.
What I've never experienced before this weekend is eating watercress raw. I've always liked how some people call arugula, rocket. If I was the person in charge of giving vegetables cute nicknames, I would call watercress: face punch. It's bitter and peppery and it takes over every flavor. Face Punch. I've made salads with it this weekend and made potage au cresson for dinner last night.
One of the reasons I'm so excited about this is I've been really sick for the past few weeks. First I had an ear infection and then, probably picked up from the doctor's office while getting diagnosed with an ear infection, strep throat. I haven't been up to much of anything other than drinking a bunch of water and trying to sleep as much as I can.
Beyond being really down about being sick, the first experience I had with the doctor who checked out my ears was miserable. She was rude. And made assumptions about me that seemed fairly race based (she assumed I didn't have insurance and gave me a lecture about actually needing to take the medications she prescribed, instead of asking me if I had been swimming or using Q-Tips--and I am an idiot who uses Q-Tips in my ear and I have vowed to stop and not be such an idiot--asked me several times if I had an STD that I wasn't taking care of or if I was just ignoring my diabetes. I don't have diabetes.) while I was feeling miserable and wanting to feel better. Maybe she just wanted to feel like a real House MD and diagnose a mysterious illness. But it's hard not to think about it as something more when someone who has just met you refuses to believe you about your sexual history. And I left my appointment feeling deeply uncomfortable and weirded out and like I never wanted to go to a doctor again.
It's strange how easy it is to forget how a twenty minute encounter with someone else can be so unsettling, do so much damage. I feel like I was being overly dramatic re-reading that, but I think it's true. And I think a lot of people under-estimate how much they can hurt another person. Maybe it was just time away and processing that's helped take away some of the sting. Maybe I should start telling everyone I know that watercress has emotional healing powers.