by D. Travers Scott
I am in Texas, dreaming of Europe.
In Europe, when I'm in seventh grade, and when the bonus word on our spelling test is "hollandaise," I am not the only student who spells it correctly. I am not the only student who knows what it is. I do not survey my classmates' limpid eyes and furrowed brows. I do not snap with supercilious exasperation, "It's what you put on artichokes!" To this, I do not encounter further bemusement. I do not futilely flog the issue: "Asparagus? Eggs Benedict?"
In Europe, this marks me as nether a big ol' 'mo, nor the progeny of aspiring middle-class foodies.
I inhabit a class system of clear demarcation. I know who I am and where I fit. No whiplash transitions from nibbling caviar poolside in Beverly Hills with a bestselling author to living in a sixteen-foot fishing trailer with no running water, using an empty paint bucket and trash bags as a toilet. My parents do what they're supposed to do. Their tastes are uniform, coordinated, and bereft of unsettling juxtapositions. Dad does not come home from working the loading dock to excitedly open this month's fragrant, gooey delivery from the Cheese-of-the-Month Club. My mom does not drag me to Charlie Daniels' Band concerts at the state fair one week, a Nicholas Roeg retrospective at the indie cinema the next. My stepmother does not prepare the aforementioned hollandaise with equal zest as her Velveeta-based queso dip.