The Great Peach Adventure

It was a farm market peach, picked and purchased at its peak. It was the color of an August sunrise – all yellow and orange and sleepy soft. I lovingly placed it in the bottom drawer of the communal refrigerator at the office where I work, and as I slid the drawer closed I softly whispered to it, “I’ll see you at lunch time!”

Throughout the morning, I thought of that beautiful peach, just waiting for the touch of my lips against its skin. I knew it would be juicy and sweet and just the right degree of firm. A couple times during the course of the morning, I was tempted to break into the bottom drawer, but my Catholic upbringing has resulted in an over-developed sense of delayed gratification; I convinced myself that the longer I waited, the more delectable the peach would be. I really needed something to keep me going through a tedious, dull morning.

When lunchtime finally arrived, I made my way down to the kitchen. I could practically feel the juice dripping down and tickling my chin. I grabbed an extra napkin from the shelf, to make sure I didn’t get any on my blouse.

I opened the drawer. The peach was gone. Just gone. No telltale fuzz, no ransom note. Just gone.

"What the fridge!?" I yelled as quietly as I could (but I didn’t say “fridge"). "Who would take my peach?"

I slammed the refrigerator door closed. On the outside of the door was the cleaning schedule, which announced that today was cleaning day. It was Lisa’s turn to go through all the food and throw out expired and forgotten items.

Don’t even tell me that she threw away my peach, I thought.

I opened the drawer again, presumably hoping that the peach would now be there. It was not. In fact, this time I noticed that my apple was also gone and my little Tupperware bowl which had recently contained gluten free pasta was sitting there, empty, gluten-free-free. I stomped my foot. (Yes, I really did that.)

"What the fridge?!" I repeated again in my whisper-yell (but I didn’t say “fridge"). I guess I did this so that the people who didn’t hear me fake yell it the first time could not hear me fake yell it again. My stomach growled and my face grew hot. I marched to Lisa’s office and knocked on her door.

“Come in,” she sang.

I opened the door and there she was, all sitting and smiling and crap like that.

“Hey, Lisa,” I said, in my best you-know-how-professional-I-am-because-I’m-really-pissed-but-I’m-speaking-to-you-in-a-very-controlled-voice voice, “I had a fresh peach and an apple and some other stuff in the fridge," (this time I actually said "fridge”) "and now it’s all gone.”

Lisa’s eyes grew wide and she raised her hand to cover her gaping mouth. “Oh, my god!” she exclaimed. “I thought it was garbage.”

Apparently not quite satisfied to have shocked and dismayed her I added, “No, it wasn’t garbage; it was my lunch.”

“Oh no! I feel so bad.”

But she didn’t get her gorgeous peach thrown in the trash.

“When you clean out the fridge, you’re only supposed to throw away stuff that’s rotten.”

“I am soooo sorry.”

“That’s OK,” I said, closing her door. We both knew I didn’t mean it.

My trip back to my office began with a stomp and ended with a slink as my anger began to subside and the truth of my reaction came into view. I was acting like a real ass. My anger was not in proportion to the events at all. It was a peach, for heaven’s sake.

A few minutes later there was a knock at my door.

“Come in,” I grumbled.

Lisa opened the door and presented me with a gift bag that contained a pint of fresh guilt – er, I mean peaches - from the farm market. She sat them on my desk. I stared at them. They stared back. They tried to woo me with the same sunrise palette and soft fuzz as my lost peach. I was invulnerable to their charms.

I don't even really like peaches that much, I thought. I thanked Lisa and then set the fruit out to share with my work mates.

And I was still kinda pissed. It was then that I realized that I wasn't responding to the loss of a peach; my anger was at the loss of the idea of eating, savoring and enjoying it - in the way that I wanted and planned. I had become fiercely attached to that expectation of pleasure, which was in turn attached to the idea of eating that peach.

It's not that pleasure is bad, or that I shouldn't look forward to enjoying something delicious on a dreary day, but this is a life pattern I seem to follow - and with things bigger and more important than peaches. When I need to escape my aversions I create the prospect of future pleasure and I focus on that instead. When I do that not only am I not living in the moment, but I am creating the conditions for disappointment and anger, which will result in additional future suffering for myself and subsequently for others as well.

I could be happier - and contribute a gentler presence to the world - if I could just learn not to be so attached to things.