Chimera Song Mosaic
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
The Sublime Synesthesia of the Juan Carlos Melon

Go get yourself a Juan Carlos Melon. They should be at the grocery store, right next to the muskmelons (those are good, too, but who hasn’t had a cantaloupe? Muskmelon is clearly a better name; the only good thing about cantaloupe is that it rhymes with antelope).

I just finished eating part of a Juan Carlos Melon. I opened it up last night, scooped out its slippery innards, and sliced it up into boomerang shapes. I love skinning a melon, carving off the rind in long, fragrant strips. I love cutting it in half next and gorging my fist on its seeds. It is so pleasant to eviscerate a melon. Try it if you haven’t yet. It is highly pleasurable. One of the best things about preparing your own food is that you get to feel it.

You also get to look at it. The Juan Carlos melon is not like the muskmelon, which is more or less perfectly round. The Juan Carlos is an ellipses, banana yellow--no, brighter—yellow as Gatorade piss. This might be the only season the Juan Carlos is available, so hurry up!

I did not discover the Juan Carlos. Lance did. He was attracted to its bright yellow exterior, mentioned above. He did not discover it originally. I imagine it was named after someone’s infant son, Juan Carlos. Infant Juan Carlos was born prematurely. He was the size of a medium melon, not a big one, not a watermelon. Now he is the size of an old man.

I opened the Juan Carlos melon up. You won’t believe what’s inside. The guts look mostly like pumpkin in color and sliminess, but the flesh is glowing alabaster. That’s not accurate. It might be more like the moon when the sun is reflected on it and it is visible to our eyes. But something tells me it is also green, though I do not see anything green. The white part has a green taste. The inside, the interior part that was exposed to the seeds and the vegetable mesenteries, is a pale, kissable peach. It’s almost pink. It’s so light you can’t taste the difference. That’s the sweet part. It’s almost like a honeydew, but of course that’s a different color. It is totally distinct. You can only taste the sweet part in the middle. It is excessive and luminous. It offsets the bland neutrality of the white part. Don’t cut too close to the rind, or the outside part will be too hard. Eat it anyway.

Report from South Padre Island

I got back from the beach on Sunday. I was more or less a wreck from the excessive drinking. Except the healthy and difficult walk through the soft and yielding sand made me feel a little better. I could not get enough to drink (water). We went to the beach on Sunday very early in the morning. We played in the ocean without incident, save the constant brushes with the ubiquitous grape-twig seaweed (I don’t know what it’s called, but it looks exactly like a grape twig). We wondered if people on the beach can tell when others are doing it in the water. I decided yes. The waves were exceptionally calm and died prematurely. After a possible jellyfish pass, we got out.

Lance and I are not beach goers. We can usually only stand a maximum of an hour—I can go much longer, all day, but only if I am snorkeling. We had never been to the beach before with people who were so prepared. Jen and Marty brought two reed mats, towels, a folding chair, a boogie board, and a big orange umbrella. Lance and I brought water and sarongs. The mats and the umbrella made all the difference. I found myself actually enjoying lying on the sand (on a towel on a mat) with my head under an umbrella. The water was hazel and cloudy, which is pretty good for the gulf. The sand was fine and unblemished. I had almost forgotten how good the ocean sounds. We saw pelicans, not seagulls.

I think I could return. It helps if you do not get sand in your swimsuit. Then we went home. First we bought fresh shrimp, tuna, and crabmeat. Then when we got home, Lance boiled a chicken and made seafood gumbo. It was delicious, and I wondered why I have spent most of my life hating it. Gumbo tastes good in a hurricane, but we did not have more than a few heavy rains that day.

The day before was mostly spent at CineSol. We saw a fabulous documentary called Los Ultimos Zapatistas, which featured interviews from centenarians--some of the original Zapatistas, some of who died during the filming--as well as Nuevos Zapatistas (the old men were the best). I might see it again if it comes through Mission or McAllen. We saw a freaky, feature length film called Shattered, which has an excellent script and is very ambitious, but this came off as uneven and hokey in its low-budget medium. For example, sometimes you couldn’t even hear the soundtrack because the music portion was playing too loud. The dialogue sounded muted. Extremely annoying. But Lance and I stuck it out (several people left) and were rewarded by some very good acting and a fairly realistic portrayal of the onset of schizophrenia. It’s amazing how some films could really be enhanced by money, some would be better without it, and some would suck no matter what you throw at them.

We also saw a series of shorts about the Valley that were interesting, myopic, and sincere. One was about the insane high school football scene here, which I’m told has changed over the years (used to be someone would identify their hometown by mascot—“I’m a Rattler” or “I’m an Eagle”). That was pretty cool. We also saw most of a flawless short called, “White Like the Moon,” about a young girl who is forced to endure her mother’s cruel expectations and nightly slatherings of a whitening cream. I’d like to see that one again. We saw a good short about La Llorona which was predictable, but atmospheric. My absolute favorite thing was a short called “In Hot Pursuit.” It’s about a young woman who has dreamed of meeting a male policeman—a “Ponch,” if you remember CHiPs. Who doesn’t? It became very clear how much Erik Estrada’s counterpart is not remembered (he did not have that perfectly combed black hair or those laser-bright teeth) when a white policeman (who is courting the young protagonist) says, “Don’t you remember Jon?” Who remembers Jon? Who would remember Jon when they can remember Ponch?

The comedic timing of the young actress (who looks a bit like a jolly Selma Hayek) and the one who plays her mother is perfect, as are the props in this slick little film set in Los Angeles. See it if you can!

We ate a lot of fresh seafood, including some out-of-sight-ceviche (and I felt mildly guilty because I just read an article on AOL about the disappearing creatures of the ocean), had a high-school-flashback evening of 4-wheeling in the sand at night with a cooler full of Tecate (feeling slightly guilty about that too)—complete with the ritual stop by the cops (“Keep it to 10 MPH”), and found plenty of bars to patronize, including some sandy palapas. The only thing that would make a future trip to the beach more complete is a hammock—there were none to be seen. Oh, I’ve got my own hammock, but I need a couple of those poles with the rings in them. That would be splendid.

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