Monday night I made these roasted vegetable rice bowls for dinner. The seasonings include chili powder, ground cumin, minced garlic and chopped jalapeno. Over the last few years, the skin on my hand has become so sensitive to jalapenos, which makes no sense to me because I can eat them with no problems. Get some of the oils under my fingernails though and I will spin the rest of the night thinking about little devil’s with pitchforks poking at my cuticles. It’s likely karma. I have a Mexican cookbook and ever since I received this as a gift, I have laughed and laughed at the pictures of the people wearing gloves. All the notes about washing your hands and don’t rub your eyes. What idiots.
Monday night, I thought I had performed rigorous amounts of hand washing and had hopefully removed all the demon juices from the jalapeno from my skin. Maybe I handled the seasoning again, or perhaps it was the chili powder or cumin. Either way, I made the rookie mistake and rubbed my face. When my eyes began to burn, I could almost see the word ‘KARMA’ in my tears. After a copious amount of rinsing, the situation was under control. Thank goodness, because it gave me the opportunity to reflect on times of the past.
I was once involved with a man who believed that he was a natural in the kitchen. Really, he just over seasoned the shit out of everything. This was at a time when I was still struggling with the basic grilled cheese so who was I to complain. Food was food , right? I can’t recall what it was he was preparing but it did involve jalapenos. He had been chopping away and he too had thought he had thoroughly washed his hands… before heading to the bathroom.
The thing about jalapeno irritation on the skin is that it never seems to be an immediate impact. I can tell you that when it gets under my nails, it is hours later before I realize that I’m going to suffer the night with feeling like I had been petting jellyfish all day. Apparently, there is skin that does react a bit sooner.
About twenty minutes later, he was back in the bathroom, desperately washing his wiener in the sink with cold water. “It won’t stop burning.” I thought about grabbing a camera, and of course, now I’m quite sad I didn’t. This would have been some excellent youtube footage for the post-breakup time.
“I guess keep rinsing. I’ll look online.”
I scrolled through all of Google’s recommended sites for dealing with irritation of jalapenos. I returned to the bathroom door and knocked, trying to keep my game face. When he opened the door, he seemed shocked to see what I had.
“Milk? You want me to drink milk right now?”
“No, the milk help neutralize the jalapeno oils. You need to soak your wiener in the milk.”
“You want me to soak it in milk?” At this point he was still desperately rinsing it off with cold water.
“Well, that’s what it said online. If you don’t want my help, I understand.” I started to walk away.
“No! Bring the milk back!”
In the end, nothing seemed to make the situation any better but the tincture of time. And now, with time between here and this event, I think that was the karma gods then. After the breakup, I promised myself that I would be fully aware when the karma gods tried to draw my attention to such things. A man with a burning wiener for any reason is not worth your time.