It’s Not That Simple…Peanut Butter and Jelly

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Sitting at the Culver Dining Hall, the (pronounced ‘thee’) topic came up—peanut butter and jelly. My natural defensiveness took over as my best friend, Chris, commented on my daily mixture of PB&J; yes, mixture of peanut butter and jelly (as in, in a bowl). I spoon-feed myself.

“That is quite possibly the most disgusting thing I have ever seen,” Chris began. “Why do you eat that?” I sat, took one more spoonful of my favorite creation for emphasis, and slowly turned to Chris, quietly responding, “Do not chastise my drug. This is essential for living. And quite frankly, peanut butter makes your mouth quite delectable. Yes. Fact.” Chris gave me his dark, amber eyes and responded, “It’s still repulsive.”

Typical? Yes. Routine? If it didn’t happen, something would be wrong. Problematic? Never. Chris and I go together like peanut butter and jelly; it’s not that simple. There are numerous choices, and one must be meticulous in preparation—jelly is always hard to get from the jar. Chunky or smooth? Low-fat or organic? Strawberry or grape? The options are endless. When you find the perfect combination, ecstasy…yes. Chris and I are still working towards this; I’ll comment when/if we get there.

Likewise, finding a best friend is quite the endeavor, yet it is something, I feel, is essential in life. They become an emotional outlet, a confidant, even a form of a mentor in our lives. These relationships are difficult to craft or to mold. Finding your jelly—whether in a best friend, relationship, or marriage—can be a life-long endeavor. Chris is secretly obsessed; I, therefore, will reluctantly pass this half of the metaphor to him. (He approved when he read this, but naturally catalyzed an argument by lying, claiming he preferred peanut butter). I have been fortunate to find one form of a complement at seventeen.

Arguments, or light discussion, rather, have become the signature building-block for finding Chris. Whether it’s deciding what bread goes best with Low-Fat Peter PanTM Chunky Peanut Butter, or it’s overcoming some extravagant argument over “something silly,” as Chris always says, there is this feeling of satisfaction and progression after every quarrel we have. It’s funny how this relationship has been acknowledged, “Are you two [Chris and I] really upset at each other all the time, or are you guys just ridiculously good friends?” Sarah, a member of our Cross Country Team, asked as Chris and I argued about my refusal to try Starbuck’s Chai Tea with a hint (just a hint) of raspberry. I think that may summarize it best. Finding your complement is all about combinations. It may take a while, but that final taste of a perfectly crafted sandwich is always worth it.

Creating said sandwich? It was quite the task. I remember our first encounter, the first mixing of the nationally acclaimed PB&J (I, naturally, reverted to Wikipedia to confirm this sandwich’s success: “The National Peanut Board reports that the average kid eats 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before she or he graduates high school”). Eh. I don’t believe it. It’s probably higher; Chris claims he hasn’t even eaten one hundred. Come to think of it…in terms of number of bowls…

I met Chris through an argument, go figure. That salty/sweet combination was quite emphasized from our first encounter at my house last summer. The story…

Chris lives approximately seventy minutes from my house. We had run track together yet had essentially ignored one another outside of this. After spending a little more time with him at the end of last season, I asked him over to my house to start the summer…so it began.

Chris was lost. This really was no surprise as our sense of direction (bad together, an epic fail alone) is rather poor (talk to our College Advisor about driving to Pennsylvania instead of Indiana from her Ohio house). “Adriann, the Kroger’s? I’m at the Kroger’s.” Chris remarked on the phone. “What’s Kroger’s? I shop at Wal-Mart, exclusively Wal-mart,” I began, hearing Chris’ frustration through the phone. “Seriously, what’s Krogers?” And there you have my awareness of Warsaw, Indiana—my hometown of four years (give me credit; I’ve been boarding at Culver). Chris made it. I still don’t know how.

The start (aka our first private conversation)? “Chris, I’m not really liking those jeans. They kind of look…fake-designer? Actually, they just look tacky” Chris got sensitive and, as I would later find out, changed his pants before our dinner/movie date with a few other Culver students from Warsaw (I’m still paying for this one…).

11:30 p.m. Back Home.

Dinner was ok—that’s what you can expect from small-town Indiana. Angels and Demons (film) tricked me, but Chris, insensitively, revealed he knew the ending (he did ‘call-it’ before the film ended…he prides himself on this to this day). Things were awkward…very awkward in fact. I didn’t really know what to tell Chris… “Leave?”… “We’re lame?”…All things considered, Chris gets the credit for sparking our relationship; I may not always admit this, but he’s right (normal).

“So, Adriann. What should we do, play, watch, eat? We’re terrible at this.”
“No, no, it’s not my fault. You’re the guest. Believe me, I’m fine with anything.”
“Movie?”
“Ok…are you ok with [awkward pause]”
‘What?”
“The Spongebob Squarepants Movie”
“I LOVE The Spongebob Squarepants Movie”
“Finally!”

Simply put, I’m a kid at heart. I love, for example, chocolate chip cookies, DQ Waffle Cones (with sprinkles), S’mores, Mac N’ Cheese (Spongebob Edition) and, of course, cartoons—aka Spongebob. And so the relationship was born. We proceeded that night to cook, bake, watch Spongebob, and fall asleep beneath a Spongebob blanket that Chris brought (go figure…). Oh, and our 3 am snack…that’s right…Peanut Butter and Jelly.

Close friends are important. Complements are hard to come by. Sometimes, the salty/sweet tastes clash (a little), but inevitably, the correct combination comes together. Chris really is my jelly. I’m his peanut butter. Perfect.

Oh, we have decided…traditional strawberry with chunky (but not too chunky) peanut butter. The bread? I’m sticking with my bowls.





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