by Aurora Bordeaux
I love crabbing. It’s peaceful and rewarding. But most of all, I love eating crabs, and I really love eating them for almost free. So when I went crabbing this summer with my favorite sister-in-law, Emily, and we hauled home 11 smallish but definitely edible crustaceans, I was tickled pink.
We netted the devilish pinchers by hand, and I had to thump most of them in the cooler with moderate assertiveness because they wouldn’t let go of the net. I touched most of them with my bare hands, grabbing their tough derrieres and disentangling legs and pincers one by one. Emily and I were hot, muddy, and slightly sunburned, but dammit—we caught some good eatin’!
When we got back to the house, we heaved the cooler upstairs and got to cooking. Still stinking of our morning’s work, I boiled a cauldron of water and chucked in some spices. When it was game time, I hand deposited each creepy crawly into the pot—no gloves, no fear. I sucked on a beer and watched them redden like oceanic mood rings predicting joy to come. I melted butter. I dug for claw crackers in the rental house drawers.
Emily and I sat down at the table with our meager but well earned bowl of crabs, ready to dig in.
And then her hippie sister Leena showed up.
Leena sat down and started digging in without so much as a “please can I share.” Hmm, I thought. Not cool. Especially since she wolfed down all our crabs three years ago, the last time Emily and I brought home a haul. All yum-yum, no thank-you.
As the Hubs read this story, he reminded me there was more to it that I should add. I honestly think I blacked this part out due to sheer anger, but the Hubs tells me that his sister tried to partition off the crabs for various people (not the two of us who caught them) and spent most of her time between bites complaining about who wasn’t getting any. I’m as polite as anyone, but in my book, if you want some then go catch your own or at the very least say please.
It’s not that I hate sharing. Sharing can be cool. Just say thank you. Entitlement enrages me, and as I watched her chomp and suck on our crablings, I had to fight to keep the taste of rage from polluting the butter.
I ate faster.
Then something terrible happened—the other sister’s two weird, mewling kids showed up. They chirped and whined, demanding crab like rat bastard seagulls cawing on the edge of my feast, and then Leena really started hogging our haul. The kids, of course, wouldn’t crack their own meat, so she had to then play maternal referee as they fought for what she cracked on their behalf. Ugh! I was infuriated by the total lack of acknowledgement or gratitude, but having our crustaceans crapped on with whining was the last straw. It was. Freakin.’ Annoying.
And I couldn’t say a word, first of all because it wouldn’t change anything, but second of all because being the only childfree woman in the house makes anything I say extra sensitive. I’m already different, so I have to watch it.
I cracked at light speed and cannonballed my food. The meal ended when her six-year-old stripped buck naked in the kitchen for no apparent reason. Maybe next year, Emily and I can dig a hole in the beach and cook the crabs surfside–it may be the only way to enjoy the fruits of our labor in peace.