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Posted: February 18, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Forbidden fruit is always sweet

I don’t know what it is with us humans, but we always want more or think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

It is the lure of forbidden fruit, which according to the song of the same title sung by Nina Simone, "is mighty sweet."

For example, last Wednesday, everybody from the governor on down told us to stay inside and not drive.

And believe me, I didn’t want to drive in that weather.

Normally, if I had a day with nothing to do, I would settle down and enjoy it. I could catch up on little chores that I had not had time to do (and I did do that). I could let my computer beguile me for an hour or two with information. I have been reading a book about Henry VI of England and Edward and had to check out the tricky succession during the War of the Roses.

I could use a quiet hour to read and drink a cup of tea. I did that, too. And I would have been happy to enjoy a restful and quiet day.

But last Wednesday, I did all those things and was very restless. I kept pacing to a window and looking out. I kept turning on the television to get the latest weather report, which was silly, as I had just looked out the window and had seen what the weather was doing. I did not need the television to confirm it.

I had promised to follow some rather esoteric recipes and make crackers and bread for a dinner and did not have the ingredients on hand. I fretted that I could not go to the grocery store and use the quiet day to cook. If I could have shopped, I probably would not have. I would have left the cooking till Saturday, anyway.

Why all this angst? I was told I had to stay in and fretted about being told what to do even though common sense told me to stay inside. To go out in that horrible weather was, essentially, forbidden.

The next time I am busy and don’t have a moment to stop and think, I will yearn for a day of peace and quiet in my home. We always want what we can’t have.

Shopping, for a woman, you would think would always be fun. After all, we are programmed to be hunter-gatherers.

But how many of you women out there can honestly say it is fun to go to the grocery store and buy food for your family for the coming week? It’s not fun, particularly if you, like me, have done it for nearly 50 years. It is not fun because we have to do it. Not to mention that it is getting harder and harder to stretch the food dollar.

How do we make this weekly chore more palatable? We sneak that bag of candy or ice-cream treats into the grocery order. It is the thrill of forbidden fruit.

If I have a specific thing to shop for, say a black skirt, I can go to six or seven stores and not find what I am looking for. And I will not be having fun. I will be grumpy, and nothing I see will please me, because I have to find one specific thing, a utilitarian something.

But let me agree to meet my sister at the outlet mall at Locust Grove. (It is halfway between our houses and makes for a pleasant outing for the both of us. We usually meet every other month or two.)

I have nothing I need to purchase. All I am looking forward to is meeting my sister, eating lunch and watching her shop. She always has a list of things she wants to purchase.

Because I am shopping for nothing, every store we enter has something that catches my eye.

I generally end up spending more money than she does. And I enjoy it. It’s fun. It’s fun because what I purchase is nothing I need and nothing I was looking for. It is the thrill of the unexpected. It is forbidden fruit.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System.

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