The nuns at our orphanage were very thorough about Sex Education. Well, they called it Health and Hygiene, but believe me, it was sex ed. It used to kinda amaze Starr Ann and me that nuns of all people were so caught up in studying the reproductive cycle, until we decided it was a lot like the way Starr Ann and I were innerested in space travel and fascinated by Pygmies. Deep down, we had a pretty good idea we'd never experience either up-close, but that's what made imagining so fun. Same with nuns and reproduction, I guess.
Anyway, there's a small reproductive tidbit I get reminded of about once a month. It's a little piece of software, called apoptosis, that gets run by a female fetus roughly halfway through her time inside mama. Already possessing each and every egg she'll ever have by that time, the little girl's body sends a signal to those eggs, telling them to commence with mass suicide. Yep! All but the strongest of our eggs commit apoptosis before we're born, leaving something like 400 of them that have to last us throughout our fertile days.
So about once a month, when Starr Ann starts showing signs of PMS, I can't help but think it seems like we've been through this way more than 400 times already. It is kinda intriguin' to discover which flavor of PMS we'll endure each month, though, I have to admit.
Like this morning, Starr Ann sauntered past Jodie and me in the living room and said, "Think I'll go try out this recipe I dreamed up. Key lime quiche. How does that sound?"
Now there was a time, and not so very long ago, when a declaration like that woulda struck terror in our hearts. But ever since we had the stove password protected, Starr Ann's cooking threats aren't nearly as scary.
Starr Ann gets real distracted during her special days, so it took about an hour for her to wander back out of the kitchen and mention, "Stove's broken."
Jodie and I just muttered something we hoped gave the general impression we'd have that looked into, which wasn't even necessary, because Starr Ann had already lighted on another swell idea.
She brightened all up and said, "Hey, why don't we get some baby chicks this Easter?"
Expertly navigating away from an outright negative response, Jodie said, "What an idea, darling. I think that definitely bears a closer look - right before Easter."
Dang! Jodie's good.
Then things got dangerous, because Starr Ann suggested we go over to Jodie's house and whip up some omelettes. She offered to use our eggs, and when she came back in carrying the carton, reading about how the eggs came from cage-free hens who don't get antibiotics, and who eat organic food, that set Starr Ann's hormonally imbalanced thoughts going on whether we should even be eating eggs in the first place. Starr Ann was this close to clouding up with tears when Jodie and I executed a beautiful team effort where Jodie faked like she had a splinter in her finger and when Starr Ann put the eggs down to go sterilize a pin, I put the carton away real fast.
Poor Starr Ann. She was wearing us out, so we had to get rid of her for the weekend. It was almost too easy to do. We just had Celia Susan call real breathless and everything to report that the signals from Starr Ann's bunker security system were coming in all scrambled. Poor thing couldn't get saddled up quick enough to go troubleshoot her equipment.
***For an incredibly innerestin' explanation of apoptosis, check out this 1, 369-word excerpt from Natalie Angier's Woman: An Intimate Geography.