Monday, January 22, 2007

Being a Short Disquisition on the Life Cycle of the Cocoanut, Cocos nucifera

I've had my eye on a particular coconut palm for the past four years or so. You know the one. It grows next to the fence at the pool at the housing development in Florida where we go swimming once a year.

So we went this week, and there it was, big as life, giant green nads (I'm no botanist) hanging all over it. I bided my time, lazing about in the water, very pale, watching the Boy swim, helping to dandle the baby's toes in the water. But the palm knew the jig was up.

There was a slump of retirees (you know: a sloth of bears, a murder of crows, a trip of hipsters? How about a slump of retirees?) on the other side of the pool. Presumably they had some ownership stake in the tree I was about to defile. But they were slow. So by the time they could react, I had already twisted off the largest nut (not really a nut, it turns out, more of a fibrous drupe), feeling like a shoplifter, and had hightailed it out to the car.

Truth be told, I wasn't even sure it was a coconut. It was green, for one thing, and in these past several years I'd never seen the tree with your standard brown hairy nads (again, see note on botany, above) on it. So I wasn't sure. Back at the compound, I gouged the thing repeatedly with a steak knife until liquid came out.

By the way, for any scientists reading this: that's how it's done, lads.

I sipped the liquid and, while not terrible, it was boring, so I spit it out. Then I threw the split-open fruit into the bushes, wondering just how coconuts worked. But not wondering enough to find out.

Then I retrieved it and photographed it with a glass of simulated coconut water* alongside to give the lay public a sense of the volume of liquid it had discharged. Then, and only then, was my Florida mission complete.

We returned to snow.


*tap water & milk


wcs said...

Enjoying your stories here in France. Reminds me of home.

- a Hudson Valley native (much farther north than you).

Bill Braine said...

Bienvenue, and tell your friends. Merci!

Professor Salt said...

Slump of retirees.

I like it. I like it alot.

Bill Braine said...

That one's mine. But a "trip" of hipsters is not mine; I've just always liked it.