Zoe Rose

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Zoe Rose is our Sunday Showcase this week! In her writing, she takes inspiration from the landscape of her upbringing.

Zoe Rose is from Aspen, Colorado. She takes a lot of inspiration from the bizarre place that thrives off money and the outdoors. She recently celebrated her graduation from Wesleyan University. This fall she will move to New York to begin her masters in nonfiction writing at Columbia University.

An Artistic Exploration of a Somewhat Cynical Perspective on Living

 – Zoe Rose

It’s Friday night and you’re feeling a bit frivolous. Not in a sexual way, but a creative one. A crackle and tempo-ed clicking are followed by a burst of flames beneath a stovetop. You walk away from the pot of water because it’ll never boil if you watch it. In the meantime, you pull up Pandora on your laptop and type “evening jazz.” Pandora suggests “romantic trumpets.” That’ll do. As carrots are being julienned and garlic minced, your mind wanders to the unrhythmic cello strums and smooth saxophone. I’m listening to jazz. Hell yeah. 

Nine hours and 38 minutes earlier, two blocks to the left, three blocks to the right, and 102 feet above, a girl sits in the corner of her small apartment, huddled with The Help, hardcover edition. Taking after her father, a baby-boomer, she licks her finger to turn the page from 63 to 64. Despite the effort of licking her finger, she gets a paper cut. It makes the experience all the more authentic, she figures. I’m reading a book. A hardcover book, nonetheless. Screw everyone else and their iPads. I got myself a papercut. 

Six hours ahead and 3,625 miles east, a young man buries his face into his scarf, wetting the wool with his breath. Hands in his pea coat pockets, he strains his eyes upward, biting his scarf to keep it covering his cold face. His vessels experiencing vasoconstriction cause his short-boned limbs to go numb. So this is it. This is the Eiffel Tower. Just like the pictures on Google, no? Nice. Fucking freezing, though. Shit. I want some coffee. 

Instead of enjoying the romantic trumpets or actually becoming captivated in The Help, but rather the idea of reading The Help, and enjoying a cup of coffee in a small cafe instead of

visiting the Eiffel Tower just because that’s what tourists in Paris do, these individuals live lives passively, while actively thinking about what they’re doing in living. There is no in-the-moment, and therefore no benefitting from authentic experiences; superficial experiences are chosen instead. 

It’s more common than one might think, and just as contradictory and therefore ironic as one would figure. People execute actions passively, by not executing the action alone, but unconsciously, while consciously thinking about the execution of the action itself. The way in which one might listen to jazz, one reads books and another visits the Eiffel Tower. 

I’m listening to jazz. Hell yeah. 

I’m reading a book. 

This is the Eiffel Tower. Nice. 

Picture this: 

You make a reservation at a five-star restaurant (at least according to its front door … 4.8 stars according to its Yelp review. The deducted .2 stars was definitely a turn-off, but you’d put more time into consideration). There are two seats. Three counting the one behind the bar for the chef, but he’s more a servant than a third party. 

Course numero uno is composed of a single beet. I shit you not, a single beet.

You think back to an interview you read between the twelve-year-old chef and a fifth-year Business Insider staff writer when researching whether the 500-dollar per-person reservation was worth it. 

Q: Do you have a least favorite food? 

A: Most kids my age would say spinach, or broccoli or some other green vegetable, but green is my favorite color. For me: beets. Just hate them. Mom tried making them too many different ways, trying to get me to like them. Said she was so determined ’cause the color was pretty. She always said her favorite color was that of a Roman beet. She didn’t have to say it though- the only color she ever wore was beet juice color! Guess the whole “eat the color you like” thing runs in the family. Beets are too girly colored. 

Your recollection of the interview causes you to pause. Not only is this asshole twelve-year-old chef serving something he hates himself, but is also an unoriginal piece of shit. You dig in. 

Unsurprisingly, the second course is a beet puree folded into a finely sliced beet, garnished with, you guessed it, beet chiffonade. 

Third course: beet souffle. 

And so on; 

And so forth.

You ask the twelve-year-old chef who sits across from you eating macaroni and cheese he made for himself, why, just, just why. Your partner is distracted, snapping several photos for the ‘Gram. 

The twelve-year-old Michelin Star chef shrugs his narrow shoulders even more than they were sitting prior to your inquiry. 

“I dunno. You tell me.” 

Ahh, the classic, ambiguous response of an artist. 

Just then, he chokes on an elbow-shaped noodle and dies right there on the stylishly filthy, Mexican tile kitchen floor. **/ 

Now, you’re probably wondering, why in the hell did you just read about a twelve-year-old Michelin Star chef with shrugged, narrow shoulders making it big time by cooking his least favorite ingredient a gazillion different ways, only to fall dead on a stylishly filthy, Mexican tile kitchen floor in the upper east side of Brooklyn, who was regarded as a “god” by a hipster with a mustache in an obituary written by said hipster that printed on the front page of the New York Times within the next hour of said chef’s death as said meal took place at 3 a.m. EST because said time is the most “in” time of day, and I don’t blame you for wondering said wonders. 

I shall now cater to your wonders. Reading this, you may have been reading in the fashion of which I read as explained above; as one listens to jazz or another lives life, or another

eats beets in an obnoxiously expensive restaurant of a Michelin Star, twelve-year-old, now-dead chef. You may have been reading passively, actively. 

The same way that the twelve-year-old Michelin Star chef with shrugged, narrow shoulders (may he rest in peace) served beets in various different forms to two diners, hoping that through their eating they would find a reason and deeper meaning behind the infamous (or famous, depending on the eater) beet, I am writing this, hoping that through your reading you will find a reason and deeper meaning behind this short story of a now-dead, Michelin Star, twelve-year-old chef in the greater scheme of a commentary consisting of jibber jabber regarding living life as one might listen to jazz, or read, or visit the Eiffel Tower, or eat beets. 

I may be writing this just as a chef leaves the diners to answer his questions about his cooking and an author of a book hopes to have their questions to their own ambiguous writing answered by the reader, leaving the reader with more work. These questions will likely not be answered for the creators, though, because the person experiencing is oftentimes thinking about the experience rather than living in the moment, thinking: 

I’m listening to jazz. 

I’m reading. 

I’m visiting the Eiffel tower. 

I’m eating beets. 

What is this really all about, though?

I dunno. You tell me.