They say that oranges are not the only fruit, and I’ve got to say thank heavens for that. I did not enjoy my orange encounter. In fact, after this, that apple I tried seems positively delicious. I drew a line under the orange about an hour ago. Thinking about it still makes me nauseous. Let me tell you about it.
Remember my orange? Here she is:
So far, so innocuous. Now, I wasn’t sure how to approach the eating of this thing. I seem to remember at netball matches they used to hand out sort of slices to you at half-time. I always declined. And I also seem to remember people at school peeling the things and eating the segments. I decided to go for the latter. I’m perfectly au fait with orange juice (no bits), so sucking the juice out and throwing the rest away seemed like it would be a cop-out. Normal people can chomp their way through one of these babies, so that’s what I want to aim for.
It took me about 20 minutes to peel the thing. This is not an easy job, in fact it’s fairly painstaking, because I didn’t want to accidentally hurt any of the segments. Plus the stuff inside the actual orange-peel part, that is a devil to get off. On top of this, it is also vaguely a messy job. Still, the smell is pleasant, and you feel quite authentic, like a real fruit-eater, while doing this part. I got there in the end:
The next job was also quite tricky. Whatever happened to “tap and unwrap”? It’s not like a chocolate orange at all! I really really didn’t want to break or burst any of the segments, but every time I tried to separate them, it threatened to happen. What I learned is that you just have to be bold. Eventually, I managed it.
Next, I chose one segment at random, peeled him off, and cut myself a little piece.
Because the segments are kind of sealed, and because orange juice is not a stranger to me, there was not much problem with putting this in my mouth. I also used what I learned from the apple, keeping it just at the front of my mouth. I still wanted to immediately spit it out, however. The thing that makes me gag on this seems to be different from when it happens with apple. It wasn’t the flavour, or the surface texture, more the structural tension of the thing.
In the trying of these things, when one stage is easy and fine, I feel I’ve got to take it to the next step. A piece of orange which is sealed on all sides bar one was relatively easy to just have in my mouth. So then I tried moving it around and exploring the feel of it. Not pleasant, and had to fight the gag reflex, but bearable. I did this with a few pieces, starting again each time the reflex overpowered me.
And then I went beyond the pale. The next piece, I tried biting into it while it was in my mouth. Ew, that was nasty. Like an upsetting organic explosion. It feels like you’re hurting someone. I had to fight to not throw up. I was so right about the structural tension. The resistance, and then the bursting of each membrane is just upsetting, and so detailed as you do it. I tried it a few times, to the eye-watering point of near-vomiting. The orange-juiciness aspect of doing this is actually perfectly pleasant, and I can suck the juice out. But then what you’re left with is like a fruit corpse, and an ugly mutilated one at that. That is the part that I cannot stomach. I was so near to throwing up, I knew I was on a knife-edge there, so I didn’t even bother trying to chew or swallow it.
Maybe next time. I feel sick.
UPDATE: I wasn’t very happy about being defeated by an orange. So I just went back to it with a drink of water. Determination is a wonderful thing. I decided if I pretend it’s an aspirin, and don’t chew it, but just swig it back with some water, I’d be able to swallow at least a tiny bit. I know it’s cheating, and I had to concentrate very hard, and it took me 3 attempts, but I’m pleased to report that I managed it in the end. I think it’s important in terms of preparing for the next time, to get as much orange-experience under my belt as I possibly can. Perhaps I’m optimistic, but I envisage it getting easier with experience.