Every little ember

As I washed out the zip-loc baggie that held the barely-used sponge I pulled from the trash at Schurig Center for Brain Injury Recovery, where I take Charlie twice a week to learn to read, I smiled.
Bag rewashing behavior must seem pretty obsessive to a visitor. I thought back to the first time I’d seen a baggie hanging above someone’s kitchen sink. It was at my friend Lynne Gurnee’s house. She is an artist, biker, and general great human.
I’d decided to overcome my loathing for driving at least for one weekend, and head north toward Eureka (six hours by car).  I so missed her company down here in the Gray Area.  She is the kind of person that writes real letters on real paper (or torn out sheets from New York Times fashion magazine).  For wakefulness insurance (my problem with driving is remaining alert, and not becoming a yellow-line zombie within forty five minutes of turning the key)I brought my sick rat, “Gnogden Gnash” with me, wrapped in a flannel cloth and tucked into my blouse. This way, each time he shifted position in his ‘sleeping bag’, I’d feel it on my stomach and be a better non-drowsy driver, thinking about how little time rat people have to love their pet, before they expire.
Very short shelf-life. Three years, max, unless you have a miracle rat.I’ve heard of five year rodents, but never met one.
ANYWAY, the baggie, dripping over her sink, held at one corner by a clothespin, caught my eye.
When I asked about it she told me she puts a drop of liquid soap in, with some water, squishes it about with the bag firmly cinched, and then rinses, hangs, and re-uses.
Not one to shirk from a (nunspoken) challenge, I carried this new eco-behavior home, where it is put into practice as a routine.
I never buy these bags. I just use them till the heat-seal on the perimeter gives out.
Like any good (ex)Catholic, I take my original sin quite seriously, and I’d like to think that throwing away a perfectly cleanable baggie is a pretty original way of disturbing the heavenly peace.

I realize one must pick one’s battles.
Since I’m despairing of the political situation, I burrow into weird micro-moves
that dispel my sense of powerlessness.


As far as I know, no one has adopted bag re-washing after visiting Offhand Manor, let alone rifling through trash to find barely-used kitchen sponges.
I remain hopeful that we can clean house in a political sense, by having all those women in the House of Representatives, none of them old bags.
I am your always hopeful, even while despairing correspondent
Alice B.

Stop the press! no, wait, rev it up again! No, wait, it’s not a mechanical Chandler & Price letterpress, it’s Wurdpress! ANYWHEY, I struck gold in the tip (that’s Brit for dumpster) today en route home from my 日本語のクラス at College of Marin. It was a heavy cardboard box amid a pile of soon-to-be-composted potted garden plants (they hurl EVERYTHING away here in the Shire of Consumption)…44 lbs to be precise-ish. I didn’t need to look hard at the label. It was a block of cheese. Once I’d ascertained it wasn’t American cheese food (which is not technically cheese but you know that) I wrestled it onto my bike (careful not to let the front wheel fly up as I plopped it on the rear rack (no! no! not the rack!  Wait!  The rack, the rack!!) and care.f.u.l.l.y steered home. Up the hill at Fforest Ave, i noticed a distinct wobble as I tried to make a straight line (by now it was dark and dreich) when a car came past.  Got home, put away bike, and proudly hefted this thing ( didn’t pick it up correctly, Grant Petersen, I bent straight over and destroyed my lumbar vertebrae except I didn’t) into my arms and into the door and onto the table and..it was….an impressive find. AGED ENGLISH CHEDDAR!!  Judging from the web, it was worth about $900 (if sold by a reputable dealer) . In my case it’s going to be given out (and I hope to hell consumed!)  The box that the cheese block came in had a date on it, something like ‘sell by May 2018’…well, since the company proudly shares the fact that their VINTAGE West Country Farmhouse Cheddar is aged 24 months, I can trumpet (should I even USE that word? those first five letters…ugh) that mine is aged 36 months!! EVEN BETTER.
There, now I’ve told you.

Think of the plastic I’m trying not to buy, and the cheese I’ve saved from certain death. Can I have my halo now?


~ by jacquiephelan on February 27, 2019.

2 Responses to “Every little ember”

  1. Congratulations on a once in a lifetime find! Happy to see you posting again.

  2. A halo earned is a halo that can’t be denied. The bag gods are satisfied, they usually pay in aged cheddar cheese.

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