Friday, November 17, 2006

Countertop metaphor

Boy, I have to clean off this kitchen island. This was not one of my best design ideas when building this house two years ago, adding a large kitchen island topped with stainless steel.

In spite of its weak magnetic attraction, that stainless steel top is a magnet unlike anything I've ever seen or used before.

On the top of the island are three large stock pots that need to head to the basement, used last week when making big batches of soup for election volunteers.

There's a small 40Gb USB storage device. A notebook filled with clipped out recipes, opened to the annual Thanksgiving Day planner. A calender on top of it, covered with chicken-scratched plans to shop or cook this or that within the week. A cookbook opened to pain l'ancienne. A whiteboard covered in blue ink with notes scrawled about cellular mitosis, osmosis, cytokinesis, diffusion.

A large pile of mail awaiting the shredder, a much smaller pile awaiting filing, a single letter from a Senator. Coupons for the hardware store and two small bags of hardware from the same store. A purple Crayola brand marker and an empty juice glass.

Fingerprints, cinnamon-sugar, a stray pretzel from someone's snack packing, a single drop of milk.

It's a metaphor for our life, everything we are in a single debris field. An archaelogist could make out our entire day and week from this aggregation.

And it wasn't there a couple of days ago.

I'll clean off this island again, removing the detritus and cleaning the top until it shines like a mirror...and it's like this all over again inside the week, things with weak or indeterminate attraction gradually accumulating on this massive magnet in my kitchen.

A Sisyphusian task awaits me once again; I could wait to look into the depths of the steel for my reflection, but I already see it now without moving a thing.

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