Two roads diverged in my pantry. . .

Sometimes when I get “stuck” writing, I tackle some other task while things are percolating in my head. So yesterday I cleaned out the kitchen pantry. Sort of.

I could not believe the stuff that was in there. You know how when you buy a can of soup, for instance, and the expiration date is approximately twenty years in the future? Ok fine, at least four years, right? Well, when you find cans of soup in the pantry that expired three years ago, there is a problem.

Oh, I know what the problem is. Hurricanes. Big swirly storms that come in off the ocean? Those. My first experience with hurricanes was named Andrew. We’d been living in south Florida for an entire year and in all that time no one had really mentioned hurricanes. Guess it was a quiet year. So when Andrew roared ashore, I was not ready. Not in any way whatsoever. My supplies of food and water and mental fortitude were all pitifully low. We were lucky and Andrew carved a path of destruction well to the south of us. But it also made a big impression on me.

I became obsessed with hurricane preparedness. You don’t believe me? I have a recipe for water. In case the water supply is contaminated by flooding. I think it involves boiling and bleach. I’ve never used it, but I feel better knowing it’s there.

Just like all those canned goods. They represent security. I can’t seem to help it — I buy more security every spring. Never mind that no one in my family even eats half this stuff. Apricots in heavy syrup? I hate apricots. Canned lima beans? What was I thinking? But I know they’re there. Just in case.

Never mind that we no longer live in south Florida. The first year we were here — two hours inland, mind you, in the middle of North Carolina — there was a little thing called Fran. And then there was Floyd. Believe me, I could live in the Black Hills of South Dakota and I would By God Be Prepared for a hurricane.

I found an unopened box of club crackers that had a price tag sticker from a store named Big Star. The last time I shopped at Big Star was when we lived in Atlanta. Sixteen years ago.

Ok, so maybe hurricanes don’t explain all the stuff I found in my pantry. The other problem is that insistent voice in my head that says, “Ooh look, something shiny.” Yeah, halfway through sorting and throwing, I figured out how to solve that little plot glitch.

To paraphrase Frost: knowing how word leads on to word, I doubted if I should ever come back.

I’m pretty sure those lima beans are still sitting on the counter. Right next to the jar of artichoke hearts from 1998.


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5 responses to “Two roads diverged in my pantry. . .

  1. orangehands

    well, i know crazy(ily prepared) people, so the food thing doesn’t make an impression, but a recipe for water? WTF?

    also, i have a great image of you with water up to your knees, holding cans of food in one arm and the Wonder Dog in the other (him eating kleenex), going “where the hell did i put the recipe for water?”

    *snort* thanks for that. and glad it gave you a spark (now just toss those nice cans- unless they aren’t expired, then donate them- into the trash. there ya go. now go buy food people will eat and like in case of emergency)


  2. Mary

    Water? Simple recipe. Two parts Hydrogen, one part Oxygen. What’s the prob?

    Having a well-stocked pantry is like having an emergency fund stashed away. Security indeed, as much as there can be in an insecure world.

    I’ve heard that cleaning your garage can also help with working out plot problems. Any time you have problems with your story, please please feel free to drop in.

    twhqaf – typical of the “use by” codes that you see on the side of the can. why are they putting coded information on the side of a can? Is Campbell’s Soup part of some kind of international spy ring?

    qsrykik – the kind of kick you give when you’re in the middle of playing twister and your back suddenly goes out


  3. Lou

    BCB – you crack me up.

    Book done yet?


  4. Jennifer Talty

    you can come up here and stock my pantry. Everyne always complains there is nothing to eat. We can procastinate together.


  5. WapakGram

    IF you clean out your pantry, you will have to go back to the grocery store and you know how well that turned out the last time!:-)