The dog is freaking out. I watch him wiggle and writhe in excitement for his walk, and wonder if there’s a way to bottle whatever chemical imbalance he has inside. A physiological chain-reaction strong enough to instantly jolt a dog—one that’s seemingly depressed and downtrodden—with the matte-finished furry of a meth addict; I’d be rich! But alas, I only got a B+ in advanced chem so I have no idea where to start and move on.
Eddie, racing like he always does, nudged me towards the door when I suddenly hear a faint prepubescent whisper coming from behind the fridge.
“Don’t leave me….” I hear. The right side of my brain wonders, when a little girl got trapped in the kitchen?
“Oh yeah! We need to take out the compost!” The left side of my brain replies. [Yup! This is how my mind works]
Having just showered; a laborious OCD routine of mine that leaves me feeling hermetically fresh and chemically peeled, I wanted nothing to do with the collective yuck that is a seasoned compost bin.
But I have to do something.At the end of the day when Jonathan comes home and asks what I did today, “I walked the dog and took a shower” isn’t going to cut it. Even with an irresistible smile. Taking out the compost though, that’s a different story. That will buy me some shred of credit when it comes to justifying my existence. So that’s what I did.
Now, we’ve been composting of nearly seven years, so you’d be correct in assuming I’ve developed a routine when approaching my—or any—compost bin. Some people jump right in, with a balls-to–the-wall mentality and a single deep breath; but that doesn’t always work, in fact, in my experience it rarely does. And if I’m being honest, I’m scared I’ll hold my breath just long enough that I get lightheaded and faint on the way to the garage. Can you imagine?
“So tell me how you broke your neck,” the neurosurgeon asks.
“I fell down the stairs because I was trying not to take a breath and smell the compost bin.”
So in order to mentally prepare myself for the horror that is a ‘mulchy compost,’ I removed the lid slowly and with hesitation.
This time, fortunately, there was barely anything in there. Which is great, because I know that means it’s probably not leaking from the bottom and there’s a low risk of it ripping while in pursuit of the mothership in the garage. But on the flipside, it’s a waste of a bio bag, it seems minimally impactful, and quite frankly an inefficient use of a “trip to the garage.”
Then I remembered the Tupperware in the fridge. Each one filled with leftovers from weeknight dinners and parties past; and each, like Bridget Fonda’s acting career—past the point of no return*.
Both Jonathan and I had opened the fridge more than a thousand times each in the past two weeks, and yet there the food stayed. The two of us, grown men, were acting as if the Tupperware was this terrifying thing, and both of us secretly wished the other would develop the guts to take care of it.
I’ll be honest; at first it made sense to leave them in there. It made our fridge look “used” when it had been so bare having just been delivered a few weeks prior. The new fridge is amazing and it forced us to purge all the half empty jars of molded chutneys, Asian sauces we used once, and small to-go containers that build up like barnacle along the back and sides of the icebox over time. But then we had nothing to put in the new one, which was definitely depressing at first. Until there were Tupperwares with leftovers, sort of filling in the gaps; not that I really cared if there were gaps in the first place….though, I guess on some level I must have cared, because I used that as a justification to leave the Tupperware in there in the first place. [mental note: see a shrink]
Over time there were fewer and fewer clean sets of Tupperware in the cabinet for Jonathan and I to use. One would think this would be the straw that broke the camel’s back, and that someone would throw out the leftovers and wash the containers at that point, but that’s not what happened. Instead we continued to open and close the fridge day in and day out. The difference being that now, we’d added some commentary to the mix. Just loud enough for the other to hear, each of us said something about how “someone was going to have to clean out the fridge soon.” And then we’d continue on with whatever we were doing.
This is what I call the “guilt phase.” When two gay Jews, masters in the art of guilt-tripping, start to use passive aggressive tactics to get what they want. Not because they’re scared of being abrasive, direct and blunt. Do you know any Jews? But because they’re lazy, and hope guilt will be the path of least resistance. The alternative being a typical Jewish conversation that can be abrupt and sometimes turns into a lashing out shout-fest that only ends when someone’s crying (usually me), because someone else (also usually me) said something below the belt that can never be stricken from the record. Do you know any Scorpios?
But by now I’ve already psyched myself up for the compost trip and the dog is now more impatient than before, so I better just do this.
I grabbed the majority of the most egregious containers and with a squinted nose and snapped-shut mouth, I emptied them into the bio bag. Imagine having to handle Ebola contaminated pitre dishes with your bare hands…exactly!
I Just scored major guilt-tripping points, I say to myself. The damp rotten leftovers—everything I loathe most in this world—between my fingers with only the thinnest of biodegradable materials for protection.
Feeling like I’ve done my share of the heavy lifting, I leave the containers in the sink. I did think about putting them in the dishwasher, but I knew they needed a pre-wash with that kind of buildup and figured Jonathan could do that part later.
I made it downstairs without running into a neighbor, which would have been a pain in the ass to navigate with the compost teetering delicately between my thumb and forefinger and Eddie pulling with the full force of his 85 lbs “canine-coked” energy.
And with the dog’s leash in hand I merged into Saturday afternoon traffic on the sidewalk outside. The palm fronds dotting the perimeter of our building danced in the breeze. I wiped the sludge on my hands off on the dog’s back and we crossed the street. I threw a smile and nod towards the hipsters smoking on their front stoop as if they new what just transpired and secretly applauded my efforts with sympathy.
And the war of “who’s going to take care of the dirty Tupperware in the sink” has officially begun.
*I happen to love Bridget Fonda ever since seeing her in Luc Besson and John Badham’s Point of No Return.
You know what doesn’t need Tupperware, the doughnuts from Doughnut Dolly. These East Bay treats are so good you won’t be able to resist temptation and have just one. They’re fluffy, decadently filled, yeasty and sweet—but not disgustingly sweet.
We recently stopped in at the Temescal Alley location on our way to brunch with friends. Not for a pre-brunch snack, but for the perfect post-brunch gift that we could all enjoy!
The Oakland location, at the end of a short cobblestone alley, is quant, and off the beaten path. When it’s your turn to order, owner Hannah Hoffman will hand-fill your fresh baked doughnuts with whatever artisanal fillings they have that day, like naughty cream (a twist on vanilla), raspberry jam, and chocolate hazelnut. And while we waited, I remembered my childhood.
For me, that was being transported back to Sunday mornings with my father buying that iconic pink box of assorted doughnuts after his basketball game with his middle-aged and balding friends. My dad always got a few boston cream filled for himself, but then I got to pick the rest. Nose pressed against the glass, I selected a few doughnut holes and a giant apple fritter or bear claw. A few old-fashioned glazed are a must, and whatever space was left, was meant for jelly filled yumminess!
Fortunately, Doughnut Dolly curates the fillings down to a solid few staples of delicious flavors so you won’t have to twiddle your thumbs with indecision. And of course, I had one (a few) of each. And now, as an adult, the doughnut experience is coupled with delicious coffee from local Bay Area roasters. The perfect treat!