Monday, April 4, 2011


I'm trying to imagine the life of this can of pumpkin while I twist the handle on the can opener. I watch the words “Best by: Apr 2005” spin counterclockwise on the lid to the can opener's munching. I'm not sure I can even guess when this pumpkin must have been canned to have passed its best-by date six years ago. I picture the pumpkin as a waxy young gourd, growing up in an era where canning is kind of a new thing to the world of food - off-white and eggshell are the in-vogue kitchen colors. I try to imagine the shock and confusion, the soft hiss of decompression, the light beginning to spill in, Beck playing Hot Wax very loudly in the background to welcome it back to the world. How different the bright blues and pastel red, gold, and greens of my kitchen must look to the pumpkin. I do not envy it. Soon it’ll be muffins, so it goes.

The muffins turn out dry, stillborn from the oven. I have a bowl of Cheerios while I wait for them to cool and then wrap them in cheery green cellophane without removing them from the muffin tin. It’s 7 pm and I wonder what the mailbox is up to. I emerge from my house with about the same viscosity as the pumpkin from the can, punctuating each of my actions with wider, more dramatic swinging motions than necessary. Giving the mundane activities in my day this kind of energy lends them an element of grandiosity that they otherwise might lack.