1) See? I told you this blog wasn’t just about dogs. This post has nothing at all to do with dogs
2) I dedicate this one to my sister Ashley, who graciously put up with me panicking, chastising, and lamenting for 5 straight hours at Addison’s baptism celebration because there was just. too. much. food.
Leftovers make me sad. An abundance of food that will likely go to waste makes me anxious. Throwing away week-old stir-fry often moves me to tears. Ok, the last one is an exaggeration – but only slightly. It has only recently come to my attention how much inanimate objects, particularly food, make me uneasy or even upset. It’s a very difficult thing to explain if you’ve never felt it. But if you have experienced it, you may be thinking, “Yes! That’s how I feel, too! And I thought I was the only one.” IKEA captured it perfectly with their lamp commercial a few years ago:
Oh, that commercial makes me tear up. I’m not crazy – I know that lamps, rugs, and leftovers don’t have feelings. But it’s so easy to assume that they do, or to create them in your mind. Bear with me, I’m going to try to paint a picture: Imagine a yogurt. Just a regular, plain container of yogurt. That yogurt was manufactured and shipped to your grocery store and unloaded onto a shelf. Its entire purpose in life (ok, assuming it has a “life”) was to be consumed and enjoyed by someone. That’s why I find it so upsetting to throw away spoiled yogurt – it’s like discarding a wasted life without meaning. Is this mentality a stretch? Perhaps. But still I can’t shake the feeling that food has a distinct purpose and should always reach its intended destination.
This also works the other way – I get a deep sense of satisfaction from chopping up that last green pepper for my salad just before it spoils or perfectly timing meals around the almond milk expiration date. And anyone who drinks almond milk knows that it gives me about 3 months – which is part of the reason I prefer it to cow milk. Quick expiration dates are highly stressful.
I know at least one other person who feels exactly the same way I do, and this comforts me into believing I’m not insane. Plus, IKEA clearly made that commercial for a reason, even if that reason was to sell more lamps. I think this post makes it obvious why we absolutely had to adopt that dog (dammit – I knew the dog would sneak his way in!) I feel deeply sympathetic for unloved food, so when you start to tell me about actual LIVING things being mistreated, my compassion meter goes off the charts. My hierarchy of empathy goes something like this: household objects –> food –> plants –> animals –> people (especially babies).
So the moral of this story is that if you plan to get a new lamp, please do me a favor and have a yard sale, or at least donate it to Goodwill. They may end up throwing it away, but then the responsibility is on them. And then I won’t know about it.