Monday, April 20, 2009

Soaked Beans and Broken Glass

There's some part of me that wants to post eight posts a day in the next three days so that our 1,000th post falls on our 3rd anniversary, but it looks to be a bit too far out of reach to get to. Besides, who wants such artificiality when our mildly interesting earnestness has been doing so well all this time. At any rate, it is pretty cool to be coming up on such prestigious markers. 970 posts in 1100 days? Not too shabby.

At any rate, I return today with one of the usual stimuli that push me towards blogging in the first place: another instance where my generally non-superstitious self is pushed towards superstition. With my ever-encroaching unemployment, I've been working on ratcheting down my already minimal budget, to spend as little money as possible. Having already phased out beer-in-non-social-settings, diet soda, pizza-in-non-social-settings, frozen vegetarian novelty foods (the portion of my spending, since turning 21 which can be attributed to beer and pizza alone is rather astounding (though it does consolidate the answers to the questions "Why are you fat, Pete?" and "Why don't you have more money, Pete?")), I realized that the next obvious thing was to switch from canned beans to dry beans. I'm rather embarrassed to admit that all these 5.5 years of vegetarianism I've been eating canned beans rather than cook them myself, but I blame working for Trader Joe's for nearly 3 of those years on addicting me to the convenience of canned beans over having to, like, wash pots and plan ahead (soak beans overnight). But I've now slashed my bean-budget by about 50%. (Also, in a rather dramatic move, I'm considering switching back to plain old not organic brown rice from my ever-beloved brown basmati rice (saving about $3 a bag of rice (and when you eat the pounds and pounds of rice that I do on a monthly basis, that starts to add up).)

With the switch to cooking dry beans, though, has come a dramatic increase in my using my large stainless steel pot (I quit spaghetti back in the fall, so hadn't been using it much (though budgetary considerations are leading me towards un-quitting spaghetti, since eating it plain (which I can manage) only costs like 60 cents a meal)), and using it with its lid. A couple of days ago, it suddenly occurred to me that by using my pot-and-lid so much more often, I was in serious danger of breaking the lid (its glass). This isn't superstitious yet; my tendency to dramatically increase the entropy of all objects that are close to me is well documented. Just by using the lid at all I was dangerously close, so far as I could tell, to breaking it. This became a big concern since I don't know where to go to buy lids these days, and buying a new pot, in order to get its lid, would totally bust all the savings from buying dry beans in the first place. So I was worried.

Then, two days ago, as I was watching a movie (Claire's Knee) in my sitting room, the lid to my pot, in the dishrack in my kitchen, spontaneously shattered. Fuck. So, somehow, I figure, my thinking of the fact that I was going to break the lid caused the lid to break. It seems pretty well documented at this point, by various cognitive psychologists, that people "naturally" attribute unexplainable things to higher powers, if not of the capitalist-monotheistic type, then to some sense of superstition. For someone as rigorously agnostic as myself, then, the temptation is to attribute to myself some kind of extrasensory perception of there being something already wrong with my lid, before it broke, that caused me to worry about its future breaking. Maybe there was a hairline crack in it already, which I only perceived unconsciously, that made me worry about it, and then reached critical mass when I let my large Cape Cod ceramic mug rest to heavily against it (my large Cape Cod ceramic mug--a birthday present to me from my parents on Cape Cod back in 2004--has been responsible for several other dish-demolitions, most notably a French press (the shattering of French presses doesn't really phase me any more, given then number of them I've gone through since switching away from drip-filter coffee in my home-life; the average life span of my coffee presses is about 8 months) and a NERAX (New England Real Ale Exchange) imperial pint glass (in two separate incidences)) in the dish drain.

The question, at least to me, then, is whether or not its reasonable (that is, not superstitious) to try and attribute my worry about the soon-to-break lid to a precondition for its shattering, rather than consider my worry about the just-fine lid as the cause, via self-fulfilling prophecy, of its shattering, or if the more distant, longer view of the incidence, that recognizes that I break everything eventually, is the most accurate.


Blogger nate said...

I know what you mean about superstition. My canonical example of this is a morning last year when Kyle dropped her car keys into a barely visible gap between the back seat and rear window class, which created the impression at 6:30 AM that her keys had abruptly vanished from the material world. (I blogged it in passing at the time.) She spotted them later in the day (it was possible to kind of see them from the outside of the car with the trunk lid down) but my first fully articulated hypothesis was that gnomes did it.

As far as buying pot lids, try Goodwill or another thrift store that sells kitchenware; it's always a crapshoot but it's definitely worth a look. If you strike out there, you can buy pot lids of the one-size-fits-various-pots variety at Bed/Bath/Beyond-type stores for less than a new pot and lid would cost. I can't remember the price difference between canned and dried beans, so I don't know what the ROI on a new pot lid would be, but I figure you'd make it up by the end of the year if not the summer if you eat beans a lot.

4/21/2009 10:59 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Or you can patch it with duct tape and plastic sheeting like it's the back window in your car.

(I know you don't actually have a car, but I'm pretty sure if you had one it'd be the kind with duct tape and plastic sheeting over the back window.)

4/21/2009 11:52 AM  

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