I have relationships with objects, you see. I do what I can on my end to keep us all copacetic, but the damn things keep getting weird on me.
For instance, I had a toaster that I really liked, and I had had this toaster for over five years, so we were pretty close. I made toast in it. I used it to light my morning cigarette. It was a real giver. And then, one day, it seemed to stay a little too hot for a little too long.
It could have just been me, because I had never carefully timed its heat retention before, but it just seemed kind of off. When it did it the next day, too, or at least seemed to do whatever it seemed to be doing, I felt a sick little twist in my stomach. My toaster was bad, and not good bad like bad boys in high school but bad bad like lumpy milk accidentally dumped on your last bowl of your favourite cereal.
I went without toast for some time after that, unsure if I was ready to handle having a different toaster in my kitchen. I really love toast, so this was a serious break-up, and I have been leary of strange toasters ever since.
You probably think I'm kidding about this. I'm not. This is serious business here.
I once lived in an apartment that I loved. It was the only place I've ever lived in that I cleaned with any regularity, so our bond went deep. The bedroom was at the back of the apartment. It was dark and small, and I slept better there than I had in years. One afternoon, though, I walked into it, and, like with the toaster, something seemed off. I tidied it up, I rearranged the furniture, and I burned incense, but whatever was off was staying that way. My gut gave up that sick little twist, and that was it. I moved my bed out into the living room and slept there for the next six months. I only entered that bedroom once more when I moved out to make sure that it was clean.
See? I'm not kidding. I can break up with a room.
I've also developed bad relationships with, among other things, pairs of shoes, a perfectly sweet pet hamster, a closet, a particular brand of chocolate syrup, a stuffed animal, a copy of Alice In Wonderland, a set of shelves, and, once, a fern, whose malevolent presence put me off my food until I put it outside for some kind stranger to salvage. I don't know what it is specifically about these items, but they just feel malevolent, spiritually toxic even. They spread no joy in Schmutzville.
Today, it's my Alphaghettis. The can refused to cut open properly, I could see oil separated from the red sauce, and I did not appreciate the sucking sound it made as it slid out of the can. They did not behave and feel like my beloved Alphaghettis of the past few decades. They feel malicious in some way sitting in that bowl. It's as though they are imbued with some kind of conscious ill intent.
I feel exactly like I did that one morning when I woke up next to a boyfriend who smelled like bong water. I was disturbed by his physical presence, like I was cuddling a giant cockroach, and I wondered if I would need any special medical testing after I walked out of his apartment for the last time. If the movie Eraserhead were an emotion, this mash-up of disgust and paranoia would be it.
So, goodbye Alphaghettis. It was nice knowing you before you turned on me, jerk.
PS. Immediately after I hit publish on this post, the Palinode called and asked "How are the peppers in the fridge doing?", to which I replied, "They're feeling pretty good about themselves right now."
Vegetable empathy. I have it.