Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Scientific Banana-Philosophy Research

I have recently noticed that people’s basic philosophy of life can be understood by observing the bananas they choose to put in their carts at the grocery store. No, I haven’t “gone bananas,” thank you very much. Jeez, stop punning around and read carefully. This is an important and serious topic. The results of my (unofficial) research indicate that there is a direct correlation between the color of the bananas people choose to buy and their perspectives on life.

People who buy bunches of very green bananas are highly optimistic. They believe that they won’t be dying any time soon; stepping out in front of a bus on the way home from the store is not going to happen to these people. They are confident they will be around to watch those bananas ripen and to eat those golden yellow bananas in a leisurely, relaxed manner. Life is long, man; ripe bananas are worth waiting for.

Then there are the people who buy bunches of bright yellow bananas. They have a carpe diem philosophy. They’re all about not bothering to wait for green bananas to ripen when they can buy them ripe and eat them right away. Life is short, man; don’t deny yourself the joy of eating a perfectly ripe banana today.

Finally, there are the people who buy bananas that are yellow with a couple of brown spots already mottling their skins. These people are highly pessimistic. For heaven’s sake, within hours, those bananas will be rotten! These people must actually doubt that they will make it home from the store at all. Life is fleeting, man; eat your bananas now!

So what does your banana purchase say about you? You just may be surprised by the answer!

Photo courtesy of Sharon Mollerus via Creative Commons: Flickr

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I am NOT a Hoarder!

For quite some time now, Chris has been waging a war on “stuff.” He is a minimalist, and the rule at our house is that when we buy something new, we have to throw away or donate two of something old. No problem when it comes to clothing or shoes. Old clothing and shoes wear out or no longer fit, so getting rid of these items is an easy decision. For me, that’s pretty much the sum total of what I find easy to dispose of.

I’m not a hoarder – famous last words – in the sense that my mummified body will eventually be found crushed under boxes of old newspapers and empty cartons of kitty litter and Chinese take-out. I don’t like clutter in my living space. I don’t like to dust knick knacks, whats-its, doo-dads, or chachkies. I do have a small collection of porcelain figures that my mom and I brought back from China and I love them, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they broke or I had to sell them. I have photos of them, and even looking at the photo makes me smile and remember my trips to China.

However, not being a hoarder in the true sense of the term does not mean that I am a minimalist. Open my closets at your own risk. And whatever you do, “…don’t look in the basement.” There’s a reason that was the tag line for the 1973 horror movie The Forgotten. To repurpose another cliché, “Who knows what evil lurks…?” Okay, so maybe I’m employing a wee bit of hyperbole. I must mention, however, that the lights in the basement work on a random basis and that it’s really dark when the lights won’t come on, which adds to the horror motif. You can rest assured that the intermittent lighting isn’t caused by a ghost, though, because Chris doesn’t want me to bring home any more pets.

Now that I don’t teach middle school, there is an entire classroom in the spacious finished basement, minus chairs and desks. Need clipboards for 30 students? I have them. Looking for a Venn diagram template with three or even four circles? I have it. Need a wooden snake you can use as a hands-on tool when you teach “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi?” You can borrow (keep) mine. I have boxes of grammar worksheets, literary analysis graphic organizers, and maps of Asia. I have boxes of lesson plans you could use to teach 7th graders or adapt to teach anyone. Oh, and let’s not forget the boxes of posters and class sets of novels. I could go back into the 7th grade classroom tomorrow, and not even have to buy a stapler or paper clips.

The classroom in the basement is directly adjacent to the “apartment.” Packed so tightly no one can actually walk across the room, there is a bed, dresser, desk, sofa, coffee tables, and armchairs to completely furnish an apartment. There are also dishes, glasses, pots and pans, Tupperware, silverware, and decorative cookie cutters in large, unmarked boxes.

It doesn’t matter that I no longer teach middle school, and that my son (who owns the furnishings) shows no signs of wanting to move out; I am hesitant to get rid of this “stuff.” Why? It’ll be useful someday. Right? Won’t it? I won’t want to have to buy new supplies if I go back into teaching, and I may need those furnishings when my sons put me in a senior home in the future. I just can’t seem to get past the idea that I may actually NEED this stuff in order to minimalize it. Now wait: that’s the definition of hoarding, isn’t it? Well, darn.

Link to photo: