February 10, 2012 in Features

The Slice: For those times you’re only in the way

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Had lunch the other day with a couple of former co-workers who recently retired.

Meant to ask them an important question, but forgot.

Were they managing to avoid the forlorn fate of some retirees? You know, standing around and getting in the way in the kitchen – sometimes referred to as being underfoot.

Of course, that scenario sort of presupposes that kitchen congestion is always a bad thing. And I, for one, do not believe that it is.

If you asked me, sharing space between the fridge and the stove can be a happy thing.

OK, everybody knows that’s true at parties and in certain convivial holiday contexts. But I wouldn’t stop there.

Being in the kitchen with a family member (sometimes that’s a pet) or friend is a bit like low-key square dancing.

Sure, it doesn’t really work if one of you just stands there and blocks access to the sink or cupboards. But if people get a flow going and the conversation is engaging, it can be cozy and companionable to rub shoulders during preparation of a meal or snack.

Yes, there are many variables. Kitchen size makes a difference. So does the mood of the moment.

Maybe it’s usually easier to just reach for a bowl or a bag of flour yourself. But sometimes it’s nice to ask someone to hand it to you.

Slice answer: “Only once have I compared myself to Job – when I came down with a case of chicken pox that was of biblical proportions at the age of 29,” wrote Genny McKinley. “Twenty- freaking-nine! I was sick for weeks.”

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being breathtakingly provincial and 10 being ultra- worldly): How cosmopolitan is Spokane? How about North Idaho?

Slice answer: The key to helping a family member successfully weed possessions? “I just keep repeating the mantra ‘This is stuff, not the person,’ ” said Pam Stark.

Today’s Slice question: Based on some of the things that still arrive in your mailbox, what assumptions have you made about the previous resident at your address?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Lan Hellie refers to his kitchen floor having “stab wounds” where he has dropped knives.


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