Sunday, November 18, 2012


This morning I bought four bottles of light corn syrup. Four. I usually purchase things in odd numbers but today was an even day at the grocery store because I also counted out ten apples: four gala and six golden. I was okay with those even numbers because they add up to ten, which, while even, is a nice number. Tell me I am not alone in favoring certain numbers, or loving the odds over the evens. But the corn syrup. I almost added another bottle to make it a nice five but decided it would all be okay since one of the bottles is for a friend who talked about looking for corn syrup and not finding it and the other three are for me.

I just drink the stuff.

No. I don't. I use it to make caramel corn. And, well, that's about it. And now I have enough corn syrup to make enough caramel corn to eat my way into the twenty-twenties. Yea ambition!

But while I stood in the aisle looking at what might be the only stock of light corn syrup in Kuwait, I realized I am not so far removed from the people who devote an entire room in their house to their Costco purchases. Instead of forty-five gazillion rolls of toilet paper or thirty pounds of granola bars, I'm packing my shelves with light corn syrup. Oh, and: brown sugar, chocolate chips and baking bars, fruit leather, whole rolled oats, vanilla beans, and Forest Feast dried fruit. I also have a dwindling Trader Joe's stash of sesame cashews. And each summer home I stock up on toiletries: sticks of antiperspirant, tubs of Cetaphil, and enough lady stuff that the cashier must wonder if I am joining a Northwoods militia. Nope. I pack it for Kuwait because products here are hit and miss. A lot of miss, actually.

Which is why I checked the expiration date on the light corn syrup and thought, hey, if I'm here in 2015, chances are I'll still want to make a bowl of caramel corn.

Later, though, I thought about times when I've said no to the buy-for-the-apocalypse impulse. I didn't die. I missed some good chocolate. But I didn't die. I ate the other good chocolate. That steps too close to being flippant, but what I want to say about hoarding is: I do it. And I say that it's okay because I bake a lot or share the vanilla beans or have a bag of chocolate chips if you're making cookies. Maybe it is okay.

But I also live in a country where in line at the grocery store is a young man buying flatbread for his lunch, thinking about a soda too before putting it back in the case.

So here is what I am reading and thinking about:
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Matthew 6:25 
I wonder what my grocery shopping would look like if I carried that verse around the store with me. I would have walked out with two bottles of corn syrup, one for my friend and one for me. And wouldn't that be plenty?


Steve said...

You brought in none of my suggestions, but you told us of the things that were going through your mind.

I thought this was interesting. Maybe you are like who cares about this stuff? Life maybe is just about the little things we think of.

I don't have any great comment, but I loved this update. :)

I'd say you are back on track to finish the month too. :)

Anonymous said...

THIRTEEN boxes of chex cereal.
I was going to do a Twelve-Days-of-Christmas-type countdown from there... but that would just be embarrassing. We could move out of the pantry to the bookshelves, the fabric stash, college-ruled spirals, bic clic stic pens (blue, medium), and Christmas dvds... but we won't. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night feeling that I'm suffocating in stuff, but I can (and do) share. (Well, I am a little territorial about my pens.) And then I remember the six other people who live here, and the ones who don't but whose stuff I keep, and that I won't have to grocery shop until next year (except to get the light corn syrup I forgot)...