On One Hand

September 16, 2004

Spoons, Frigid Temperatures and Surprise Visits

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 10:08 pm

Last night working in the dining halls I lost a large plastic stirring spoon in the garbage disposal. The trough we scrape the plates and bowls off into is about 25 feet long, one and a half feet wide, has a constant stream of running water flowing from each side toward the drain in the center, and is fitted with a large running disposal beneath the drain. I dumped in a large bucket of leftover chopped lettuce that came through the conveyor belt, and there must’ve been a spoon hidden in the lettuce. Suddenly there was a loud pop and then a steady, cacophonous grinding noise as the handle end of a large gray plastic serving spoon popped up and down above the rim of the garbage disposal. “Cuidado, cuidado! Apagalo!” shouted the Hispanic workers as they rushed to turn off the machine, laughing. They pulled out the plastic spoon in about 17 pieces, followed by a second metal spoon twisted in a pretzel shape. I straightened the metal spoon out with my hands and put it on the conveyor belt heading for the dishwasher. Later in the evening a note came in on one of the trays from the eating area that said “Dear Dish Staff: At the end of the long tunnel is a large monkey’s head. See you tomorrow night.

For my Geology lab the group went to the federal Ice Core Center in Lakewood. The bus took us to the building where all the drilled cores of ice from Greenland and Antarctica are stored by the National Science Foundation and the United States Geological Survey. The cores contain long, narrow cylinders of ice formed from annual layers of snow fusing together over the centuries. They can date back to anywhere from a quarter of a million to one million years, and it is through them that we know about climate change and all the old ice ages. At the federal center it is necessary to check every visitor’s ID as he or she enters, which entails a guard gathering all of our the driver’s licenses that we had handed to a teacher, flipping through them and saying “yep, there they are!” without even counting, and handing them back. Our instructor told us that on one occasion a few moths back, the guards discovered that one of her students had a warrant out for his arrest, and they cuffed him on the spot. Evidently they don’t take those precautions anymore. In the paranoid post 9-11 America, such light security was refreshing. But what if the terrorists went after the ice cores?

The tour guide was a middle-aged man, perhaps in his early fifties, tall, lanky, and had a very dry sense of humor. In fact, he had an awful sense of humor, but since he was a scientist no one thought anything of it; we all basically expected him to be that geeky. He kept referring to our late-twenties aged graduate-student instructor as “professor,” regarding her in an awkward endearing sense, and addressed her personally in his lecture as much as he addressed the class as a whole. We took a trip through the freezer, and considering that I was wearing only a light jacket, a hat, khaki pants and leather shoes, the -36 degree Celsius air was an experience of the holy-fuck-I-think-my-nose-hairs-are-frozen-together,-hey-can-you-check-if-my-ears-are-still-there? type. The air was extremely soft and sterile, so dry that even in the frigid cold you couldn’t see your breath, and smelled like rotten bananas.

On the way back to the bus, someone reported hearing that our tour guide had stopped to ask our instructor out on a date. That set up quite a murmur among my fellow undergraduates, and I had to introduce to them the perfect pickup line that the tour guide should have used: hey – you ever done it in forty below?

Later in the evening when I was back at home, typing at the computer, I heard a strange whisper from behind and outside. I turned to see a feminine face lurking in the dark, peeking into the apartment window and lit up from above looking like a smiling, shadowy ghost. Holy Shit I thought to myself, got up, went to the door and realized that it was my sister and her friend. My sister is two years younger than me, a senior in high school, and just finally got her driver’s license at age seventeen. Tonight was her first night out with the car, I was informed. Her friend was wearing a “Bush: Not My President” T-shirt that she had made herself, which pleased me quite a bit. My sister’s friend had been my friend too back in high school, but we lost touch for the most part when I left for college. My sister, a staunch Roman Catholic, is much more liberal than you would expect, supports me for being gay, and has a rebellious edgy streak when she’s with her friends. We grew up with a lot of tension between us and it was nice to finally see that it is starting to chip away.

We hung out for a while, talked, played guitar, looked at websites, and then they left. My mom called later in the evening since she and I hadn’t spoken for over a week, and I told her about my sister dropping by.
“Hey, Angela came over today, with Amber!” I told her cheerfully.
“WHAT?!” my mother exclaimed, “Angela told us they were going to see a movie in Arvada!”
So I inadvertently got my sister in trouble. I tried to talk my mother into ignoring the fact that Angela was not where she was supposed to be, but I wasn’t getting anywhere with Mom. “This is her first night driving by herself and she needs to know clearly that she has to be honest when she tells us where she’s going,” my mother said. I think my mother got a little put off when I told her that I wouldn’t have said anything to her if I knew Angela was out breaking the rules, that I would have kept my sister’s confidence if I had only known I wasn’t supposed to say anything. I was disappointed because I figured my sister wouldn’t drop by anymore after thinking that I intentionally snitched on her or something. Luckily, my dad called back a few hours later and said they would bust her without letting her know it was my slip: as it turns out, the movie she told my parents that she and her friend were going to, Napoleon Dynamite, wasn’t even playing at the theater that they said they were heading for. My dad needed only to check the newspaper to figure that out. So by my sister’s own carelessness, I am thus saved from responsibility for getting her busted.



  1. cool


    You would think your sister would tell you not to tell mom. It’s probally a good thing they are being tough on her, I wouldn’t know.

    Comment by smackdaddydave — September 17, 2004 @ 12:31 am | Reply

  2. My brother and I used to fight a lot when we were kids. We got along okay sometimes, but mostly fought. When he started high school I was a senior there and we saw each other around and talked and stuff. We ended up becoming good friends that year and have been super close ever since. I would now say he is one of my best friends. It’s funny how your relationships with your siblings chance as you get older. Not funny haha, funny strange. It’s cool when you get to the point where you don’t want to get your sibling into trouble and it isn’t so you can “save” it for blackmail purposes. =)

    Comment by empressme — September 17, 2004 @ 12:34 am | Reply

  3. it’s not your fault, and it’s really nice that it bothered you that it slipped. a good brother. lol

    Comment by ex_unequivo — September 17, 2004 @ 1:46 am | Reply

  4. ahh you are such a good brother. I’m glad it worked out so that the closesness that is forming between both of you was not suddenly crushed.
    Oh and be careful with those hidden spoons.

    Comment by devnair1 — September 17, 2004 @ 6:39 am | Reply

  5. You seem cool. I’m adding you 🙂

    Comment by yoella — September 17, 2004 @ 9:27 am | Reply

    • Your icon…….


      Right on.

      Comment by ononehand — September 17, 2004 @ 10:27 am | Reply

      • Obey the icon. Pustula comands you.


        Comment by yoella — September 18, 2004 @ 12:43 am

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