Having been under house arrest since late March, I’ve taken to studying my surroundings.

That streak on the kitchen window outside, that branch overhanging the deck.

There’s more inside.

How about that drawer in the kitchen? You know — the one with the twist ties, the loose screws, a spring from a ballpoint pen, a C-size battery for an appliance that will never be manufactured again. Everybody has a drawer like that.

My main focus now, though, is on three items I’m thinking maybe shouldn’t be in my house.

Pat's potato peeler

Would you display this in your kitchen? 

The first is a magnetized potato peeler. Why do I have it? The only reason for a magnetized potato peeler is to attach it to the refrigerator for quick access.

But mine is orange, ugly orange. I haven’t had anything that ugly on my refrigerator since I cooked lasagne.

I keep the peeler in the silverware drawer, off to the side with other loose utensils that are, unfortunately, mostly metallic. Every time I need to peel a potato, I go fishing in the drawer and pull out this cyborg lobster — this tangle of corkscrews and serving spoons clinging to an orange carapace.

Another item I own that should never have found its way into my house is a porcelain coffee cone. It seats a filter, into which I add fresh grounds, then pour hot water to produce the elixir of the ages each morning.

But if you turn over the cone, you’ll see another, smaller hole on the bottom near the main one in the center. This smaller hole leads into what I have come to find out is a cavity, a shallow space added to the bottom. How did I not notice this?

Pat's cup

Note the small hole at about 11 O’clock. What’s up with that?

I’m sure a pottery craftsman can tell me why that tiny hole exists. Maybe one with advanced degrees can tell me the purpose of the cavity.

But here’s a question: Presuming I want to wash the cone, how do I stop soapy water from getting into that little hole so that it doesn’t get trapped in the cavity and then drip soap into my coffee the next morning? Did I miss a tiny plug? Did I throw it out with the box? Is it in that drawer with the C battery?

Rather than await an answer, or even ask the question, I should go out and get another cone with no hidden holes on the bottom.

The third thing I need to get rid of are three pairs of Nike sports socks. My goodness, they are comfortable.

Problem is, each pair includes one sock marked with an “L” and one marked “R.” Assuming most people’s feet follow similar contours, no doubt the socks are marketed as the absolute best in fit and comfort.

But some people put their socks on in the dark. Some do it without paying a lot of attention. Me, for example.

More than a few times, I’ve put the socks on the “wrong” foot.

“Big deal,” I say. “It’s crazy to think it’s worth the bother to change them.”

When this happens, there are points in the day where I am invariably nagged by a sense that my balance is off just a few microns, that my gait is not quite right. Silly, I know.

These are just three of the irritants in my house. If this exercise has taught me anything, it is that we all occasionally suffer from poor judgement. Sometimes we don’t pay enough attention to what we bring inside our homes.

I dare say, that’s an important lesson at a time when a pandemic rages outside.

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