Everything but the kitchen sink


As I stood looking down at my kitchen table, thinking about the advice from a WeightWatchers’ meeting that advises you to eat at the table, preferably with a candle, and finish your meal there, even if you live alone which means you are chewing in silence, staring at the wall, I couldn’t help but notice a problem.

Where would I put the plate?

And then I thought, as if I were a detective who had come upon a stranger’s house, who was this person? Who lived here? What could I deduce from their life by examining the detritus on their kitchen table? What would I deduce from yours if I came across your kitchen table?

Here’s what I found:

  • One ball of white twine. A half-eaten package of black licorice. Cheap chocolate Easter eggs wrapped in shiny pastel paper and encased in fine netting. A day timer. One lemon lime lip balm. One last piece of cinnamon raisin bread wrapped in the bag it came in. One blue seven-day pill box with only one pill remaining for today, Thursday. A prescription. A beautiful yellow orchid in full bloom with six pale yellow flowers. A purple strip of paper offering $5 off anything at  Sacred Mountain Lavender on Salt Spring valid until September 30th, 2014, and picked up at the Salt Spring in the City event at Heritage Hall a few weeks back.
  • Events at Vancouver Public Library for April. A Megaphone Magazine, Issue 151 purchased from a vendor on the corner of Broadway and Cambie. Two bookmarks by a woman with my name, spelled Gail, not Gayle, and given to me by her friend, I presume, because Gail was too shy to give them to me herself when she came to my slideshow at the New Westminster Public Library last week.
  • A package of Gravol for symptoms of vertigo I’ve been having that come and go and a written request for blood tests written by a doctor I met yesterday, who, when I checked, after the fact on RateYourMD, had 49 really horrible ratings.  Shocking! But not surprised based on my own visit with him.
  • A notebook full of one line potential ideas related to freelance writing for magazines. A copy of Maissoneuve magazine turned to page 49, nearing the end of a story written by Tim Falconer about the Klondike Creative Class.
  • Classes and Workshops at Vancouver Public Library for April. One square, amber-coloured Post-It note with two lines squiggled across it: Style@home and Canadian Gardening.
  • One pair of household scissors with black handles. A spool of red, silver and gold wrapping ribbon. A plastic calculator. An unopened envelope from VanCity related to voting.
  • The TWS Reading Series Agenda for April, my name one of eight readers for that evening. Brochures about travel possibilities into the Great Bear Rainforest. A white envelope addressed to Honourable Steve Thomson to prevent trophy hunting and to help Raincoast raise funds to purchase the remaining commercial hunting tenures in the Great Bear Rain forest. A piece of blank white paper that came with the envelope and that I have yet to write on to protest trophy hunting.
  • One App from Starbucks called Postale  which caught my attention because of that term. I picked it up thinking it had something to do with “going postale” and I wondered if they’d now created an App that could figure that out – you’re about to go postale – here, quick,  plug this in. Don’t do it!
  • Two versions of my Salt Spring manuscript, neither one complete. One hundred and eighty nine pages each. Two envelopes that I carried the copies home from Kinkos in.
  • One white tea light in a small crystal candle holder given to me years before from a friend who I had a quick dinner with last night.
  • A prescription bottle, 1/4 full of purple pills. A piece of paper from UBC that says staff pension plan update –  The 2014 Actuarial Valuation is Underway which, honestly, I know I should read, but I can’t quite force myself to. Go figure? Wondering if it would be possible to write a headline on a piece of paper that would have less appeal to me than that one. Can’t they make it fun? Can’t they take a lesson or two from the former INGDirect, bought by ScotiaBank and about to call themselves Tangerine, make me gag. I’m still disturbed by ING being just another bank now, but can’t quite figure out what, if anything, they’ve changed, and whether this bank, now masquerading as a piece of tropical fruit, is tricking me, tricking all of us,  in ways I have yet to discern.
  • A Fresh magazine from Thrifty Foods with a Post-It note on Page 29, Salad Greens.

I think it’s time to clear up. Or maybe it’s time to get rid of all tables. Maybe it’s time to invite someone for dinner. Maybe it’s time to move into a two bedroom. Maybe it’s time to rent an office.

What does your kitchen table say about you? Post a photo.


  1. Hi Gayle: I am afraid I cannot post a photo (as I don’t know how!) but one look at my kitchen counter (no table) would tell you that I have a serious obsessive compulsive disorder. I’m sorry, however, I think you may be better off the way you are! The OCD does use up quite a bit of unnecessary energy and the appearance of the finished area is never quite as clean as it should be!! This also involves quite a bit of ‘huffing’ directed at the spouse…..
    (I am having people for dinner tonight and should go now and ensure that everything is in its correct place ……)

    1. Anne, but it feels so civilized in your OCD-organized house. You just made me realize that what I might need is a spouse to pick up after me! I expect that would come with other challenges; ones that couldn’t be dumped into an IKEA box. Enjoy dinner. I know it’s always delicious. Wish I was coming.

  2. That’s good to hear, Christine, because you know the old adage, the sign of a clean house is a boring mind or something like that and we know that’s not true about either one of us! I’ve now completely exhausted myself by putting together new boxes from Ikea and cleaning it up. Sheesh! I might have to lie down. Have a good one.

  3. Wow that was an archeological dig. My kitchen/dining room table is nothing like that, but then I share my apartment with someone so there’s a certain constraint that makes me keep it tidy. On the other hand my roommate doesn’t have any other working space than the table so the left end of it is always piled high with newspapers and magazines. She’s a reference librarian and reads EVERYTHING! But the real truth is in my den where I do my writing. It’s a disaster zone. Any casual observer would wonder how I could possibly find anything or write there. But somehow I do.

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