Privilege Blog

A Feverish Imagination And Cutting Boards, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:32am

The other day I had the most vivid and sudden image of aging.

(It was the morning I came down with vertigo; I hypothesize a correlation. By the way, I’m much better. Thank you all so much for your support and suggestions.)

I was in the car with my husband. I seemed to have had a whole idea in an instant, and I spoke in paragraphs as though a large iridescent bubble had popped and thought was released entire.

Anyway, I said that to me aging feels as though our membranes–the separators of cell from cell, neuron from pathway–start to fray and become porous. This may mean that tendons tighten, and lips fade into face, but also that we are all one and we return to the universe.

How’s that for a way to start your weekend? How’s that for a demonstration of thought absent the balance of an inner ear, both actual and metaphorical? But it felt as real as an itch or a smile.

Anyway, if I ignore the possibility that I was feverish, we can follow this line of thinking to the many ways in which we try to distinguish ourselves and create identity. Not the kind of distinguished where we wear nice suits and earn medals; the kind where we distinguish a human figure through the fog when only the shape shows. Perceiving or inferring meaning.

Just consider all the efforts we (surely I’m not alone) make to identify the boundaries of me and not-me. Maybe the drive to identity is biological, a reflection maybe of the universe’s own task.

The minute you exist, so does what you are not.

Yeah. Well.

I also used the pandemic to optimize some kitchen processes.  While serving others to create good is the best of identity-building, the star on the top of the tree, but that’s been tricky in the pandemic. So, I bought myself new cutting boards and a salad dressing cruet. Embodying habits and values in objects? Pushing it, I know.

(Photo filters: distinguishing ourselves or making us one?)

The cutting boards are wood. Durable, beautiful enough to leave out on the counter, not plastic. I do use plastic covers when cutting meat, but they are recyclable. The salad cruet, and I cannot stress this enough, doesn’t drip down its sides. How much lettuce have I let molder in the refrigerator because I didn’t want to touch a greasy jar of oil and vinegar? If you’re interested, I ask that you use Shavonda’s affiliate link, here, and then search for John Boos cutting boards, or the Eva Solo Dressing Shaker, Drip Free, 0.25 liters.

I mean, it’s all trivial but also not. It’s all arbitrary, and also not. I think we get to choose our import. One of my great delineators is Saturday mornings when I write to you. Have a great weekend.

17 Responses

  1. I am so happy to read that you are better. The micro crystals in one’s vestibular system can realy wreak havoc with a person. One of my riding buddies lost an entire summer to it.
    Love the salad dressing cruet, it’s a nice shape and is functional. Everything you need, nothing you don’t.

    1. Thank you. Sorry about your riding buddy! Mine turned into a sinus infection, sigh, but fingers crossed I get better every day:).

  2. I like that, the idea that we choose. And maybe that is part of aging as well, disappearing while simultaneously condensing into something more coherently us vs not-us, whatever it is that life throws our way.

    I had a boos board I loved. It survived 3 moves, but this last one, back into my house, the movers somehow managed to split into two and I have not yet replaced it. Thank you for reminding me. I like Eva Solo’s products, and the cruet sounds nice. I don’t make salad dressing simply because I can’t stand greasy jars. Perhaps a change in perspective is needed.

    1. “disappearing while simultaneously condensing into something more coherently us vs not-us…” Oh my gosh yes. This time when we look back and inward and think, hmm, is that who I am?

  3. In the emergency room during my first benign positional vertigo episode, the intern snuck me a link to a video of how to do the Epley manouver. It works every time I’ve had it. I think it pretty mainstream now. Webmd has several maneuvers to do. Glad you’ve recovered Lisa!

    1. Thank you! Yes, I found several videos, did the various exercises, and now I just have weird sinuses. I hope you don’t have these episodes too often, they are debilitating.

  4. Lisa, Such beautifully written ideas. For a while the oil dispenser works and distracts us from the reality that no matter how many things we do to make ourselves more comfortable our pain is inescapable. I have to give up my physical body to become one with the universe . Despite many maladies I am not ready to do so. There are many reminders around me that time is getting away from me. (I found you in my spam folder).


    1. Thank you. Sorry about the spam folder. I think maybe fixing the comments has had some ripple effects. I am not ready to give up anything. I hope your maladies give you some peace today.

  5. “…to me aging feels as though our membranes–the separators of cell from cell, neuron from pathway–start to fray and become porous. This may mean that tendons tighten, and lips fade into face, but also that we are all one and we return to the universe.”

    This is a wonderful post. Thank you for the subject inspiration. My initial role models for what I always think of in Dylan’s phrase, “those not busy being born are busy dying” were my mom and my dad. My mom was negative about living and aging, my dad was joyful about living and aging. I believed my mom, though as I cared for her as she aged until her death at 94, I realized there was a significant gap between what she said about aging and her will to live, but I followed my dad’s example. My luck has not been good for some years, but I note despite that I am my father’s daughter. Eventually, after being knocked down, I get back up with hope and the willingness to find joy; to laugh and love and be loved. My dad made me unafraid of death, and maybe because he was Indigenous he made growing older seem superior as in getting better and better and continuing to look for the next wonderful thing, though he never talked about aging so much as he lived an example of aging that made me think in terms of, as you say, “we are all one and we return to the universe.” I don’t think of myself as an age or a decade or a specific lack or gain (though I do think of hard-won gains in understanding) so much as I think of myself as me moving through time until I am not any more. Or, until I am within a form I am not presently capable of understanding. (This kind of thought always makes me think of Carl Sagan and Contact.)

    You remind me that I need a cruet.

    Glad you are better! Happy Saturday.

    1. Your father sounds like a beacon. Cruets aren’t beacons, perhaps, but they can reflect some light. Thank you.

  6. The challenges of ageing! Each day is a new day and I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. I’m glad to hear you are feeling better and are enjoying your new purchases.

    1. Thank you! And isn’t funny how surprising aging can be, something so universal. I will try to embrace your attitude.

  7. I’m deep in a state of existential panic from your incredible description of aging.

    However, I did order the salad dressing carafe. Glad your vertigo is better.

    1. Oh gosh, no, I’m sorry! At the time, I felt a strange peace. My apologies for having provoked panic. The salad dressing thingie, however, is very, very calming. <3

  8. love that salad cruet and yay to a cutting board pretty enough to stay on the counter!

  9. I really like your comment about the universe and it is something I have been pondering a lot recently, not sure why. Perhaps due to having a lot of time and quiet to think over the past year or so. It is strangely comforting. Being at one with the universe – and I mean as an intrinsic part, not in an “ommm” way – makes sense to me. And, of course, new chopping boards never hurt.

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