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spilling the beans

My mother had a great expression for when I would ask her to keep something in confidence. “Please don’t repeat this to anyone,” I would say (unnecessarily) after telling her my secret. Her response – “Repeat what?” – was classic. This woman was not spilling the beans. No matter what.

And neither do I. Not a single bean will be spilled on my watch. Other things, alas, not so much. To wit, three scenes of spill-I-or-won’t-I:

Scene I

There I was in our building’s laundry room the other morning – full laundry baskets, check; detergent and dryer sheets, check; container of quarters, check. And, because I was doing three loads, we’re talking a lot of quarters (42 to be exact, plus some extras ). I remembered every detail except for one – to set my coin container out of harm’s way (at least two feet from wherever I’m standing at any time). As a result, in moving one of my overfilled baskets, I didn’t see the container sitting there and knocked it over. Quarters sprayed across the laundry room. Showered down on the floor and bounced against the walls. Rolled between machines and out the doorway into the garage. Fortunately, my swearing was drowned out by the sounds of the recycling truck idling in the garage and the laughter of the recycling guy as he watched me attempting to scoop up my laundry coinage. I got back all of the quarters – running a broom between the machines uprooted those deserters – and made a note to put at least five feet between me and the container next time. Common cents.

Scene II

I love a particular brand of mini rice crackers. They’re about the size of a quarter (uh-oh, see where this is going?) and there are about 300 of them in the package. For lunch one day this week, I thought I’d nibble some with hummus. I snipped off only the corner of the bag to prevent too many crackers from spilling out at once. Good thinking, right? But you know what wasn’t good thinking? The fact that I left the bag – the non-flat-bottomed, not well-balanced bag – standing on the edge of the counter when I turned away to grab the hummus from the refrigerator. No sooner was my head in the fridge than the bag fell over and tipped out 300-minus-5-previously-nibbled crackers. Some landed in a pile. Others rolled as fast as they could everywhere they could, including under the stove, behind the fridge, and in the slivers of space next to the dishwasher. A few barreled right into the adjacent entry hall. To quote Yogi Berra, it was like déja vu all over again. Five-second rule aside, they were mostly a lost cause. Nothing but a memory now. That, and the occasional errant crunch under our feet in unexpected places.

Scene III

Breaded, baked, boneless chicken breasts is about as easy-to-make as dinner gets. Except for when it’s not. Like when you’re pretending to be Madonna pretending to be Marilyn Monroe, singing Material Girl at the top of your lungs (the Immaculate Collection CD blasting in the background) as you bread – as I did last night. You’re dancing around the kitchen, dishtowel playing the role of the diva’s fur stole, when, instead of draping seductively around you, said dishtowel drapes around the container of breadcrumbs and launches it into mid-air. Next, in a superb piece of showmanship, the container does a perfect triple flip followed by a flawless double axel followed by a spectacular single spill. (In this case a dustpan, not diamonds, was a girl’s best friend.)

Splat’s all, folks.

©2022 Claudia Grossman

2 comments on “spilling the beans

  1. absolutely brilliant! and sadly, too familiar….

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