Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Pleading with plastic wrap

I wish I could think of knots and plastic wrap in the same way.

When I was little, I'd often accompany my dad on errands in his big white 60s-something GMC pickup that the family had christened The White Elephant. He'd pull up somewhere, a parts store, a hardware store or the like, and hand me a roll of knotted surveyors twine.

"Here," he'd tell me, "I need these knots out of this twine. Otherwise it won't hang straight when I use it to lay a foundation out."

I would go at that job with the tenacity of a fire ant. While my dad conducted his business, I'd be clawing and scratching and tugging at those knots.

It taught me patience and persistence and focus, traits that have served me well as a grown-up. It also kept me out of trouble, which was probably the entire reason I was given the knot-detangling job in the first place.

Because of that early experience, I've had a huge respect for knots. I will not cut a knot. You ask me, that's the ultimate in quitting. Nope. I'll hang in there, set my jaw, and keep at it until I have liberated the two ends of string.

Plastic wrap has never evoked a similar respect.

For years, I banished plastic wrap from my house. The Sister could not understand it. She said I could outfit Pharoh's army in my supply of zip-top bags, which I admit, I have an inordinate fondness for. What's not to like? They're easy to use, quick and convenient.

Unlike plastic wrap, which clings to you like the stink of a skunk. It sticks in all the wrong places, and, even more aggravating, doesn't stick to what you want it to stick to. And yet, with enough of it, you could probably bind and gag a person to the point she couldn't get free -- always my fear when getting too close to a roll of the evil stuff. I can just imagine that plastic slithering out of the box, up my back, around my wrists and tying me up.

The old axiom holds true, though: you can save money or you can save time, but you can't save both. Right now, while I'm job-hunting, money is in short supply but time? That I have.

So at the grocery, I picked up a roll of my nemesis to wrap about 10 pounds of pork chops that I got on sale. And this morning, I declared war.

I wish you could have seen me and the plastic wrap. For awhile there, it looked as though the plastic wrap, the devil's own invention, was going to win -- I was going to lose all my religion, and the pork chops were going to remain nekkid.

But I remembered those knots that I tackled in the cracked vinyl seat of The White Elephant. I got mad. I shook my finger at the blasted roll of plastic wrap.

"I will not let a piece of polyvinylidene chloride whip me!" I vowed.

Maybe it was my tenacity. Whatever it was, I managed to get all 21 pork chops wrapped and tucked in the freezer -- without contaminating the roll of plastic, dropping a pork chop or smothering myself. That's progress ... even if I still don't much like plastic wrap.

(Note: the cute picture of the Plastic Wrap captive? It came via Rubyreusable.Com, and is the brainchild sculpture of Mark Jenkins.)


Piedmont Writer said...

Ah knots, I know how you feel.

And I too, have banished plastic wrap from my house. I'll share my secret -- You know the inside sleeves from cereal boxes, made out of wax paper that hold the cereal. When empty (we go through cereal in my house like water in the desert) I either take them apart and makes flat layers to use as wrap, or leave whole in bags and tuck my chicken, or pork inside and fold over the top. Depending on when I'm going to use them, sometimes I put them in tupperware as well. The wax paper works just as well to prevent freezer burn, I'm recycling and saving the environment from plastic.

Jessica Lemmon said...

Ohhhh, you are not alone, my friend! The only thing that stupid stuff sticks to is itself. I have it on hand but every time I pull it out to use it, I groan with dread.

And then, often cut myself on that stupid pokey cutty thing on the edge of the box.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...


Ok, first I have to pledge my allegiance to the baggie. I love it in all forms, and it's one of the world's greatest inventions.

And it just so happens that my husband (who is fabulously brilliant and has lots of patents for stuff he invents), invented A BETTER PLASTIC WRAP. Seriously. It works. Has something to do with the random matrix of dimples, or some such thing. :)

Tawna Fenske said...

Next time you do this, you need to post a vlog of you fighting with the plastic wrap!

Publishing has given me the patience of Job, but no matter how patient I become, I will never be patient enough to untangle knots. I was born without the knot untangling gene.