My friend S was trying to decide whether she should sublet her apartment or let someone use it free in exchange for cat care when S visits her boyfriend in the country. “I couldn't charge very much because it’s kind of funky,” S said, “I mean, I store stuff in the stove.”
Wow! I thought. What a great idea! And ever since then I’ve been eyeing MY stove with a newfound sense of possibilities. Think of all the things I could put in that oven! My 40-year-old college textbooks that I’ve been saving in case I decide to go to grad school and need to study for the GREs. My old tax records. The ergonomic keyboard from the dark ages of the computer era. My 50 fake pashminas that I pick through every day for the one that feels perfect. My 50 batiqued sarongs, too out of date to wear, too beautiful to toss. My dozen pairs of Crocs, which everyone ridicules so that I can’t actually put them on my feet and go outside—though they are hands-down my most comfortable shoes.
I could even acquire more stuff!
How brilliant S was, I thought. The other day, I saw S again. “Just out of curiosity,” I asked, “what do you store in your stove?” Turns out she stores … pots and pans. Which has its own quiet brilliance—and the advantage of being something Other would actually let me do.