I have a Tupperware problem.
It keeps spawning.
It jams up the drawer it lives in and pushes me to the limits of sanity as I try to nest and re-nest it each time I put another piece away. And another. And another.
The larger pieces, which don’t fit in the drawer but are too potentially useful to throw away, are proliferating too. They fall on my head nearly every time I open the cabinet where they’re stored, shoved on top of the stand mixer and the waffle iron and the spaetzel maker I’ve used exactly once. When the kids ask me to make waffles, or I need to use the mixer, I actually think: Ugh. Falling Tupperware. Tupperlanche. (And: Ugh, why did I buy that spaetzel maker?)
I haven’t actually bought any Tupperware* in a very long time. I’m pretty sure it has a half life of about forty-million years. As for the stuff I didn’t buy: Some of it is from friends who brought it to get-togethers at our house, back when such things were possible. Before they left I would say, “Wait! Let me give you back your Tupperware!” and they’d wave it off and say, “No, no, don’t worry about it ha ha ha! Next time I see you!” and I’d say, “No, REALLY! PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME WITH THIS!” but by then they would be in their cars.
Some of it has come home to us with the children after get-togethers with friends, bearing the remainders of the cookies or cupcakes they made. And then there are the plastic takeout containers from the Thai and Chinese and Indian places. I watch them stack up, powerless to stop them.
Wait. I did actually buy some tupperware a couple of years ago: Some cute little divided containers for the kids to use in their lunchboxes. They’re great, but the lid to one of them (pictured, below) was, sadly, sucked into a wormhole in the universe at one point.
So, I should really amend my earlier statement: The tupperware is spawning, but at the same time, it is disappearing into wormholes in the universe. Sometimes the lids, sometimes the bottoms, but never a matching pair at the same time.
The universe takes what it wants.
I try to keep ahead of the situation. Every six months or so, on a day when I’m feeling particularly tranquil and zen-like, or I just can’t take the clutter anymore, I take all the tupperware out of the drawer, and make sure I have a lid for every piece (I don’t) and a piece for every lid (no).
Then I look at each item and think about whether I really need that particular size—or three of that particular size. The answer is generally yes, because you never know. Then I nest the complete sets neatly back in the drawer, where they will remain nice and orderly for about two days.
I do not bother with the scary oversized tupperware in the cabinet, because I don’t want to get hit on the head, or have to figure out what to do with the spaetzel maker.
As part of this endeavor, I also decide which of the stray bottoms and lids to keep, in the hope that their mates will one day be spit back out of a wormhole into the kitchen. (It has been known to happen.) The others, I “recycle” (“recycle” because who know where they actually end up…) or—shudder—throw out, if they don’t have the little arrow symbol on the bottom.
Then I stand there for a while, thinking about that floating mass of plastic the size of Rhode Island in the Pacific, and I hate myself and the whole human race.
And yet, I tell myself—AND YET!—In terms of environmental impact: better we should use Tupperware than throw out our leftovers, or wrap everything up in disposable foil or plastic wrap or bags, right? So….there’s that.**
Speaking of leftovers: You know when you can’t find that exact right size Tupperware container you need for that left over stew or soup or whatever—just seventeen small, rectangular containers from Thai Basil—and you think it must have gone down the wormhole, or maybe you (cunningly, calculatingly) left it at a friend’s barbecue in 2019? But then you find it in the fridge four days later, shoved all the way in the back, full of leftover lasagna that you recall, with horror, you made at least three and a half weeks ago? And then, instead of thinking about the plastic island in the Pacific, you’re thinking about how many people are malnourished and food-insecure, and here you are, like an asshole, about to toss at least three, maybe four, servings of (moldy) lasagna made with Beyond Beef that you felt all virtuous about, because: plant-based?
I hate when that happens.
It’s not really about Tupperware, per se, but it’s related.
Lasagna, Tupperware, takeout containers, unnecessary spaetzel makers: they’re all about the excesses of late-stage capitalist consumption—excesses that manifest themselves in a drawer that will not close, a lasagna that is squandered, a cabinet that is a deathtrap of tumbling plastic, and a me that feels periodically wracked with guilt about my inability to break away from it all.
Like I said, I have a Tupperware problem.
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PS — Please tune in next time, for my 800-word post about the 19 promotional plastic water bottles ("Use instead of a disposable water bottle and save the earth!”) in the drawer beneath the tupperware drawer, and why they make me hate mankind.
*I’m using “Tupperware” as a catch-all name for plastic containers. I know it’s not all Tupperware brand. I’m not stupid.
**Please don’t be the person who tells me I should use all glass storage containers instead of plastic. Unless you want to be the person I give all my Tupperware to when I replace with it with glass, in which case, please include your address with your comment. Also: I have a few glass storage containers. Two are missing their lids.