Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Two Containers

from Small Stories from My Enormously Spiritual Life

Last night, in the a/c supermarket at the foot of the holy mountain, I happened to buy two plastic containers.  And I am still hearing about it.  The containers are small, clear, and rectangular, with colored lids.  The smaller one (blue lid) cost 18 rupees and the other, slightly larger, (green lid), cost 30 rupees.  That’s a total of 89.83 Japanese yen or exactly 75 American cents.  After studying the containers, I decided that the smaller one could hold milk powder and the larger, crystallized chunks of palm sugar, or arenga sugar, as it is also known.  I was concerned the blue-lidded container might not hold all the milk powder, but thankfully it did.

Actually I had already finished my shopping and was packing my purchases into a small cloth bag when I noticed the plastic containers with colorful lids stacked just outside the door of the supermarket.  And I coveted them.  But I didn’t just covet them, I also needed them, at least two.  I have ants.  My ants are very, very small, but there are many of them.

Please don’t think that I am someone who takes the purchase of plastic containers lightly.  I am haunted by visions of the Indian Ocean Gyre, one of five major gyres worldwide, and by the likelihood that my plastic containers will one day float there, estranged from their lids, gradually dissolving, lodging plasticine molecules into the bodies of single-celled organisms.  I will try to delay this.  I will keep my containers as long as I can. 

The lids of the containers are durable but the bodies are perhaps flimsy.  I will be careful.  Also the blue-lidded container fits inside the green-lidded container, which is a boon when traveling.  And I am not just telling you this for my own literary purposes.  I checked.

The lids are very snug.  I have confidence in them.  I think that they will prevent any problem with ants.  The ants are on the floor.  They have not yet discovered the shelves, the milk powder, or the chunks of palm sugar.  But no doubt the ants will discover them in time.  After all, the ants are thinking of nothing else.

Overall, I am satisfied with my plastic containers.  The blue-lidded one rests nicely on top of the green-lidded one on the shelf beside my metal cup and spoon, my electric kettle and glass jar of Sunrise instant coffee with chicory.  I have very few possessions.  Everything I own fits into a single suitcase.  These objects are important not because they are mine, but because almost all of them will last longer than I will, longer than this body which is not an airtight container, which does not close tightly, which is flimsy.

I would like to give the future small stories.  Instead I am giving the future small plastic containers.  Plastic lasts longer than stories.  So far nothing has evolved which can digest it.  I live simply, so as to give the future as little indigestible stuff as possible.  Also, living simply is said to be an aid for establishing a quiet and serene mind, which I reckon to be true in general, but not always.

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