By the time I turned 26, I had managed 1 clothing retail store, a few weddings, 6 different restaurants, and was set to transfer to my 7th restaurant in southern Maryland. Moving to Annapolis was one of the hardest things I ever did. For the first time in many years, I was living away from everyone I knew, everything I had known and was truly alone. Anxiety, panic and pure fear set in within one hour of the moving vans pulling out of the parking lot. My decent sized one bedroom apartment with plush ivory carpeting, a mini balcony overlooking the parking lot and 4 other buildings that looked exactly like mine and more than enough windows to make it feel warm and happy, was neatly stacked with boxes all clearly labeled with its contents and corresponding room. Moving in general is a daunting task but for me, unpacking was the perfect way to disperse the anxiety.
It wasn’t until a week later that I realized the fear kept me house bound for nearly 4 days. I had become embedded in my new home and the thought of leaving it to step foot into a new town where I knew no one was more paralyzing to me than if Dave Matthews knocked on my door to ask to borrow a cup of sugar. Eventually, the fear subsided and Annapolis became the town where I “grew up”. Maryland Blue Crabs, She Crab Bisque, Dynamite Halibut, Veuve Clicquot, Stoli Vanilla & Diet Cokes, a Macaroni & Cheese cook off and a dirty joke about birds are but a few of the innumerable memories I have of my 4 years in Annapolis.
bedroom of that first Annapolis apartment
my Annapolis “old man” crush
So I’m really just setting the stage. If you know me, you know that I am incapable of telling short stories. There are way too many details that I find important for me to get a story out a) in a reasonable amount of time and b) without it wandering all over the place as I remember other particulars, that are my attempt at giving you the big picture view of my story but honestly I think wind up confusing most which makes the story even longer.
On an early spring day, much like this week has been, in 2002 I stepped foot into my new restaurant. The first day is always exhausting. The other managers bombard you with their gripes, you learn new ways of doing old tasks and none of the staff will really speak to you. I understand completely why this happens. I know what’s going through their heads. “Is she going to be a bitch?” (Yes) “Is she going to change the way we do everything?” (Yes, but I’ll make you think it’s your idea) “Is she going to make us follow the rules?” (Yes, but I’ll show you that it will ultimately make your job easier) “Is she going to be lazy like so-and-so”? (Not a chance)
I think by day three I had won a few of the staff over by not saying much, smiling and helping out as much as possible. And then the gay niglet walked into the alley and started talking to me as if he had known me for years. The shock seemed to last for a week or two because the next thing I remember we are driving to the Ikea in Northern VA when he jumps out of the car as we are inching along in DC traffic, runs into the woods to pee and jumps back in the car, 30 yards and 8 minutes later. That was the day I knew we were going to be lifelong friends.
gay niglet eventually became my roommate at another home in Annapolis
That day I purchased the trash can I still own today. It’s been a great trash can: small enough to fit in a city apartment, but big enough to handle the trash of a single gal that’s not home much. It’s flip top is level with my knee so when my hands are coated in the raw ingredients of soon to be baked bangin’ meatloaf, one swift movement of my leg opens the can and that stray egg shell will not crunch in the bite of one of my dinner guests. However, I recently decided that said trash can had lived its life with me and it was time to purchase a new one.
During the purchasing process, two things have puzzled me.
Who knew there are over 7 different types of trash can styles to choose from? Everything from Sensor Cans to Step Cans to Touch-Bar Cans. How am I supposed to decide what will be the best replacement for my generic yet admirable, ivory colored plastic Ikea can? Alas, have no fear! There are YouTube videos to help you make that decision and much like everything else in this country, the reviews are endless. A quick search of “trash can reviews” consumed 2 weeks of clicking, reading, deliberating, and re-reading. I mean because really, if I asked you if you liked your trash can and where you purchased it from, you would look at me like I was crazy, right? Instead, I fed my perfectionist need for purchase research with late night internet reading.
After two weeks, I finally decided on a fingerprint-proof, stainless steel, step can. I spent a bit more than I had intended but it comes with a ten year warranty and fingerprints on stainless steel make me neurotic. This just seemed to fit. And once the can was perfectly positioned under my kitchen counter, I knew I had made the right decision.
So what’s the second thing that puzzled me? How do I throw my old trash can away? And I’m not asking this because I am struggling to part with it, I mean I really can’t get the City of Philadelphia to take my trash can away. The first week I put it on the curb with my trash bag beside it. They turned the can upside down on the sidewalk. The next week I left the trash bag in the can, tied up and shoved the lid down beside the bag. They turned the can upside down again. The third week I lay the can down on its side with the lid inside. It was exactly as I left it. Do I really have to put the trash can in a plastic trash bag to get the rubbish men to take it away??
I’ve moved 3 times since I purchased that original trash can. Maybe I am holding on to it in the subconscious part of my brain, an attachment to my history. But everything changes, all the time. Gay niglet is still in my life but our relationship is different. It’s better. Friends have come into my life, left and resurfaced in that same time period. It’s all a part of life. Adopting the idea of change as inevitable has helped to alleviate some of the stress of everyday life. And if it starts with a trash can, so be it.
I’m craving true Indonesian satay & this is what my brain sees when the craving takes hold
**Part of this story is a work of fiction.