Moose’s recent post reminded me of the many expired items I discovered in the aftermath of my move. The kitchen and bathroom held untold treasures far past their prime. I found a can of tomato soup that expired in 2003. In case you’re not feeling terribly arithmetical, that’s six years. Six long years of storing an expired canned good. It’s an accomplishment of sorts but not one I imagine will find its way to the boastful inside cover of my first novel. That soup cast a suffocating pall on those 6 years and is likely the only thing I’ll remember about them. One day when my grandchildren ask me about the beginning of the new millennium, I’ll shake my cane at them and say, “You kids don’t know what it’s like to have to scrimp and save expired tomato soup in case of an apocalypse!”
Sadly, old soup was not the most egregious offender. That title was won by a sample of Excedrin that expired in 1997. This requires a bit of an explanation because I’m not directly to blame and anything I can do to shirk responsibility, you can bet I WILL DO. I found it in a first aid kit a friend made for me when I left to study in the Balkans in 2001. Obviously my friend had no idea she was giving me old meds but it makes fabulous blackmail fodder nonetheless.
The upside of all this unfortunate news is that I’ve been fearless in my purging (but loathe to forget how I regret giving my awesome plaid Vans to Goodwill.) I’ve gotten rid of a TON of stuff, the last of which was a haul of 90s-chic purses. It’s taking me awhile to get settled but at least I know my Neosporin isn’t likely to have morphed into some flesh-eating goo.
That said, there are still a few things I know better than to save but just can’t let go. Like my college notebooks. I’m especially sentimental about the ones from all my German classes. I really miss speaking and reading German and am ashamed at how much knowledge I’ve lost since I graduated. I’m hoping everything would come back relatively quickly if I was kidnapped and dropped in the middle of Bavaria. Somehow, keeping my ancient scrawlings makes me feel more prepared. I’m also not ready to trash the only tangible evidence of all my hard work especially since the only tangible evidence of any hard work since then is a can of expired tomato soup.