There are three things that quickly identify you as a bachelor. First, the immense pile of dirty clothes that quickly piles up in the laundry bin. You could literally practice climbing on it, all in the comfort of your own lavatory. The problem is you don't notice it until one day it collapses and you can't go through the bathroom door anymore. If not that, when you open the drawer where you keep your socks, and there are none. It's almost time for you to get out of your house to go catch the bus, and you're contemplating between going bare-feet or wearing some weird white socks with a strange design that really don't fit with black shoes and black pants at all.
Second, it's your sink. Or rather, where your sink used to be. By now there are about six billion dishes stacked carefully, held together with forks, knives, wooden spoons and several pots. The sink is full of this brownish water that sort of resembles a lukewarm chicken soup. And again, you only realise your sink is full, because there are no more plates in the cupboard. Or because all your pots are somewhere... in there. It's also one of those moments where you stop and contemplate that indeed you do have more dishes than you could humanly possibly use.
Lastly, the fridge. When you live by yourself, nothing seems to last as long as it did when you lived back at home. I'm not sure how that works exactly, but I think I could easily blame it on the fact that I tend to put things in the fridge that once looked crisp and eatable, and I forget them in there.
This of course causes me to arrive home, starving, opening the fridge and sometimes trying to figure out what to make for dinner. I must say, what I find in there is quite astonishing and if I was more scientifically inclined, admirable. I say admirable because I think it's impressive that mold is able to grab on that chunk of what once was cheese and turn that once juicy piece of orange cheddar into something that resembles fur at such low temperatures.
Fortunately, I have caught these evolutionary processes in time before they figure out how to get out of the fridge by themselves.
There are other things, which have been sitting quietly in containers, and still look good (those that have a transparent cover, that is) but for some reason I wouldn't dare eat them. Mostly because I can't tell what's in them and they have been in there longer than I care to remember. I'm not sure why I don't get rid of them. Maybe it's that part about wasting food. Either way, I should label these containers with crossed bones and a skull, just so my girlfriend doesn't accidentally eat any of them. It's a difficult task to find a decent woman these days, and I don't want to go through the process of finding another one already just because of improperly labelled containers.
I think that when I'll move, I'll pack the fridge and ship it to the Centre for Disease Control and see if they can find anything useful in there.
So the other night after going through my fridge several times (as if each time I hoped to miraculously spot some edible product in there), I searched the cupboard and found some old packages of Sapporo instant noodle -- real Japanese noodles made in the fine state of California.
This is nothing more than a tiny little package, with some dried noodles and a little pack of soup base (I have been trying to figure out what the soup base is made of, but I can't). The scariest part is reading the ingredients. These noodles have stuff I would normally expect to find in your regular household cleaner. On top of that, the noodles have "real simulated shrimp flavour". And I guess I can understand that since the only thing that's Japanese is the packaging written in rather decent Engrish.
Which brings me to an interesting point. Anytime I go to the store and shop, I am amazed by the amount of food that's ready-made and requires only 1 to 3 minutes to prepare. TV-Dinners, instant noodles, soups that just require a quick nuke, that is, if you own a microwave. I, for one, don't. But I can see how it has become as essential as toilet paper in this world.
Take for example a look at my kitchen. It's not designed with the concept of someone actually cooking in there. And I think this is a North-American problem. We want apartments that come with a beautiful kitchen so we can never make a real meal in it. Anytime I cook something more impressive than a cup of tea, I find myself running in all directions to shut off the fire alarms, and opening windows to reduce the temperature to something below tropical standards.
The average human being, after an exciting day at work, fulfilling his 9 to 5 duties, doesn't want to cook. They want to open the fridge, pick something, which resembles the picture on the box, and three minutes later, eat it. I must be the only weird one here since I enjoy cooking and getting a sauna at the same time.
But that night I was starving. I ended up cooking the noodles and ate them. And they were the best noodles I had ever had in my entire life. In fact, I ended up eating the other two crumbling packages I found in the cupboard while watching some artsy-fartsy French movie about some kid in Russia or something. It was a French movie. You know the type, that try really hard to be all fancy with fantastic camera angles, showing things at an angle, or filming things for long periods of time between two jars on a shelf. I dunno. I was too happy eating my noodles.
Although, I must say, I have been contemplating about getting a microwave. That's because I've had, sitting under my sink, a box of microwave popcorn, since about the day I moved in. I tried making some popcorn using those packages with a regular pot, which ended up setting off all my fire alarms and much time spent scraping all the charcoal bits of kernels stuck at the bottom. After about four packages, four pots that look like they've carried explosives, to this day I find a piece of burnt popcorn somewhere and have yet to eat even a little piece.
Now if you'll excuse me, I discovered a can with no expiry date that claims to contain what looks like pre-digested beans and lard. Maybe I'll eat them directly off the pan, with a wooden spoon, while surfing the channels for some good spaghetti western movie.