I've developed a weird frame of reference and I think it's because I write for this blog. What's normal for most, and has become a taken for granted 'normal' often strikes me as downright odd.
The other day, for example, a relative of mine phoned in a panic because she needed to re-freeze perishables that had defrosted relentlessly through a protracted power-cut. This will horrify those in power-rich countries, but here in Zimbabwe we can't afford to throw away meat that has defrosted once, so we re-freeze it and shut our minds to the potential health consequences.
I have adopted a semi-scientific 'assessment of risk' using what I call my 'squidgeometer'. This tool is my index finger, prodded deeply into a product (meat, butter, a bag of frozen milk) to try and work out whether it may or may not be hitting that level of 'squidgieness' that means I am going to get very very very sick if I allow it to go any further before I re-freeze.
I suspect my relative has a similar test. On this day she arrived with meat in black plastic bin bags, to go into my freezer (I had power, she didn't) so she could start the re-freeze process because her stuff was hitting danger levels. I do the same to her.
But this is normal and isn't actually what strokes me as downright weird. What did give me a jolt was my reaction to her black plastic bin bags!
"Where did you get those and how much were they?!"
I can't remember when I last used one of these to line my bin. We stood there at length (after we'd emptied them) discussing the price and availability of bin liners, and the alternatives one could use in their place. That was what hit me as really really weird. How many women stand at their gates discussing something as banal as bin bags with such reverential tones? It turns out that she only uses her bin bags for moments like these, when she needs to de-camp her fridge freezer box at speed and needs large containers suitable for mass containment and easy deployment.
While we were talking she was carefully wiping them dry again and folding them up carefully, ready to be re-used for the next time, And that was even odder! These things are literally meant to go out with the rubbish, and to us they are a luxury product? I find it startling when I suddenly see these moments through the eyes of the rest of the world - my 'blog eyes'.
But the fact is, if I had bin liners, there is no way I'd toss them with my trash either!
[tags]Zimbabwe, ZESA, power cut [/tags]