Monday, March 26, 2012


Tupperware held all of his sadness: a middle class and midwestern thump of hurt. The sadness of being raised on iceberg lettuce instead of arugula. It was the damage of the scraped and dinged (slightly melted at the lip) frosty-green iceberg lettuce crisper. The Tupperware that was no longer in use because no one could find the lid. The crisper was expendable, but no one cared enough about the container to even throw it out! It had so little value that it wasn't even worth throwing away. 

The guy hadn't showered in weeks. I couldn't smell him right then, but I knew who he was and he never showered. He was a drunk boy/man with a hurt heart and he stood screaming below our apartment windows that night in Cleveland. He wasn't looking or yelling for me specifically - it was my room mate who had caught his wrath - I was just in hearing distance, and yet he seemed to be yelling at me too. He cursed her, he cursed all of us (women), he was hard to understand at times but the proclamations were building to one last insult - the crescendo - bellowing..."You, you treat treat me worse, you treat me worse than anything! You treat me, I'm Tupperware! TUPPERWAAARE!"

I still recall his name. I remember his sour body smell in our house mixed with turpentine and stale cigarette. I remember the look of his paintings and that he was smart and well read. But today the only thing that truly resonates carried through the windows that night: You treat me like I'm Tupperware. 

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Women treated him like Tupperware. In the darkness he wanted one girl in particular to know that. And he yelled it so loud she would have to hear him; hear his pain. However my room mate was not home that night. No, she had moved on to another and never heard his rasped voice tottering between the buildings, screaming the Cleveland equivalent of... Stella! Stellaaa! I heard him though.

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And I wish I could say I learned a lesson: That I never treated a man's heart like a disposable container or a celery sheath or a double-sided sugar dispenser in washed-out yellow ochre. That no man (on my clock!) was ever just a Kool Aid pitcher or a nifty one trick Jello mold! But I can't say that. We all have our Tupperware moments. Sometimes they come from us and sometimes they come on to us. 

I was the unintended witness to his perfectly plastic heartache and prose. We all need thoughtful witnesses... Tupperware!

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