I didn’t notice it at first. It snuck in under my radar. It started with a plastic plate left at my house during a party about a year ago. I tried to find the owner, waited for him or her to call, but they* never did. Maybe they considered the dish disposable. Maybe they thought of it as a paper plate, so they left it. I washed it and kept it, thinking the owner might eventually materialize and reclaim it. It’s still here.
A while later, Peggy came over and brought some fruit in a bowl. As she was leaving, she said, “Oh, keep the bowl. I don’t want it back.”
It was a nice bowl, lots of color and a good shape. I thanked Peggy and admired her generosity, adding the bowl to our kitchen cabinets. I didn’t yet understand this as a phenomenon, as some harbinger of clandestine redistribution.
Finally, I emailed everyone who’d been at our house. Attached photos.
First Terri replied. The red bowl was hers. She’d “meant to let you know I left it.” I was free to recycle it.
Think of this: if we put bar codes on the dishes instead of our names, we could track their journey from potluck to potluck, just like BookCrossing.com tracks books “released into the wild.” This could be exciting. How far can one unwanted platter travel?
We’ll see. I’m starting with the plastic plate left at my house a year ago. If I show up at your house with some snacks, you’ve been warned.
* = singular they