Sunday, November 09, 2008

My Second Favourite Plate and a Dilemma

My second favourite plate might actually be a bowl. (I think of it more as a plate because if it is a bowl, it would be very low on my list of favourite bowls.) However, it has a good sized flat area suitable for cutting food with a knife, but high sides that help keep sloppy things from going where I don't want them to go. I don't remember where it came from. I've only got one like it and have never noticed others like it at friends or relatives.

About six months ago I brought it to work so that I could eat a microwaved lunch with fewer plastic leachates.

It also turns out that I've saved about five paper plates already by having my own plate on Chili Days and Meatball Sandwich Days.

The only downside is getting used to washing dishes at work. I've been conscientious about going into the floor kitchen, waiting patiently for my turn at the sink, washing my plate, containers and cutlery, wiping off the counter and then taking my things back to my desk. One time, late in the afternoon, the kitchen was empty and I left my things in the sink to soak while I went to the bathroom. I meant to go right back, but I forgot.

I remembered about an hour later. When I got to the kitchen, I discovered that someone had washed and stacked my dishes for me. Oh, oh, I thought, now there's going to be a new note above the sink, or someone is going to send out an email: "Please do not leave your dishes in the sink - Your mother doesn't work here." But no such message appeared and since then I've been good.

That's why I was really surprised to see my second favourite plate on top of the microwave a couple of weeks ago. I figured I must have left it behind the last time I washed it, maybe because I'd washed a coffee cup in addition.

Walking back to my desk with it, I noticed a black dot that I didn't remember seeing before.

And then at my desk, I discovered why. The plate on the microwave was not my plate. It was a sibling. I turned them over and they had the same blue text on the bottom.

As I brought the plate with the black dot back to the kitchen, a string of thoughts went through my head:

  1. It would be nice to have one of these at work and one at home.
  2. The plate was left on top of the microwave. Probably abandoned.
  3. But maybe not abandoned and so if I took it, it would be stealing.
  4. So, okay, I'll put it back.
  5. But what if somebody else notices what a terrific plate it is and they take it?
  6. And then the plate owner sees me with my plate.
  7. They will think that I stole their plate.
  8. If they're going to think that I stole their plate anyway, maybe I should just do it.
  9. No, no, stealing is wrong.
  10. Okay, so does this mean I should take my second-favourite plate home and bring in my third-favourite plate?
  11. Just put the plate back.

So that's what I did. It stayed on the microwave for about a week, but now I don't know where it is. And I have not yet been accused of stealing the plate that I actually own.

Harvard on microwaving plastics


Aggie said...

I hate to break this to you, but it's a bowl, not a plate. These bowls are on sale now at Pottery Barn.

David Scrimshaw said...


(a) That is not actually the same stuff, and the "soup bowl" shown is smaller than my second-favourite plate and has more curvature to it.

(b) Is it really appropriate to use these hard and fast labels? Aren't these pieces of dinnerware all on a spectrum?

Anonymous said...

The reason an email was never sent out admonishing everybody to wash their own dishes because their mother doesn't work there is because that email-sender is now working at my office.

Pearl said...

what conundrums drumming...

salonsally said...

Glad to know you're as neurotic as I am Dave.

David Scrimshaw said...

Say, Sally, I'll take that as a compliment on the principle of assuming it's a compliment when I can't tell if it is or not.

Michael T said...

i think your method of classification (it's a plate because that way it receives high marks) is perfect. i also think you did the right thing.

...except-you should also quietly return your plate you stole before you're forced to have an uncomfortable confrontation with yourself about it at work

David Scrimshaw said...

Michael, just to be clear, I did not steal any plate. Not even "borrow without permission".

All my plates have been acquired honestly.