Bowls Versus Trash Cans
By Karen Ballum on March 14, 2013
When you begin sharing your life with someone, you discover differences in family traditions. Sometimes they are foreseeable and other times they take you by surprise. Jenny Lawson recounts many of these in her memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, including the time she discovered she had been sitting on couches wrong. One of my favorites from the book was when she and Victor were talking about deer blood and vomit. Yes. Really.
"He says it's all in my mind, but it's totally not, and I've even offered to take some sort of blind smell test, like they did with the Pepsi challenge, where he holds bowls of blood up to my nose so that I can prove that I can smell blood, but he won't do it. Probably because he's kind of anal about our bowls. He wouldn't even let me use one for throwing up in when I was sick. He was all, "Vomit bowl? Who uses a vomit bowl?!" and I was all, "I use a vomit bowl. Everyone uses a vomit bowl. You keep it near you in case you can't make it to the toilet," and he was all, "No, you use a trash can," and I was like, "You sick fuck. I'm not throwing up in a trash can. That's totally barbaric." Then he yelled, "That's what normal people do!" and I screamed "That's how civilization breaks down!" Page 15
We didn't use a vomit bowl. We didn't use the trash can either, except in extreme emergencies. No, when I was growing up it was all about the bucket. Being sick meant that I got to stay home, chill out on the couch with some ginger ale and watch He-Man cartoons while the bucket sat patiently beside the couch. Just in case. My husband, though, seemed to have come from a bowl family. I discovered this when I came down with the swine flu on New Year's Eve a few years back (do I know how to ring in a new year or what?). By the time I crawled back to bed he had placed a bowl there.
We didn't fight about it because, well, I had the swine flu and I was just happy there was something there. It seems he's not exclusively a bowl person though. After a bad reaction to some prescription medication had me dealing with some nausea, he brought me a trash can -- a rectangular trash can that was approximately 4-inches wide. I was feeling well enough to ask him if that was really the most practical option. He replaced it with a bowl.
Now, I don't really care. Much. My mother wasn't about to hand us her bowls to vomit in and I get it. Buckets were easier to replace than bowls and we were a rather rough and tumble crowd of kids. We'd have found one way or another to destroy them. Buckets were easier to replace. When I lived alone I generally used a bucket because it was easier to access than the bowls, which I always seemed to store in the corner cabinet, stacked under a bunch of smaller bowls. These days, I'm just happy not to have to go get my own bowl or bucket when I'm sick. I still draw the line at the 4-inch wide trash can, unless it's an absolute emergency.
Are you a bowl or a trash can family? Does it matter to you?
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