No great story is complete without a healthy dose of conflict woven into the narrative. Whether you believe in a higher power, cosmic karma, or plain-old blind chance, it is undeniable that this conflict always seems to find its way into this novel we call life. Thus in life, as in every great novel, while this conflict may create a fair amount of discomfort, it is an essential ingredient in the creation of something worth reading (or living for that matter). That being said, allow me to tell you a story….
Rob was an adventurous young man. He loved trying new things and quickly became disinterested with repetition. For that reason, he was constantly learning new skills, taking on new challenges, and existing in a constant state of metamorphosis in retaliation to the day-to-day blasé. It was for this reason that Rob decided to take on a series of 30 day challenges. As he sat staring into the stale January air one evening, pondering what to craft for dinner, a thought drifted into his head like the pungent smoke of a corn cob pipe. He apprehensively opened the freezer door and peered into a jungle of forgotten morsels. “Why do I make four or five trips to the grocery store each week while this food piles up and slowly degrades into useless crystallized nothingness?” he pondered as the frozen mist cascaded down onto his wool socks below. Thus the idea was born. He vowed not to buy food for thirty days; to live off the bounties of his current possession and reap the rewards of frugality and culinary creativity.
A week into his embargo of groceries, things seemed to be moving smoothly. Several delicious meals had been prepared and the freezer was already beginning to look more organized. Rob’s cellphone chirped on Thursday afternoon
, reminding him of his commitment to a skiing trip for the weekend with his family. He gathered his cold weather gear, his trusty camera, and a small travel guitar destined for its maiden voyage. Gear packed and house secured, he and his girlfriend headed off to the mountains just as a blizzard began raining down fluffy piles of winter enjoyment.
After three days of visiting with loved-ones and pure outdoor euphoria, the happy couple returned home. Katie headed down the driveway to retrieve her tiny chihuahua pups from their stay at le spa de grandparents
with a promise to return later. Rob had been brainstorming foraged meals all weekend and, after a short hike to check the whereabouts and well-being of the local whitetail herd, headed to the freezer. He instinctively reached for the top shelf, which was the resting place of a giant porterhouse steak that had been dancing in his head all weekend. A grill hunkered outside, patiently waiting for a large helping of charcoal and mesquite and the chance to craft this tender piece of art into medium-rare bliss. As his hands drifted over the tightly packaged meat, something felt horribly wrong.He quickly withdrew his hand from the icy depths as a red tinted drop of liquid escaped his fingertips and splashed on the linoleum like the first drop of a springtime shower. A cold chill ran down Rob’s spine as he gingerly reached back into the freezer. Every item on the top two rows was completely defrosted. Packages on the door were barely below room temperature. He couldn’t believe the devastating sight. Defeated, he reached for a garbage bag under the sink and began sorting through the devastation. Forty pounds of discarded carnage and three weeks remaining in the challenge left Rob temporarily paralyzed. As he sat and pondered the potential annihilation of his month-long project, a glimmer of hope rang through the darkness. With a full pantry and chest freezer remaining, “this just adds another layer of challenge” he smirked. “This might be fun”.