Isn’t it a good little mental shake-up to notice unexpected things in surprising contexts? I remember the first time this happened to me: I was at a friend’s house in elementary school. Her family had the same set of dishes as my grandma. Grandma’s dishes! In Colleen’s house? Whoah!
Yesterday was one of those days of things in surprising contexts. It started with a trip to the farmers’ market, where I planned to buy some pork sausage from a farmer from Maryland. I walked away from her stand with a bag of chicken feet.
It turns out, she wasn’t carrying sausage yesterday, but she told me what she did have. Her inventory included the chicken-stock-lover’s dream—for just $2 a pound! (Grossed out? More here.)
When I got home, I created my day’s first scene of a “thing in a surprising context #1”: Ziploc of chicken feet in my freezer.
Later, a friend and I attended an embassy event—a reception for alumni of the university where I studied abroad.
This led to “thing in a surprising context #2”: There, on a shelf of the coat room at the New Zealand Embassy (technically Kiwi soil) sat a bright orange foam cheesehead. Go Pack–Go!
When I returned to my apartment last night, I discovered a package from my dad, who just returned from his elk hunting trip Out West, in the mail room. I cracked open the box, and a spicy-sweet waft of Montana rose to my nostrils.
Out of the box slid yesterday’s “thing in a surprising context #3”: a gallon-sized plastic bag of sage. “From Cinnabar Basin,” he’d added to the margin of his note.
Things in surprising contexts: they say those little departures from the expected are good for your brain. I’d say, aside from being entertaining, yesterday’s things in surprising contexts were also pretty good for my heart.