What I Learned From Coleslaw (A Lesson On Taking Charge)

This story is about coleslaw and taking charge (don’t worry, I’ll explain).

My office building is a bit unconventional in that my desk is technically in the kitchen area, which means that while I don’t have my own window, I do get to enjoy such things as aromas of coffee brewing, microwaved leftovers dinging, and the sultry white noise of our electric tea kettle.

It also means that I am the first (and in this particular case the only) person to notice if something has gone bad in our refrigerator. In this particular case, the culprit was a small container of what I can only assume is coleslaw. I say “assume” because in all honesty I have no idea what this substance was, considering the state of decomposition it was in when I finally dug its container from behind a wall of Tupperware.


What I think it once looked like (credit: Thriving Vegetarian).

Its stench was all-consuming. Every time the door opened it assaulted my senses. It seeped into bottles of water and even takeout containers, until everything within its path was tainted.

And I let it sit in there for weeks. Weeks! I assumed that it belonged to another coworker who would in turn take care of it, but no such luck. It occurred to me that it had belonged to a coworker who had recently changed offices, or that no one wished to own up to stowing (and abandoning) a bit of rotten food, or some other such nonsense. It appeared that I would have to take matters into my own hands.

Finally, one fine morning I marched all of three feet to the fridge, tore open the door, fished out the pungent offender and unceremoniously tossed it into our garbage can. The smell lingered for a few more days until at last it was gone and I could rest easy that my hummus and pita would no longer take on essence of coleslaw.

Now, you could read this as just an instance of food gone bad, but I like to think of it as a learning experience.

You can’t be afraid to take charge of things. In many cases (whether it’s forgotten garbage or not), you’ll have rely on yourself if you want something to get done. It is not always reasonable to expect others to do it for you, or to wait for others to decide how to act.

To quote Ferris Bueller, “Only the meek get pinched. The bold survive.” Don’t be a meek coleslaw slave. Be a bold master of the refrigerator.

 Noelle is an email copywriter (yes, that is a thing) and occasional freelance writer. When she’s not typing or running, she can be found eating, sleeping, quoting a movie, or curled up in an easy chair with her nose stuck in a book. Sometimes she tweets too.

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