Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pie Servers Do Not Equal Happiness

I had another Lingering Divorce Moment yesterday. Actually, it was more like a Tearful Hysteria Moment, but who am I to argue over semantics?

This past weekend I made a chicken pot pie, in a pie dish and everything. It took 1 1/2 hours of prep time (yes, really), and then another 50 minutes in the oven. So at 8:30 pm, 2 1/2 hours after I started cooking, I was pretty darn hungry. Faced with a meal in a pie dish, I logically searched for a pie server. You know, like this. I couldn't find one anywhere. I looked in the Drawer for Everyday Cooking Utensils. I looked in the Drawer for Less Often Used Cooking Utensils. I even looked in the Drawer for Cooking Utensils I've Never Actually Used along with Miscellaneous Junk, even though I knew I had used the pie server before. I couldn't find it anywhere. So I finally sliced into the pot pie with a knife and scooped out a slice with an offset spatula I usually reserve for icing cakes (curiously stored in the Drawer for Cooking Utensils I've Never Actually Used along with Miscellaneous Junk, when it *clearly* should have been in the Drawer for Less Often Used Cooking Utensils, but that's a whole other issue). 

I sat down and started eating, and then it dawned on me: my ex-husband took the pie server. He brought it with him when we moved in together, and it went with him when he moved out. It was entirely appropriate that he took it. It didn't bother me when it went with him. It didn't even bother me when I sat down to eat my pot pie.

It did, however, bother me Monday morning. Officially two weeks from my 30th birthday, and I was an almost-30-year-old girl without a pie server. Worse, I was an almost-30-year-old girl without a pie server but with an ex-husband. I burst into tears at my desk and cried, silently, off and on for over an hour. While my coworkers went about redecorating our communal area on the other side of my cubicle wall, hanging prints of our best work and discussing the ideal placement of printers vs. refrigerators, I was silently crying at my desk over a pie server.

My boss came by my desk a little while later to follow up on a question I had asked her earlier. She could tell something was wrong and asked if I was okay; I explained about the pie server and promptly burst into tears. "I don't think this is really about the pie server," she said. Well, no, I agreed, but it was about the fact that at almost 30, I wasn't where I wanted to be in my life. She nodded, and then she said something really simple, but really true.

"No, but you're closer. You're not in an unhappy marriage anymore."

I didn't really absorb the meaning behind her statement at the time. I just sort of nodded and agreed, then tried to turn the conversation back to work. I didn't absorb it later in the afternoon, and to be honest, I'm not sure I've really absorbed it now. But I do recognize it to be true. If I were still married to my ex-husband - even if I had that pie server (stored in the appropriate drawer, of course) - I would not be any happier, nor would I be any closer to where I want to be at 30. In fact, I would probably be less happy, and less happy also happens to be further away from where I want to be.

Pie servers do not equal happiness. Pie servers do not equal achievement. Pie servers do not equal success, or love, or stability, or a good life. Pie servers do equal the ability to serve pie more easily, and they should be valued for this (because really, who doesn't love pie?). But I would trade any pie server any day to be just this much closer to where I want to be. And that is something that I should value enough to remind myself of every day.


Anonymous said...

I really wish I had a pie server to give you (if only to make serving pie a more delightful experience)!

Amy in Austin said...

This is an awesome post!! I'm struggling with this very feeling as my youngest sibling is getting married this week. Being the only single child at Christmas this year? Not looking forward to it. But it's better than being in an unhappy marriage. I will keep reminding myself of that.

Unknown said...

I agree, it's better to be missing those things than to be in an unhappy marriage. I'm 41 and I'm not where I want to be either, but at least I'm no longer in an unhappy marriage, and that's a step in the right direction.

And if it makes you feel any better, I don't have a pie server either and to make matters worse, I broke my wooden cooking spoon.

fortunecookiejunkie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fortunecookiejunkie said...

I call "dibs" on getting Erin a pie server for her birthday, because clearly no 30-year-old should be without a pie server with which to eat an amazing chicken pot pie, or any other kind of pie.

Katherine said...

I kind of heart your boss right now. And I second Single Blonde's comment. This weekend I'm going to my younger cousin's wedding, which now makes 4 of my younger siblings/cousins to get married. Almost kinda sucks, but mostly, who besides my grandmother cares? Every day you get a little closer to happiness and peace, while moving further from nasty things like resentment, boredom, and misery. I'm super proud of you. Awesome post.

Julie said...

I'm 36. Have 3 kids and a marriage. But no pie server. I used to have a cake holder thingy, but alas... And I don't have a slip or pearls. I'm 16 kinds of a failure.

Scoop your pot pie with a shovel, a bucket or even a Solo cup. Be proud of where you are. I know I'm proud of where you are.

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