Around the House: Expiration Anxiety 

For that matter, other dates are starting to malfunction, too. It seems as if every three months I sift through the medicine cabinet, and still I consistently find medications that are two years past their expiration dates. And no sooner do I toss a bag of pre-made salad in the crisper than the "best if used before" date has come and gone, and the stuff has degenerated into compost-in-a-bag. Then there are bananas, a food that goes bad so fast that you have to eat them while you're in the checkout line.

My wife, Stacy, has been no help sorting this out, by the way. She insists that the calendars and the clocks and the produce are correct, and that we should be decorating and going to holiday parties and buying holiday gifts with money we don't have (because we've skipped three months, that's six paychecks that didn't come in, which explains our bank account totals).

Stacy says it just feels like time is going by more quickly as I get older, and that I need to relax and learn to live in the present. But how can I live in the present when we're roaring through it so fast that it makes my eyes water and spit fly out of my mouth?

Expiration dates used to bring me reassurance. No matter how bad things were at any given moment, I was always comforted that the dairy producers felt so confident in our future that they were willing to put a hard date out there on the milk container — in ink, no less.

Now expiration dates cause only anxiety. I know that soon we will purchase our annual quart of eggnog, and before we've had time to draw a cup to toast the holidays, these days will have passed, and the holiday cheer will have fermented and bubbled its way out of the carton, leaving only egg sludge behind.

So now I'm gathering up all the calendars to bring back to the store. The exchange should go smoothly — I found the receipt, and it says they'll accept returns until Nov. 15. That's just around the corner. Right?




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