When Tami invited me to her Tupperware party, my heart skipped a beat. My own set was more than a dozen years old, and while the stuff never breaks, mine now looked craggy and tired. In fact, it looked a lot like me. I marked the date on the kitchen calendar with a big star.
“What’s a Tupperware party?” my youngest asked innocently.
“It’s a party where you buy Tupperware,” I said. She looked at me as if some of my brain matter had shifted and fallen into my liver. There was no way for me to make her understand that after 15 years of motherhood, where excitement is often measured in finding “key buy specials” on the Super-Sized aisle at the grocery store, a Tupperware party is exciting.
Naturally, I arrived late to the bash, due to an emergency involving one of my kids and an unauthorized, self-inflicted, multi-level haircut. Since I had missed Tami’s dynamic demonstration of the products, how could I choose among such marvels as the deli keeper sets, hamburger freezer sets, “Modular Mates” for non-perishables, and anti-microbial cutting boards? All the guests had their faces screwed in concentration inside various catalogs. They looked like they were studying for a final exam.
I got dizzy just looking at all the stuff on the table, and so began to study one catalog. Every page burst with colorful photos of approximately 4 billion Tupperware products, all of which suddenly seemed essential. I never realized a Chip ‘n Dip set could be so seductive.
I sidled over to my friend Nancy, who was riveted to a summer catalog as if she might discover the meaning of life in its pages. “Nancy, do you think I should get this lunch ‘n dish set with red tops or the blue tops?”
“Can’t help you,” Nancy said. “I’ve got enough trouble trying to decide between the round versus rectangular sandwich keepers and between the “One Touch Reminder” Canister Set or the see-through canisters. I’ll probably be here till midnight.”
I am old enough to remember the days when the most complicated thing about Tupperware was remembering to “burp” the lids to ensure freshness. But this! This was wretched plastic excess, in Flame Red, Sunset Orange, Sunshine Yellow and Passion Pink. Even worse, refrigerator Tupperware now came with little vents for airflow, keeping food fresh longer, as well as instructions about how to store carrots (one vent open) versus cucumbers (both vents open).
What about a vegetable salad? I was afraid to ask, as it probably involved rotating the open vents on an hourly basis. These food keepers promised miracles, including salads that would defy the passage of time. Celery that you could tie into a French knot would be a thing of the past.
Tami saw my utter confusion. Unhelpfully, she whispered in my ear, “Tupperware will transform your life!” This powerful suggestion convinced me that my life might almost not be worth living unless I got the metric measuring set (even though I don’t speak metric), a new silicone spatula and a freezer set so smart that it plays Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony when you open the freezer on the “use-by” date.
Hypnotized by Tami’s promise, I started ordering Tupperware like a woman possessed. I blew the money I had been saving for a weekend getaway with a girlfriend, investing instead in a commitment to plastic food keepers that would outlive my grandchildren. Tami could hardly contain her excitement. After all, the more I bought, the more free stuff she got. When I capped my order with three Tigger Lunch Sets, she nearly fainted. She was now only a salad spinner away from winning a Caribbean cruise.
After turning over my check, I went home in a daze. A week later, the UPS man arrived with many enormous boxes. Like someone with a hangover, I had no recollection of having ordered half the stuff. I now have enough Tupperware to store every product known to agriculture. My refrigerator is a sea of blue-tinted containers of every conceivable size, and my pantry is a study in hunter green. It is all very orderly.
Unfortunately, I still have a lot more Tupperware than I have food. However, I have found that Tupperware keeps clean socks smelling fresh for several weeks at a time. And you don’t even have to remember to open the vents.