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The world's trusted guide to sustainable and ethical fashion

What Do You Get When You Mix Agave Nectar, Quinoa Flour and Blood?


I was crashing on my friend D.’s place while I apartment searched. I had packed so quickly that I had about two month’s worth of clothing plus all my food piled in a corner of her room. So when the time came to move all my stuff out and down to my new digs, it was an affair.

It took me two trips to get all my stuff from one apartment to the other in a taxi. (No judging, please. It was difficult enough as it was.) After the second trip, D. helped me haul my stuff into the tiny courtyard. I placed one reusable grocery bag filled with various comestibles on top of a suitcase. It was pretty heavy, filled with antique jars of flours, seeds, grains, and nuts. I turned to unlock the front door, and I heard D. yelp, “Oh sh–!” and then a crash.

I turned to find the suitcase sideways on the ground and the grocery bag vomiting its contents onto the sidewalk right smack in the center of the little gated entrance. I poked the bag with my toe and heard the tinkle of broken glass. A viscous flow of agave nectar bridged the lip of the bag, flowing out over top of the quinoa flour and sesame seeds. It was a big, big bottle of agave nectar. I had bought the economy size but had never gotten around to actually using any of it, and now it was all over the sidewalk, creating a sticky glue.

“Oh my God, I don’t even know what to do with this!” waving my hands about ineffectively, staring at the situation in front of me. “Seriously …. what do I do? D.. Help.” I was half laughing, have freaking out.

“OK, OK,” said. “Give me that bag,” she instructed, taking one of my duffel. “I’ll take some of this stuff upstairs. Just wait here, OK? Is your apartment in the front or the back?”

“Back,” I told her, handing her the keys. She let herself in and I moved over to the bag to attempt a cleanup, but immediately sliced the webbing between my fingers open. I popped up and called out, “D.! Help me!” but she already inside the door and just cheerfully waved on her way up the stairs.

So there I was, standing in my little courtyard, with agave nectar and quinoa flour smeared on my hands, plus some sesame seeds, and dripping blood all over the steps. I was staring at the bag trying to figure out what to do when I heard one half of a couple walking toward me say something. I gave them a hapless look that I hoped communicated, “Leave me alone.”

“Oh, she didn’t see it,” the boyfriend said. I gave him a questioning look.

“The baby rat,” he said.

Great. This kept getting better and better. They continued on their way and D. came hustling out the front door. “Oh my God, they even put spices on the counter for you!!” I looked at her weird. I mean, my apartment came furnished, but I didn’t remember there being spices. I lifted my hand to show her, and she squeaked with horror. She gave me another bag that she had unloaded onto the kitchen counter upstairs to put my hand in so I wouldn’t drip everywhere, and we managed to cart everything else up the three flights of steps, with me carrying stuff over my arms instead of holding the straps. D. started trying to open the door at the top of the stairs.

“Um, D., that isn’t my apartment.”

“Yes, it is. I put all your stuff in there.”

“It is not. That is my apartment.” I pointed to the other door at the end of the hallway. “Oh crap,” she said. “Well, your stuff is inside there!”

“Get it out!” I cried. She continued to cram her key in the lock to no avail. We finally gave up on that, and got all my stuff inside my own apartment. “Whoops,” I said, looking out the window. “My apartment is in the front, not the back. My bad.”

So I wrote a note out on the back of a receipt for my neighbor. “Hi, this is your neighbor, Alden. There was a mishap and half of my stuff is now inside your apartment. Here’s my number, call me and I will come retrieve it.” And I stuck it on her door. I also put some honey on my cut (here’s why) and put a band-aid on it.

When D. and I came back out the front door, my landlord was out front with her husband trying to scoop the mess into a dustbin. I apologized profusely, but she waved me off and said she had a hose she could wash it away with.

Well, my neighbor did not come home that night, nor the next. Finally, on Saturday night I got a call at 11pm, while I was with some friends. “Uh, hi. I think I’m your neighbor? And your stuff is in my apartment?”

“Oh my God! Hi! I’m so sorry, yeah, my stuff is in there. It was a mistake, just dump it in the hallway and I’ll grab it when I get back.” Meanwhile, I was making cut-it-out motions to my friends, who were all giggling and laughing.

My new neighbor, Asti, sounded pretty freaked out. But after I assured her that the door had firmly locked behind D., and perhaps she had just not pulled it shut behind her, she said I could stop by on Sunday and grab everything.

What an auspicious start to my new living situation. Oh, well! My hand is healed, the last sticky sesame seeds have been swept out of my apartment, I did in fact get all my belonging back, and I think Asti thinks I’m not a total creeper, so all is well that ends well.

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