Hazel Finds A Kitchen

technologiesHazel Klepper had been house hunting for what felt like months now.

Every single house she saw, something felt wrong to her, and this annoyed her boyfriend to no end. He just couldn’t fathom what it was she was searching for, or what tiny little detail would derail their next purchase. The bathroom doesn’t get enough natural light? There isn’t a big enough backyard for the dog? It was starting to drive him mad. Yet, Hazel kept her calm, and she kept looking; responding to listings and meeting with realtors, going to open houses and surveying the area. Only, time and time again, to come away with a sense of disappointment. She’d never find what she was looking for. So what did Hazel want? She wanted a kitchen.

As a little girl, she spent a lot of time with her grandmother, who enjoyed cooking. Hazel would sit on the counter while her grandmother baked and told her stories, and sometimes she’d even get to help make dinner or make her grandpa some lunch. These were the happiest memories Hazel had. As she got older, she would sit in the kitchen late into the evening, just to not be at home and listen to her parents scream at one another, and trying to finish her homework. Sometimes her grandpa would stay up with her, help her with history or geography, and together they’d have an absolute blast, eating snacks and talking about schoolwork. When Hazel decided she wanted to go to school to become a chef, she asked her grandmother for her recipes, but her grandmother did her one better…she showed her how to cook. She took Hazel into her kitchen, her small kitchen with the red brick floor and the old bread box, and she showed her how to make every single thing she’d ever made for her to eat, and more.

And then, during Hazels sophomore year at college, her grandparents died, mere weeks apart from one another. Her grandmother went first, as a result of an ongoing cold, and her grandfather died two weeks later, simply from heartbreak. Hazel was there when the house was being set up for sale, and she took photos of the kitchen and vowed that, one day, she would have a kitchen just like this one. But despite all the meetings, all the houses, all the months searching, Hazel still hadn’t found her kitchen.

The house she pulled up to that crisp, fall, Thursday afternoon was small, but she didn’t mind that. She preferred cozy to overly large. The realtor, a nice woman with a bob haircut named Susan, met her at the door and together they went inside. Susan showed her the living room, the bathrooms, the bedrooms, the backyard, but all Hazel could feel was that this was yet another waste of time. When Susan finally showed her the kitchen, Hazel felt her heart skip a beat. This was it. The layout was almost exactly the same, give or take the position of the cabinets, and the color scheme was damn near identical. Hazel wouldn’t believe her eyes. Suddenly she didn’t care about the rest of the house, she was transported back to a feeling she hadn’t felt since childhood, and all that mattered from this point on was this kitchen. This was where she’d make dinners for her family, holiday meals for her relatives, desserts for her children. This was the place she would have a life. Hazel signed a check that afternoon and went to tell her boyfriend the good news. Sure, some of the other parts of the house needed some fixing up, but that was alright.

Because the kitchen…oh, the kitchen was perfect.

And for Hazel, that meant life would be perfect too.

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I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, you might like some other things I’ve done, like my 2015 novel “You Ruined Everything”, my podcast network “The Feel Bad Network” or my feed over at Ello. You can also find some published work for sale over at my Payhip , buy prints/stickers and more at my online store on Big Cartel, or support my work at my Patreon! Anything helps & is appreciated, thanks!


Bereavement BBQ

The other night, my girlfriend and I went to dinner at a burger restaurant in the mall near our house. With my fries, they gave me some BBQ sauce that was fantastic and delicious, so my girlfriend asked what brand it was, and our server told us. When we got home, my girlfriend looked up the brand and found their website, and on their website discovered “bereavement platters”, which was just an absolutely hilarious combination of words, to be honest. But, it made me think that there’s a part of funeral services nobody ever really talks about; catering.

I’ve been to a few funerals in my time, and I can’t remember a single time they were catered. I remember after my grandfathers funeral, we all went out to dinner at his favorite restaurant, but nothing was catered. Then again, I suppose you might need to have an actual wake in order to have funeral catering. Either way, it made me think about how, even before you’re in the ground, they’re making plans to eat at your funeral. Life goes on, even hours or a day after you’re gone. It makes me feel so insignificant, but not in a bad way for once. It makes me feel like, listen, you’re here while you’re here, experiencing what you experience, and once that’s over, it’s over, and life just keeps going. Everything we think is so important, so crucial, it really doesn’t mean anything in the end, at least not in the long term.

Yes we impact people, yes we change lives, yes we leave a legacy of some kind. But you know what’s more important than any of that?

Tiny 4 cheese quiches on doilies. That’s what.

But in all seriousness, funeral catering really hammered home to me just how fucking fleeting and unimportant all of this really is. All the things I worry about, all the things I hope to achieve, all the things I’ve failed at. It all fails to match up to the fact that my hopes, my dreams, my goals will one day be secondary to my future wife spending the day on the phone, making sure there’s enough cocktail weenies to go around at my wake. It puts everything into perspective, but in a really good way. It makes me not feel so bad about not accomplishing things, about failing at things, because you know what? Somebody’s most important decision one day will be what sort of drinks to serve when I kick it, and that’s pretty hilarious.

I may create a menu, in fact, so that my future wife knows exactly what to serve. My funeral may be the only thing in my life that I have total and complete say over how it goes, so why not plan it down to its every last detail before I die? I want lots of desserts, I want napkins folded like swans, I want peoples meals to be served on trashcan lids, because everything we eat is garbage, so why not be upfront about it?

So, via the odd realization of funeral catering, I feel like I’ve finally had a breakthrough of some kind, in which I don’t worry as much now about failing, or succeeding, and am just happy being, right here, right now.

Because one day I won’t be.

I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, you might like some other things I make, like my depressing webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, the satirical online newspaper of “Nowhere, US”, my podcast network “The Feel Bad Network” or my writing over at Medium. You can also find some published work for sale over at my Payhip.

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To Breakfast, Or Not To Breakfast, That Is The Question

How did we, as a species, arbitrarily come to agreement that breakfast consisted of eggs.

It’s amazing that we as a species could ever agree on anything, even something so insignificantly meaningless as breakfast, but somehow it just became a common, unspoken agreement. Eggs are breakfast food. We can’t even agree on big things like world peace or simply not murdering one another because someone parked funny. I was thinking about this while making eggs this morning, which is a rare feat for me as I never eat breakfast or use the stove. But standing there, staring down at these eggs hissing in the skillet, it just sort of dawned on me that we unanimously found eggs acceptable as the true breakfast food. That’s right. Breakfast gave me an existential crisis.

Across the world, there’s a million differing opinions ending in harassment, murder, pain, suffering, oppression and yet somehow, we all agree that breakfast consists of certain foods. If only we could apply that same sort of agreement to literally anything that matters. If only simple arguments or disagreements in relationships, places of work or family matters could be boiled down to the universal law we’ve assigned to breakfast food. My parents had me, despite my father being a raging alcoholic at the time and on and off of drugs, all while senselessly beating my mother. He eventually told me he’d come see me, and always left me alone on the weekends, either not showing up at all, or taking me to his place and then passing out for hours. My mother was addicted to pain medication at times, drank a bit and told me that there was something wrong with me, that I should just “try harder” to fit in, and at one point told me I should probably just kill myself already.

This is how my parents treated me. These people were my parents. People who’re supposed to love and protect the children they knowingly have of their own volition, and yet this is how they treated me. We can’t abide by the simple universal truth that parents should just unconditionally love their children, no matter who they end up being, even if they disagree with the life choices their children make.

Yet we can all agree that eggs are a breakfast food.

But I suppose the world can’t be that simple, can it. It has to be complex, otherwise it’d be devoid of meaning. Foreign policy and marital problems can’t be solved by something as simple as hashbrowns. But wouldn’t it be nice if it could be? Wouldn’t it be nice if we all just took a step back, realized we all, at one point or another in time, accepted that eggs are a breakfast food and go, “Hey…we all agreed on this. We can get along.” They say peace is impossible. I don’t think it’s impossible, but it is hard. Yet, we’ve shown time and time again that we do have the capacity to get along, to agree on things, to follow a certain line of thinking where we’re all okay with the outcome. If only it could be applied to everything really important.

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

I’m starting to think it might be a lot more important than that.