Where do you go for inspiration? I go to the refrigerator. If I’m feeling at a loss for anything, like I can’t find my black gloves, I’ll open the refer door and, no, I generally don’t find the missing gloves, they’re usually in the bread bin, but I will find something that makes me forget that I’m at a loss.

The something is comfort. I don’t know what it is, but staring into that bright box, one hand braced on the outside of the refrigerator and the other swinging the door back and forth, has a calming effect on me.

There’s rarely anything in there to eat in an emergency. Jars of assorted pickles only appeal on occasion, like when I’m pregnant, which hasn’t happened in awhile. Those pickles would be covered in mold except that even bacteria won’t go in those jars.

Bacteria are a funny thing. I feel like I’m catching a cold right now because I’ve got a scratchy, dry throat. I guess I’ve got the swine flu. That’s caused by a virus, you know, scientific name: the swine flu virus. Viruses seem to like to cause damage to your lungs and their associated apparatuses.  Bacteria, on the other hand, seems intent on making you upchuck or get a festering, oozing, swollen, and I would say puss-ie but I’m not sure how to spell it, infection from an innocent cut.

I once tripped over a vine at Girl Scout camp, and it made a little cut on the front of my ankle. That thing swelled up and got so red and puss infested that I had to go to the doctor and get a tetanus shot in the bottom. Gosh that hurt. I limped around for two days because the nurse reared back and aimed that syringe at my cheek, and it went right through the muscle and lodged in the bone. The nurse and doctor were yanking and pulling, trying to get it out, sweat beading on their faces and dripping to the floor as they strained, me screaming like a banshee birthing a porcupine. Yes, I’m kidding. But it did hurt like a son of a gun.

Bacteria aren’t anything to mess with. That being said, yesterday I made a huge pot of fresh vegetable bean soup, and, what with the time change and everything, I left the pot on the stove all night. This morning I promptly put it in the refrigerator, but I knew those bacteria had been partying in there all night. I saw some swimming in the broth this morning when I opened the lid. They dove for cover behind green beans and carrots, but they were in there — I could see the splashes.

The all-knowing Google said I should pour the whole pot down the drain, ladle and all, and I started to, but I couldn’t bring myself to waste all the food and time and energy, and besides it was a rare batch of soup for me—it was fit to eat. I had a giant bowl for lunch, figuring I might as well make it worth my while if I was going to be heaving all evening.

Knock on wood, so far so good. But I do have this puss-ie thing on my leg I’m going to keep a very close watch on. No sense in having those bacteria in my belly joining forces with the ones on my leg, with the swine flu virus playing tag team. BACK OFF, BACTERIA! VAMOOSE VIRUS! I showed them who’s boss. I’ll be fine now.