The other day I got it in my head I needed every chef’s knife in my kitchen sharpened. For reasons I won’t try to explain (mostly because there are no good ones), I have a chef’s knife collection that would make any Michelin chef jealous. Several are completely off limits, just there to look pretty, still as pristine and razor sharp as the day they arrived. The ones that do get used don’t do any heavy labor, since Seamless is my cooking option of choice. (For the uninitiated, Seamless is an app from which you can order from scores of local restaurants… seamlessly. Also knifelessly).
I guess I keep telling myself that one day I”ll take a class or something and All Will Be Revealed and I’ll suddenly become an amazing, knife-juggling chef, like those in Japanese steakhouses. But I don’t care enough about this vision to make any move in its direction, so instead I just buy chefs’ knives.
Anyway, we’re not talking logic here, just weird OCD tendencies. So knives had to be sharpened. I ruled out the option of me doing it right off the bat. I once tried to sharpen my mother’s prized scissors (which I remembered from every single time she made me a dress for one of my Barbies when I was a little girl) and I dulled it beyond repair. I still have unbearable remorse over that. So no. Sure, I could take them the the local Chef’s Central, which offers the service, but would it be me if it was easy? No. I Googled the top knife-sharpening guides, all of which recommended shipping them off the an elite knife-sharpening professional. One promised that I’d be able to slice a falling piece of paper in mid-air. I’m not sure when I would ever need to do that, but it sounded awesome.
This is where my daughter would pause to interject, “First world problems.”
Anyway, I found one out of state, which meant I had to box them up and ship them off. So box them up and ship them off I did, carefully covering up the tips and blades with sheaths of cardboard, then smothering it all in a sea of bubble wrap and taking it down to my local post office.
But they showed up at the door again a few days later, unshipped, carrying ominous warning stickers from the post office, including a particularly unfriendly one with a red line over a sketch of a plane. Did someone think I was trying to bring down an airliner by shopping my Wusthofs off to get sharpened? How would that plot play out, exactly? Would I have to ship myself separately so we could be reunited in the belly of the plane?
I tossed the box in the car and forgot about it for a couple of days. Then, on my way home from shopping, I remberered as I drove past a neighboring town’s more centrally-located post office, and I pulled over.
There, I got the interrogation consisting of equal parts disdain and suspicion that only a postal employee could administer.
“Why did this go back to you?”
“I was hoping you could tell me that.”
“Well, you’re supposed to drop off boxes with a clerk. Can’t just leave them in the box.”
“I did drop it off with a clerk. Then and again now.”
“No, you didn’t.”
“I actually did. And I’m here right now.”
“Well, why are you here and not at the original post office where you sent it?”
“Because I’ve been driving with it in my car and I was coming home from shopping I remembered and I stopped. It’s still a Federal system, right?” By now I was getting pissy.
She did not confirm the federal-ness of the post office. Instead she punched some numbers, eyes half-lidded, watching me for sudden moves.
“Does this contain anything liquid, hazardous or flammable?”
“What do you consider hazardous?” I realized only after saying it that that was the wrong answer.
“Liquid, hazardous or flammable?”
“Definitely not liquid or flammable. They’re chef’s knives. Is that why it was sent back?”
“Just answer the question, ma’am.”
“Ummm…no?” Surely the Federal marshals were about to emerge from the back.
She gave me a look of boredom and contempt. “On the screen,” she said, as if talking to a dim child.
I punched in no. I waited for sirens. She handed me a receipt instead. Just like that, my brush with arms smuggling came to an end. But I’m sure the incident has been added to my dossier.