Niche is one of those words that, to my liking, is spelled wrong. Shouldn’t it be “nitch?” Like stitch or switch or, well, you get the idea. But no, it’s “niche.” It means a little something that enhances a bigger something. Or something like that.
Within a business you can have more little businesses. They’re referred to as niche markets or niche businesses. Like a coffee bar in a grocery store. A travel agency in a hardware store. Something or some service that isn’t usually offered at a particular business but enhances a business to bring in more business for the business that added the niche business. Whew.
For the purpose of this little story, a niche is a small area that’s overlooked until it’s completely un-overlookable. Like my silverware drawer.
OK, it isn’t real silverware. It’s stainless flatware. I don’t know why it’s called flatware. The forks aren’t flat. The spoons aren’t flat. Even the knives have some sort of curve so they aren’t flat, either. But this whole thing is falling flat — let’s pick it up a bit.
My silverware drawer looks like what I imagine a whole slew of silverware drawers look like — knives, forks and spoons. Odds and ends, too. There are some tiny forks that are at the ready to use on pickles or crab or olives. Things I use my fingers on. Then there are old swizzle sticks from a drink here and there. A small gravy ladle, measuring spoons and on and on. But there’s something else in there.
Dirt. Dust. Fuzzy stuff that just — poof! — appears. Of course this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this extra stuff in the plastic “hold the forks et al. in their place” holder that sits in the drawer. Mine is blue.
Anyway, recently I took a day off and didn’t do dishes and found myself using the last fork in the drawer, and when I pulled it out there were these little piles of added attractions hiding in the corners of the fork’s home slot. So what do you think I did?
Ah, not yet. First, let’s just figure out where these niche dust bunnies come from. There’s supposed to be only clean, dry, ready-to-eat-from utensils in that drawer, right? Well, if that’s so, where do the little pieces of food particles that look like sand or toast crumbs come from? No articles of clothes get stuffed in the drawer between the big spoons and the little spoons, so where did the fuzz that looks like the stuff from my dryer lint trap come from?
I don’t comb my hair over the open silverware drawer, so I’ve not a clue where the hair that’s entwined in that far-to-the-left slot that holds the odds and ends happened to come from.
Ah, these are more of the questions of life where you can fill in whatever answers you feel fit the situation because sometimes there just isn’t an answer to fit the question. I wonder why that is? Ah, another question to answer one way or another.
But now your wait is over. Just what did I do with the small piles of hidden treasures I found when I took that last fork out of the tray? The fuzz, food, fine particles all laughing at me. Mocking my housekeeping skills. Well, I huffed, and I puffed, and I blew at them, that’s what I did. I blew the top corners, then the bottom corners. It all dispersed into a little cloud. Got some stuff in my left eye, too.
I will, of course, take the time to empty the whole drawer and wash each and every knife, fork, big spoon, little spoon, tiny fork, ladle, picks and shovels and all that I find in there. Every piece and the tray and the drawer, too. Should last until Thanksgiving when I’m sure we will at least once get down to the last fork!
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book ITY BITS is on Kindle. Share your thoughts with her at email@example.com.