As they say, seek and ye shall find

Truro Daily News - - OPINION - Russell Wanger­sky Russell Wanger­sky’s col­umn ap­pears in Saltwire publi­ca­tions across At­lantic Canada. He can be reached at russell.wanger­[email protected]­ — Twit­ter: @wanger­sky

It’s about or­der and shape. About how things work to­gether, and about the lines that you see and the lines that you don’t see.

I know ex­actly what the potato masher looks like: black han­dle with two sil­ver dots that hold the han­dle to­gether, the round sil­ver-colour head with its rec­tan­gu­lar holes.

But can I find it?


It’s got­ten bad enough that, while the potatoes are still boil­ing away, I start to worry about whether I’ll find the masher. About how long that search will take.

I can find the veg­etable peeler per­fectly. In fact, there are three: a bro­ken or­ange plas­tic-han­dled one, held to­gether by tightly-wrapped string, an all-metal one and a strange in­ven­tion that you slide over one fin­ger, which lets you peel potatoes like you were pat­ting a small, peel-shed­ding pet. (I hate that one.) Not only can I find a veg­etable peeler be­fore I find the potato masher, I can ac­tu­ally find all three of them be­fore I find the masher.

Some­times, I start emp­ty­ing the drawer of things that are not the masher, in the vain hope that, by lim­it­ing the other op­tions, the masher will sud­denly make it­self known.

One of the problems is that there are two uten­sil draw­ers, one on top for things that are used reg­u­larly, and an­other near the floor for things that aren’t used as of­ten. Some­times things mi­grate be­tween the two draw­ers, which means that when I can’t spot the potato masher, I even­tu­ally de­cide that it must have been moved to the lower drawer. (It has never moved to the lower drawer, but I al­ways de­fault to that pos­si­bil­ity. So, I search the lower drawer, where I never, ever find it.)

If any­one’s in earshot, I am not above com­plain­ing that “some­thing seems to have hap­pened to the potato masher.” Noth­ing has ever hap­pened to the potato masher.

Even­tu­ally, I find it — ex­actly in the mid­dle of the drawer, where it should have been ob­vi­ous all along. It’s like it just swims into fo­cus in front of my eyes.

I’ve tried to fig­ure out what it is about the masher that makes it so hard for me to find — the best I can come up with is that, for me, know­ing what it looks like isn’t enough. Some­thing about its shape and size and colour cam­ou­flages it from my par­tic­u­lar sight.

In other words, it’s not you, Mr. Masher. It’s me.

It’s worth keep­ing in mind that you might al­ways be able to find the spat­ula or the big knife you’ll need to cut a squash in two, but you’ll have to sched­ule in some ex­tra time and ef­fort for find­ing the masher.

You know what I think?

I think oc­ca­sional blind­ness isn’t lim­ited to kitchen draw­ers.

There are a host of is­sues where I find I need help, from un­der­stand­ing In­dige­nous rail­way block­ades to the dif­fer­ence be­tween elected and hered­i­tary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en, to how to bal­ance com­pet­ing is­sues in West Coast pipeline dis­putes, to gen­der dif­fer­ences, to the in­evitable dif­fer­ences be­tween peo­ple on the right side of the spec­trum and peo­ple on the left.

I think we should all take into ac­count that we may have blind spots we don’t rec­og­nize and pre­fer to sim­ply gloss over with ide­ol­ogy or by soak­ing up as many like-minded opin­ions as we can, in­stead of tak­ing the time to con­sider that we might ac­tu­ally be the prob­lem.

Some­times, we all need help see­ing things dif­fer­ently.

Be­cause the potato masher is there all along, even if I’m un­able to see it right away. And even­tu­ally, I’ll find it.

It all takes an ef­fort, folks. It all takes an ef­fort.

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