The Black Plate, Chapter 1

The name of this blog is not creative. It refers specifically to an inside joke between Mark and me, and another married couple with whom we are close. We'll call them Peter and Sarah. We are the only four people on the planet who find this joke hilarious, but that's the joy of these kinds of jokes. You can collectively laugh your asses off while other people look at you and wonder what you smoked/imbibed/ingested.

A few months after Mark and I first bought our house, our next door neighbors (a revolving door of female renters attending Seattle Pacific University), came by with a plate of cookies to welcome us to the neighborhood. A black plastic resin Ikea-caliber plate of the variety one has when in college.  It was very cute. They deeply underestimated just how sorely lacking we are in neighborly skills.

At first, I vowed to reciprocate and return the plate with a fresh batch of cookies. But then days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. Too much time had passed for us to actually return the plate (and thus tacitly admitting that we are jerks) and suddenly we found ourselves with a random black plastic plate that was too decent to just throw away but not nice enough to actually hang on to. So like the mature adults we are, we decided to pawn it off on our friends.

Sure enough, next time we went to dinner at Sarah and Peter's, I baked a cake, slapped that sucker on the black plate, and then insisted that they keep the remainder of the cake. On the plate.

A few weeks later at the next dinner, the plate came back to us. We tried to politely decline. We explained that we didn't want it. We explained that we couldn't give it back to the original owners. We tried to refuse. It didn't work. And thus a tradition was born.

For the past three years, the plate has been traded back and forth. The means of transference have become increasingly sneaky, from hiding it in a gift bag to slipping it into a cupboard. The last transfer occurred at a restaurant during brunch, when the plate was served to us with a scone on top.

We have only two words for Sarah and Peter: GAME ON.


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