The other day I came home from tutoring and popped my head into Noah's room to say hello.
"Hey," he added upon my departing. "There's some leftover chow mien downstairs in the living room, if you want some."
Picturing a nice paper bag containing a few of those white chow mien cartons filled with still-hot beef lo mien and chicken almond ding and chow yung fat, I graciously accepted Noah's kind offer. Some chow mien might be just the thing after a long day of explaining to kids why it's important they learn the definition of "lugubrious". However, when I got to the living room, I found no paper bag, no white cartons, and no still-hot beef, chicken or Asian actors. What I did find was a cold, half-finished plate of rice and meat sitting on the arm on the sofa.
Now I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth (whether or not that's what chow mien is made of), but I realized then that apparently a sliding scale of what constitutes "leftovers" these days. Back in my day, "leftovers" usually implied a fridge and Tupperware, or at least a countertop and some foil. But it these days, it seems, any of the following would be deemed appropriate expressions of leftover offering:
"Hey, I just bussed my dishes, but there are some leftovers in the sink for you."
"Hey, I just had popcorn in the living room. There might be some leftovers still under the couch."
"Hey, I just cooked Spaghetti sauce. You can probably get the leftovers off the oven with your tongue."
Anyone who knows me knows that the LAST thing I am is a food snob, but either Noah and I just have different definitions of "leftovers", or the paper bag and cartons he meant to left me had already been carried off by the possums who live in the alleyway next to our house.
I ate the chow mien: how did you expect this story to end? After all, I'll eat nearly anything that's not moving around or rotten. And in this latter case, sometimes I have to be talked out of it.