Last night I thought I had broken my favorite glass. I walked into the kitchen in the dark (still refusing glasses) and put it on the kitchen sink, then heard a loud, sinister “clink”. Thinking nothing at first I began to walk out but then stopped dead in my tracks. What if I had cracked my favorite glass, the last of a set of 4, most likely irreplaceable glasses, or at least way too expensive to replenish with my budget. So I went back into the kitchen and turned on the light. With a huge sigh of relief, and acknowledgement of knucklehead manuever, I saw that it had hit the side of the cast iron skillet…but remained intact!
I began to think about the glass and that my attachment is ridiculous. I thought I had gotten over that whole “attachment” thing to material possession when someone stole my grandfathers 1940’s Oyster Perpetual Rolex from my home. It didn’t fit me properly but I didn’t mind. It was all I had from a man I had never met, a man my mother tells me I would have loved. She tells me we would have been “thick as thieves” together, because he had a penchant for hats and breaking into song. Yes, I have those “qualities”. I have beautiful old photos of him, he was a dashing man for his time, a natty dresser…for a dentist. A dentist in Hollywood in the 30’s and 40’s…can you imagine? There are stories of one of the Marx Brothers being a patient and chasing nurses down the hall…but the watch was all I had, that I felt had his spirit.
After the horror of that loss I gave in to non-attachment. It’s silly really. The watch didn’t make the man. I still have my mother’s memories and photos, but even if the photos burn or vanish into thin air, he was real at one time.
As for the glass, I just like the way it feels in my hand and I think I cherish it because it is the last one (also it says something on the side that would make some of my friends furious). I will tell you how it became the last one because the story is too weird not to share.
I’ve done my fair share of house sitting, and only once did I break a glass because it was stuck in the dishwasher (I don’t have a dishwasher) and as I tried to pry it loose it snapped in two. I was horrified. It was a glass beer mug that said some beers name on it, wasn’t an antique or expensive, and had probably been given at a car wash. The owners told me not to worry that it was just a trashy old glass. But what if that trashy old glass was a favorite?
A few years ago I lived in Ireland for 2 months (another grand story for sure) and it was during the holiday season. My mother was off to visit her other children on the east coast, and she needed a dog sitter. (I will not go into the importance of such a person, that too is another story.) We found a friend of a friend who had been freezing his behind off in a trailer up Topanga Canyon so he was happy to be paid to care for a sweet dog, have food, a warm bed, etc.
When my mother returned she wrote me a long email (she is a great writer) and told this me this:
“The house sitter (he shall go nameless) somehow broke 3 of our set of 4 favorite glasses, and your great grandmothers 100-year-old decanter was shattered under a table. When I asked him (by email) he mumbled something about it, was sorry, but hadn’t said anything in a note, etc. I am bereft”
Now this dude wasn’t 25 he was 45 and yes, I knew he was a bit of a stoner but I had no clue he was a buffoon. How do you break 3 glasses and not tell the owner? How do you break a CLEARLY beautiful antique decanter…and leave it in pieces on the floor? I’ll tell you how, you are STONED OUT OF YOUR GOURD, or just an idiot. Personally I think there even might have been “intent”. Sorry.
Oh yes and the dog was sick.
I felt for my mother and I had loved the decanter even more than the glasses. It was a gorgeous bit of craftsmanship that I rarely see today. Fine etched lines circled the glass, intricate designs of flowers, etc. Sigh.
That same year a friends dog had come over and it’s tail hit the other irreplaceable ancient decanter (this one would have taken your breath away) and it smashed to bits. The owner didn’t seem too upset, and gave my mom a fruit basket in return. Um…yeah…
What’s funny (and there is some humor here) is that from time to time I open a random drawer in the house, and there sit the 2 stoppers from the broken decanters. Decanters that had been in my family for generations, things I had drawn many times. They sit quietly collecting dust but still are still quite pretty to behold, and hold.
Attachment is a sticky wicket as they say. The death of someone close or a pet, feels like you’ve lost something special forever, but you haven’t. Everything dies, breaks or gets stolen at some point because nothing really belongs to us. We clutch people, cars, shoes (for some), book’s (for others) as if holding them tighter will keep us happy but we all know that simply isn’t true, is it?
I’m still learning to let go and last night was a test. The glass is intact for now but I know it will leave at some point, or I will. Are you listening to me? I just spoke of a glass as though it were corporeal…