Broken Glass

Sunday, January 2, 2005

I broke a glass today in the Castle. This is the first anything that I’ve broken since moving in. The glass, a retro-style tall glass from Pottery barn or Pier-1 or one of those yuppie home-design stories which I frequent because I’m a self-acknowledged yuppie (although, as the years go by, I’m becoming more of an uppie than a yuppie)—fell from the counter near the sink. The glass wouldn’t have been there if I kept up with my dishwashing responsibilities, but this week’s low feelings and easy distractions lowered my home-front productivity.

If you’re not a klutz then you probably won’t understand how this could have happened. I’m in the kitchen, shaking out pills from my vitamin bottles. After visiting the doctor last week, he reminded me that I should take my one-a-day vitamins, and he suggested I try an extra magnesium pill for my headaches. (There is early research on the benefits of magnesium for migraines, of which my anecdotal evidence doesn’t support.) The magnesium pill consists of a dissolvable plastic-like capsule, the type you can unscrew and shake out the drug. The one-a-day vitamin is a green pill that tastes surprisingly good when sucked. It reminds me of the Flintstone vitamins I took as a kid without the grape flavoring. I haven’t tried to suck on the vitamin for long, still fearing that once I get through the outer layer, I’ll find an inner chalky core. One would think that the glass I knocked over was the one I used to swallow (or eat, as Doolies says) the pills, but there’s a fatal assumption in that thought. As is my custom when I’m not in front of people who will judge me as a slob or uncouth individual or have second thoughts about drinking a glass of OJ from a carton that I had repeatedly slobbered, I drank straight from the carton, no glass necessary.

After I finished “eating” my vitamins, I reached over to the sink and my arm brushed the glass. What I was doing with my arm near the sink, I don’t know. The shattering glass destroyed all short-term memories before the crash as my brain focused on minimizing the damage and protecting my bear feet. My arm, as are most of limbs, can be spastic and uncoordinated. There are times when my body is a well-oiled machine, reacting to all stimuli with a precision that is scary. To borrow from my basketball lexis, at those times I am “in the zone” or “on fire,” where I can pluck a falling glass from mid-air and toss it back onto the counter without breaking conversation. This was not one of those times. After my arm knocked the glass, I watched it fall. It wasn’t a proverbial slow-motion fall, but I remember having enough time to think about the glass’s fall and why I wasn’t doing anything about it, like reaching out and making a spectacular catch. It could be that those thoughts occurred after the glass fell to the ground and shattered, but I like to think that I had those thoughts while it was falling and if I felt more coordinated, more in the zone, I would have snatched it before hitting the ground. The glass shattered and spread across the kitchen floor. I put on shoes, picked out the big pieces, swept up the smaller pieces, and imagined the shelf in my cupboard with seven large glasses.

This morning and afternoon, the weather in Seattle was as close to perfect as it can get during the winter. It was warm (for the Northwest), the sun shone, and the mountains were hazy but visible. On winter days, my neighborhood has a wonderful wood-burning smell. I took a trip to a local lunch, a small corner luncheon that is the only restaurant within a five-minute walk from the Castle, and was disappointed yet again. I keep going there with the hopes that they will improve the food, and create a dreamy go-to lunch destination, as I found in Wolfgang Puck Express in Houston (which was right next to my go-to bucks of stars) and the local diner in NYC (of which there were many near to everything—this is NYC we’re talking about). But it was not to be. The food again found me a bit nauseous and if not for the wonderful walk, it would have been a wasted trip.

During my meal (and my requisite bathroom visit), I finished the second-to-last DFW story. This was not a good story. It was painfully long and the ending was trite and disappointing. I almost gave up on it many times, and looking back, I wish I had. As I said before, the last story is supposed to be one of his best. I guess when you’re an experimental writer the very nature of experiments results in some failures. I just wish DFW had marked it as a failed experiment, learned from it, and crumpled it.

Story idea: philosophical discussion with a Rabbi—pay $20/hour to your favorite charity if I learn something and visa versa.