Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Nine Lives of the Inanimate

I should have kept my Tupperware glasses, even though they were dishwasher-warped and the kids had chewed on their rims—turning the edges into a sort of makeshift dental floss.

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The Channel 12 weatherman said today was the first day of summer. In a sort of impromptu celebratory toast with my cran-apple juice, I raised my glass in tribute. It struck the edge of the kitchen cabinet and slipped from my grasp. The glass soared like a rocket toward my brick floor, despite my flailing for it on its way down. It more than just broke—it imploded—like how they collapse old hotels with dynamite. It was playful glass—the kind that scatters on impact like summer rain on the freshly waxed hood of a car. Pieces scampered to the safety of the braided rug, and others raced for the darkness under the dishwasher vent-thing. More agile fragments mounted dust-bunnies and rode them out of the room.

I swept the kitchen, using the same grid-pattern used to ensure the integrity of archeological digs. Then I vacuumed every square inch, and beat the fiber out of my braided rug with my husband’s tennis racket. Lastly, I mopped—including Q-tipping the baseboards. I made sure the infected sponge head was hermetically bagged and tossed, which was a heroic act of sacrifice in itself. I had to fight a nagging temptation to just rinse off the sponge and give it to my husband for scrubbing out the pickup bed. He would never know, and hey—it’s just a truck for God’s sake. In the end I conceded to honesty. It’s only $2.00, and sometimes the Dollar Store has them 2 for $3.29 with a coupon.

On Sunday I located a surviving sliver of juice glass with the naked heel of my foot. I had fretted one might show itself, but cast aside my fears. After all, the statute of limitations for orphaned glass had comfortably passed—signaling it was safe to go barefoot again. And Muffy had done reconnaissance for me when he went to his food bowl at least six times without even the hint of a limp.

I could feel the glass when I caressed the spot with a loving finger, but I couldn’t see or grasp it. Its pesky little tip retreated like a taunting turtle. Doctors lie when they say that glass will work itself out. It only works itself near. Surgery was clearly indicated.

I poked and probed the spot with a needle until my self-inflicted wounds dwarfed the original injury. Multiple epithets ended the operation without confirming if success had been achieved.

It is now Labor Day. The spot of my summer surgery has hardened into a kernel the size and color of a pencil eraser. It is resistant to even the most aggressive of emery boards. It remains just rough enough to provide the leadership for the first tear in my panty hose.

And it is always first in line to announce that my newest shoes should have been a half-size larger.

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