Tuesday, 25 February 2020

A Tale of a Broken Jug Foretold

Image result for broken spanish jug

Have you ever known you were going to break something? Really known it? It’s always in the worst place possible, the house of a little old lady, somewhere important. Because there’s always too much precious stuff, crammed into a small place (a bungalow the size of a shoebox, a flat the size of the Sylvanian families’ gypsy wagon), too many things placed precariously, too many things that seem to operate with their own unique system of rules. And so many table cloths, not just one, but one under-tablecloth and one over-tablecloth that looks like a large, less strainer-like doily, so that the under-cloth shows through. If pushed on the matter, two tablecloths is probably enough, you might conclude. Well, hold the fucking phone because apparently there are people who would disagree with you. Why stop at two? That person thought. Yeah, the clue, was in the fact that they didn’t stop at ONE. So, now add a pot plant and a crystal bowl. And add some rules for the tablecloths. Write these rules in a tiny notebook with a cover made from recycled paper with dried flowers pressed into the front (don’t tell me you don’t know the sort I mean) and hide it inside a small box with a clown figurine stuck to the top. You’ve read the rules, obviously, so you know that the tabletop decorations, those things, the plant pot and the crystal bowl, get put away when you’re eating, of course. You don’t know where, because you haven’t looked for the tiny rulebook that tells you specifically about tabletop trinkets yet, (no it isn’t in the same notebook as the tablecloth notebook, don’t be deliberately obtuse). In fact, it’s hard to even look around because you’re so afraid of breaking things. There are so many trinkets, you’re afraid you’ll open your eyes, and just knock one over with the movement of your eyelashes. It could be the butterfly effect at work, but in a dangerously chintzy way. Next -- pay close attention --  the eating-tablecloth comes out to cover up the other two. It’s not for aesthetic value, it’s purely practical. Don’t get the wrong idea. Only a mad person would have two decorative tablecloths and cover them up with a third decorative one for no reason. So it’s three tablecloths, got that? And maybe as well as the fact you’re crammed into a space full of trinkets, and lots of obviously well-established rules regarding the use of particular cleaning cloths, pot scourers and tea towels, there’s an atmosphere where people are telling you to relax, or if not telling you, intimating that you should. Because this is a lovely place and there’s no reason to be so anxious. In fact, you’re also trying to tell yourself, (probably in the same voice a masseuse once used to tell you to ‘relax’, when you were  obviously indicating through your bodily awkwardness that you really weren’t relaxed in the way you should be): You should relax here, see how cosy this place is with all its little jars and teacups and trinkets? Everything stashed away in its own place! No space for a single thing more! Not, unless, you broke something, of course. Then the thing you broke would open up a huge trinketless void, which no amount of trinkets or old-lady tea cups or ugly clown boxes could fill. Because YOU broke something, and now you’re the worst person in the world. There’s that inescapable feeling again, you’re going to break something. You know you’re going to do it, there’s almost no point telling yourself to be careful, because that isn’t how these kind of premonitions work. Maybe, it’s just that there’s not enough room, not enough room for you, you’re the one thing too many, and there’s no special space here for you here.

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