Dishes Aren’t Memories.

It’s halftime on the Superbowl. Tim and I opted to stay in instead of going to a friend’s, because I have to get up early tomorrow.  The Who are singing “Whoooo are you (who, who/ who, who).” Tim is tending the fire in our fireplace  and my cell phone starts ringing on my desk. “Oh, my phone’s ringing,” I say. I walk over to check it but I never get to, because right at that moment there is a horrific crash from the kitchen. A brief pause. Then the crash continues… it rolls and rolls for what seems like twenty or thirty seconds, at an incredible volume and with all the characteristics of utter destruction.

When it stops, we run to the kitchen. Broken, shattered dishes are everywhere. One of the particle-board shelves in the cabinet has collapsed (in the wreckage we find a snapped plastic bracket), and there are shards and slivers and massive hunks of ceramic everywhere.

I could not believe it. I know it’s just dishes, and accidents are accidents, but I could not believe I was looking at the broken remnants of sixteen bowls and dishes. All sorts of things went through my head: My bridal shower and wedding, where we received the tableware (most of what we own, really!).  All the meals I’ve prepared and served on those plates. Dinners with friends. Haiti—One of my first clear thoughts was, What if this happened to your whole house, and not just one shelf? Anger at our landlords for installing cheap shelves, anger that we don’t own a home and feel so at the mercy of whatever this old rental throws at us…literally…

And finally just the reassuring fact that it’s only dishes. Sentimental dishes, maybe, but replaceable, nonessential. Two minutes before the shelf broke, I’d been standing right in front of it, setting out the pink dessert you can see in one of the pictures.  Two minutes’ difference and I’d have taken the avalanche off my face!

Although last night I was fairly unhinged about the whole event, this morning I felt much calmer about the crash, the injustice, the sentimentality. Tim had picked up the pieces and swept up the rubble (conscientiously thinking to ask me first if I “wanted the pieces for art” or anything).

So what are we eating dinner off tonight? I don’t know. Small plates or cereal bowls, I guess! We have renters’ insurance, but we think the deductible is higher than the value of the dishes. Most likely, as my mom suggested, we’ll buy two dishes this month. And then next month, two more. And the month after that, and after that, to replace the ones that were lost.

I wrote about this because I don’t know why, but I feel like this moment will come back around in some way— the noise, the breakage, the mess.  In the meantime I suppose it’s just a reminder that dishes aren’t memories, broken bowls can make art, and when a bracket is done, it’s just plain done.

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9 Comments

Filed under Cooking

9 responses to “Dishes Aren’t Memories.

  1. Lori

    Yet the yummy pink desserts remained seemingly unharmed. I am sure for the fear of shards, those had to get tossed too. Glad your face was spared Meghan!

  2. Elisa

    Sorry, Meghan! We’re not renting and I still fear that our cheap particle board cabinet shelves will collapse.

  3. unquiettime

    Let us assure you… it is a genuine possibility.

  4. Rose @ fromsneakerstostilettos

    I am sorry Meghan! That stinks. Josh actually chipped one of our wedding plates the other day and I was mad at him… so believe me, I understand your feelings about the dishes.

  5. becky

    how sad! Thank you for the warning….Kevin will be checking our shelving units.

  6. Scott

    All our daily dishes and a whole set of china and stemware are in a row of cabinets that is seperating from the wall where it is attached. I worry about being awakened in the night from the horrific crash, but I hadn’t realized what it might do if I or one of my family were underneath! Expensive to get fixed, but worth the peace of mind.

    Glad you and Tim escaped harm. Those dishes of yours gave you one last memory that you didn’t count on. It makes for a great story that I hope you can laugh about in years to come.

  7. unquiettime

    That’s a great point, Scott… We are definitely accumulating the stories over here!

  8. Madre

    I’m not sure about your “dish karma” idea–that this moment will “come back around. I chalk it up to the Universe (ponder: is it rental or owner occupied?) being unpredictable.

    Forget karma. Take the zen approach–look at it, accept it for what it is, and let it go.

    Nice looking pink dessert, though!

  9. Jordan

    … and you don’t even have earthquakes there! So sorry to hear about the dishes. I would be upset, too. Ours are also wedding gifts–but I think they’re discontinued. 😦

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