We have a saying at work, at my job where we skedaddle regularly around tipsy fragile martini glasses and delicate vases whose structural integrity has been compromised by an abrasive blast of sand: glass breaks. No matter how careful we are, it still happens. Sometimes it happens spontaneously, which is freaky. I'll be working on a piece and suddenly there will be a cracking sound and bingo! Glass breaks.
This evening Paul and I were hosting his school group -- five fellow students and assorted spouses, some whom I've met briefly last fall. I was up to my elbows in pizza assembly, chopped salad, platters of chocolate. We'd anticipated half-wine-drinkers/half-beer-drinkers, but tonight the desire was for wine, and I had to reach up to the back of the top shelf of the cupboard for yet one more glass. Paul was in the other room, being the charming host. The doorbell was ringing. The timer was tick-tick-ticking. I reached, reached, grabbed the glass -- and suddenly the shelf tipped towards me, loaded down with pint glasses, champagne glasses and lord only knows what else. The bracket had snapped off, and a top shelf of glassware came roaring, tumbling down towards my face, onto the granite countertop, onto the stacks of glass & china plates on the countertop, the liqueur glasses ready for Cognac and Vin Santo -- Glass! Breaks! Holy crap! The shattering tumble seemed to go on and on in glassy aftershocks as I tried, in vain, to catch every piece, and of course I caught nothing.
When the screech finally subsided, an acute silence filled the room. I said, "Paul? I need some help here." The guests who had been ringing the bell appeared around the corner, looking as if they'd just arrived into chaos, which, of course, they had. I tried for some presence of mind as I attempted to hold back the tide of shards, actually managed to laugh. No blood, no severed veins -- all good. But there were fragments and splinters everywhere -- in the unbroken glassware, on the plates, on the coffee pot, on the counter, spread out and splayed across the floor. Good god almighty! What a way to make a first impression!
I admit I always do like a little drama, but this was off the charts. Significantly off the charts. Yikes.
The four pizzas were enough of a distraction to divert everyone's attention from the wreckage:
1. Italian sausage and crimini mushroom
2. Sopressata and artichoke hearts
3. Feta, Kalamata olives, oregano
4. Ricotta, garlic, Italian parsley, mozzarella, parmesan, etc.
Dessert, though, was, and is always, the prime distraction:
1. Scottish shortbread
3. Five types of chocolate, all bittersweet, all marked with little flags designating their country of origin: Iceland, Mexico, France and god only knows where else I'm too tired to think any more.
But one of the guests, the wife of one of Paul's classmates, said, just prior to dessert, that she felt as if she was at a play: the broken glass act, the pizza act, the chocolate act. Said that the platter of chocolate looked like a platter of little boats, with tiny paper sails.
At which point I thought that perhaps I should take a bow, exit stage left, and retire to my dressing room.
Which I did, shortly thereafter, upon chasing the guests out the door. Bye now!
Ta ta! Crash crash!
Tomorrow evening: different script, new audience, and I'm determined that there will be not a single piece of broken anything.