You know, glass is pretty amazing, when you stop and think about it. Take the silica-based variety, for instance. Sand, essentially. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to peer through a pile of sand, but trust me—not too easy…unless you’re Superman. And if you’re Superman, I’m sure you have better things to do than look through than a pile of sand—go save the world or something, would’ja?
But you take this pile of sand, you heat it, you cool it, and presto change-o! You end up with a transparent solid thing, as opposed to the opaque bits of nastiness that seem pretty much created to violate me when I go to the beach. Pretty neat stuff, this “sci-ence.”
Of course, I’m not here to pimp glass. You’ve either heard of the stuff and already use it, or you’re not reading this article, and you’re probably a monkey in the middle of some jungle somewhere, or perhaps at the bottom of the ocean (I’ll skip the obvious Sea-Monkey joke as long as you promise to think about my theory that one day the monkeys of the ocean will arise from the sea floor and take back their planet—the signs are all there, people!).
I’m here to tell you about how—as with most things in this world—I seem to be terribly inadequate at dealing with the stuff. I know, I know—it’s not like you really have to go out of your way to get along with glass. It’s not like it’s an irritating co-worker that constantly gets in your personal space, talking directly into your face and smelling like cheap cigarettes, cheap perfume, and poop. Glass doesn’t storm into your room at four in the morning, crying and screaming about you ruined its life. Glass rarely laughs at you when you make a remark that you think is incredibly witty and then you find out later that the reason everyone in the room looked horrified instead of amused is because one of them actually did get abducted by a clown as a child, and that remark about the balloon—instead of being exceptionally clever—was actually spot-on and enough to incriminate you as a child molester in all of their minds.
My point is, it’s not all that difficult to cohabitate with glass. And yet, it has threatened my well-being, my freedom, and perhaps even my life on several occasions, as well as periodically making me look even more socially awkward than normal.
I know you may be thinking, Now, Ray, I doubt very much that it’s glass’s fault that you’re socially awkward—we’ve listened to enough of your blathering to know that you bring that upon yourself.
Touché, my friends, but hear me out: I drink quite a lot. Not just booze, either. Water, milk, orange juice, coffee, aftershave, tea—all kinds of stuff. I’ll walk all over the place, and I’ve learned how to put my glass down. It’s not really all that difficult, once you get the hang of it—the key is, you try to use a solid surface, and you put the open end of the glass facing up. I think it’s safe to say that I put a glass down pretty much every day. Sometimes, I do it more than once.
Yet, as soon as I’m at someone else’s house, I spill. Ice water at a restaurant? No problem! Right in the bread basket, as well as on everybody’s crotch! If I’m in your kitchen, you can rest assured that I will more than likely knock a soft drink onto your floor, which will leave a sticky residue for months to come. You got a new couch? Hand me a glass of tomato juice—we’ll break this baby in right!
One time I spilled an entire glass of red wine on a white wall. “Spill” isn’t the right word, though. I was turning around, reaching for my glass, probably in the middle of telling a story, and instead of wrapping my fingers around the base and lifting the glass to my lips, I knocked the shit out of it. You know in horror movies, when someone gets stabbed? Repeatedly? That’s what it looked like, only with more of an earthy, mellow flavor.
At first, I blamed myself for these social malfunctions, but I soon realized that I don’t particularly like accepting blame, so I decided to think even harder. I toyed with the idea that it was actually gravity that was working against me. Anyone who has ever seen me shirtless instantly realizes that this is the case. But the thing about gravity is, it likes to humiliate me in a constant, low-key kind of way. You know, like how my double-chin hangs down all day, for everyone to see, that’s more gravity’s style. Sure it likes to spike once in a while: perhaps when I reach down to pick up a quarter from the sidewalk, and my belly flops out of my shirt in front of a group of teenage girls that are walking by, eliciting cruel laughter and vomiting.
As I further speculated, I realized that it was glass that was out to get me. Because glass doesn’t only try to hurt me as beverage paraphernalia. Take mirrors, for example, or as they're sometimes called, reflective glass. These things give me another emotional scar every time I pass by one.
Imagine there was a window in your house, and every time you walked by, there was some guy standing there, and he screamed, “You’re a big fat bastard!” or “How many baby elephants did you eat this morning, Fat-so Fatterson? Because it looks like twelve! Twelve baby elephants, Fatty? That’s too many!” Or singing “Na-na-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh, Fatman!” Not pleasant, is it?
Now imagine that every time you enter a bathroom, that guy’s there, every time you step into a dressing room, or pass a reflective building. And if you’re ever stupid enough to walk into a funhouse, there’s like a thousand of these guys, and none of them are nice.
My mother used to have a mirror right by the shower, so in order to get in, you had to see yourself naked. I refused. I don’t know how many bruises, cracked teeth, and concussions I got while climbing into the shower with my eyes shut, but let me tell you—they were better than the alternative. I think maybe she was trying to kill me, but my make-believe lawyer friend refused to take the case, telling me that the evidence was all circumstantial and that he hadn’t passed the Bar exam, and that courts are really strict about imaginary friends acting as counsel. Probably, he was just in cahoots with my mom.
What started me on this rant, however, happened just a while ago. See, I put out a jar of water with a tea-bag in it, hoping that if I waited long enough, I would get a tasty pitcher of sun-tea. Sun tea is just like regular tea, only it takes longer to make, and you usually end up with at least one ant in it. Some people say it tastes better, though, and since I’ve always been a sucker for peer pressure, I decided to make some.
I put the pitcher out earlier, and since I was bored and didn’t really have anything else to do, I decided to check on the progress of the sun-tea. I was in my boxer shorts and my t-shirt, and didn’t bother putting on any real pants because I was just peeking through the blinds of my patio door. They’re ceiling-to-floor vertical blinds, so I figured I would just push one slat to the side, look outside for a second, and then go about my business.
What I didn’t count on was the girl in the parking lot, the one that just so happened to be looking up at my deck as she walked towards the apartment building. We made eye contact, just after she saw that I’m standing there in my underpants, and just before I was able to release the blinds and dive for cover.
In that split-second of eye contact, I saw not only horror, but also recognition.
See, about eight months ago, I was making a trip to the post office to mail some stuff for Christmas. I was talking to my sister on the phone (using my headset, as my arms were stacked high with boxes), and I walked over to my usual parking spot, not paying any attention to the girl that had walked out behind me. I walked in the direction of my car, fumbling with my power-lock keychain as I went. I tapped the button to unlock the doors, and they unlocked—everything going according to plan.
I stepped up to the door and as I reached for the handle, I heard the locks thump down. I figured I must have accidentally hit the “lock” button on my keychain, so I tapped the “unlock” button again. Nothing happened. I hit it twice in a row, cursing the low battery in my keychain, and I heard the sound of my car horn—a short beep that signifies the doors have all been unlocked—coming from across the parking lot.
I realized that this was not my car shortly before I realized that the owner of the car was standing about ten feet away, staring at me with fear. I guess I can understand that. I mean, what she was seeing was some guy with an armload of boxes, talking to himself and trying to get into her car.
I backed away from her car quickly, and headed towards mine, apologizing and trying to explain the situation. She would hear none of it. She waited with terror-induced bug-eyes until I was a safe distance away, then she bolted to her car, jumped in, locked the doors, and sped away.
After that, she was always leery when seeing me in the parking lot, and would sometimes even wait until I had entered my apartment before getting out of her car. I only saw her a few times after the “incident,” though, so it wasn’t like I was always running into her.
In fact, I hadn’t seen her in several months, and had assumed that she had moved away. Seems she was just gone for the summer. Well, welcome back, dearie. Why don’t you come up to my apartment, I might have a piece of candy for you, or a pony you could pet.
Glass has once again made me look like a perverted old man.
Again? What do you mean again?
I’ll tell you, but you’ll have to click here for second part of this rant.