Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Woe is a Broken Mug

I was horrified to discover the broken pieces of one of my favorite mugs in the trash. I suspect my sister will have a similar reaction when she sees this photo. This was her visiting mug. We do this in each others houses, though I cannot tell you why. We each have a mug that the other one uses exclusively when visiting. It is/was her favorite mug of mine. There must be something in the air with mugs. She just broke my favorite mug of hers (tho she also gave me one of my own to have and to hold in Chicago) a few months before my last visit. I was just at her house earlier this month and, I have to say, my coffee wasn't nearly as good. I couldn't commit to a new mug.

I get way too attached to things. Over a decade ago I bought a dragonfly glass and cried (tears!) when I broke it a few days later. My mother-in-law was kind enough to replace it for me. That I've successfully kept the replacement from breaking is helped, I'm sure, by the fact that it's installed in my bathroom as a container of makeup brushes.

Among other attachments, I have a mug that belonged to my mother. We bought it for her at the flea market, I think. It's off-white with brown MOM printed diagonally on the side. I can't even bring myself to use it, terrified that I'll break it (more having, less holding). But I do keep it with all my other mugs. Sentimental and irreplaceable as my MOM mug is, I might still qualify as a complete and total nutter when it comes to affection for drinking vessels.

Alas, this newly broken one is also irreplaceable. The shop from whence it came, Beans & Machines, has been out of business for several years. My husband and I lived above Beans & Machines in Seattle for a year or so when we were newlyweds.

I’ve been thinking a lot about attachment lately - how strong and yet unnecessary it can be. I think if we’re wise we prioritize our earthly attachments, putting people above places, objects and animals. I just read Remembering Denny, in which the author, Calvin Trillin, observes that we rarely know how much space we've occupied in someone's life. I think that's true, and would add that there's something to be said about the space PLACE takes up in our lives. I have strong personal attachments to places I've lived and make efforts to keep those places a part of my everyday. Mugs manage to do this for me, as do spices. Beans & Machines hardly qualifies as something that occupied space in my life, unlike the people with whom I consume coffee. Anyway, I'm reminded to hold dear the people in my life who make places so enjoyable.

I suppose I can envision the mug's evolution. How does this look?

And, can I please get a shout-out for the artiste responsible for my PINCH sign?


Unknown said...

Say it isn't so! Oh, well. I will adopt another next time we come out. I also love my mugs, especially the ones Uncle Richie gave me (e.g. "21! Legal at Last!", which I'll have had 20 years this year). I also loved the ones I gave to Grandma Sarah and Aunt Jennie as gifts (floral, from Italy), only to get them back when those great ladies passed on. They've both since broken, but when I lost the last one a couple of years ago and Cathy (my then-4 year old, for those who don't know) witnessed the breaking of it and started to cry, I consoled her by telling her that all mugs have to break sometime because if they didn't we'd never have room for the new ones that come into our lives from time to time. She seemed to accept that, so I did too, and I no longer shed a tear for a broken mug.

Oh and the Pinch sign RULES!

FireMom said...

I have a mug that I have to drink out of at my parents' as well. I get mad when my brother or my husband steal it from me during a visit.

Good repurposing there!