Holy shit, DO NOT break a glass in my house. You’d get less of a reaction from my wife if you set yourself on fire. Yesterday, I dropped a small ceramic ramekin (I am not ashamed of knowing what a ramekin is) which broke into a few pieces on the kitchen counter. Lindsay dashed into the room as if she’d heard a pregnant woman was trying to move a chair, or my father was poised to drop an orange peel into the garbage disposal.
It’s not that she’s particularly attached to this specific ramekin. In fact, she suffers from an undiagnosed psychological disorder that causes her intense mental discomfort if she touches unglazed pottery (a hundred times worse than fingernails on a chalkboard, she says.) That should have made the ramekin’s demise a nonevent, but unfortunately, her manic fear of broken glass trumps her aversion to kiln-fired clay.
Even the faintest sound of a dish mishap sets her off. “What was that? Did something break? NO ONE MOVE!” Our kids stop, frozen in place, if only to witness their mother’s werewolf-like transformation from fun-loving delight, to grizzled homicide detective. When arriving on the scene, she’ll often ask, “So, what am I looking at here? Do we have an approximate shatter radius?” She seals off the perimeter and starts barking orders, “Jason, you get the vacuum and broom. Silas, I need 4 paper towels, a dustpan, tweezers, and two tubes of cherry Chapstick, and I DON’T HAVE TIME TO TELL YOU WHY!”
Apparently, as a teenager, she’d heard an urban myth about a young man who ingested a small bit of glass and suffered severe lacerations to his intestines. I suspect she was on acid, sitting around a campfire with friends, when she heard this ghost story, because it’s weaved into her psyche tighter than her memory of being attacked by a muskrat (true). Now, 25 years later, she’s mortified that a similar injury will happen to one of our children (glass, not muskrat).
I try to explain to her that, not only is it exceedingly difficult to accidentally eat glass, but also, if swallowing a little bit of it really did that much damage, people would be dropping dead all over the place and glass possession would be a felony. She thought I was being naive and reminded me that there’s a good reason glass is called “the silent killer.” (It’s not)
There’s really nothing I can say to calm her.
“I vacuumed the entire downstairs, mopped and waxed the floors, washed all our clothes and shaved the children, so we should be all set.”
“Ummmmmm, hardly. What about the closets and the steps? Did you vacuum the inside of the CLOSETS!??!?? Plus, there are still probably tiny particles floating in the air. I can totally smell glass in the air.”
The good thing about all this is I know that if I’m ever having a heart attack, all I have to do is throw a mug against the wall and she’ll come running.