The Plates of Breakage

Sometimes ya just want a little retail therapy. Even amidst the voices about “live simply, that others may simply live,” even after you’ve read “AFFLUENZA” and admitted to excesses, even taking Marie Kondo to heart, there are days when you just wanna go shopping.

Especially when your sister you rarely get to see is in town, and the two of you take Mom on a thrift store ramble. Off we went, three girls on a mission to visit all the thrift stores we could before Mom conked out. (Four.)

At the second one, SCORE. I found a brand-new duvet (those huge down comforters one rarely sees outside high end department stores) for $5. Those things are like $120 retail!

Standing in line to pay for this fluffy find, my eye fell on a stack of eight glass plates taped together. I picked them up. Old glass. Heavy glass. GOOD glass. Unusual design.

IMG_2480“I don’t need plates.” Feeling virtuous, I set them back on the counter.

My sister leaned over. “$1.25.”

“Each?” Mom asked, looking interested.

Tracy shook her head. “All together.”

Don’t judge me. They fit nicely packed inside the duvet. And I liked them, and I make my own money, and gosh darn it if I want to spend $1.25 on something silly, I can.

Home we went, where I opened the car door to unload the duvet – and all eight plates crashed to the ground. Sigh…..

Two were shattered, one lightly chipped. I did a quick attitude adjustment: now I only had to store six plates, and they’d just gone from 15 cents each to 20. Big whoop. I adjusted the dinner guest list: four friends over instead of six.

Back home that night I showed Jack my finds.

“We didn’t need plates,” said my Scotsman husband.

“Need didn’t have a thing to do with it,” I huffed, setting them on the table.

A few hours later, we heard a loud crash. Upstairs, where they were not meant to be, a kitten had gotten past security and hooked her claws into the tablecloth. Down one new plate, but the rest had simply tipped off the table onto the duvet I was going to put away later. One slight chip not mentioned, five usable plates remained. 25 cents each wasn’t really the point. Should I have bought something I didn’t need?IMG_2419

I called our friends Beth and Brandon. “Y’all need to come and eat before I break all the new plates I got for us to eat off of.”

Beth being the family vet and Brandon my chiropractor, as well as family friends, they’re used to idiosyncratic sudden phone calls.

“OK” was all Beth said.

Four plates to eat from, one to serve on… you know what’s coming, right? With an artistic cheese platter arranged elegantly amidst olives and strawberries (I repeat, don’t judge me; they made a nice color combo) on plate five, I tripped. Over thin air. Or maybe the kittens set up a yarn trap; they thought the resultant cheese spill was the Best. Thing. Ever.

We ate leftover pizza from the four plates of breakage. The plan now is to use them until Christmas is over, then throw however many are left into a fireplace. It’s not like 31 cents per plate prohibits this for fun. At this point, perhaps they owe me money.

Nor will they be wasted, these extravagant items purchased for no other reason than glass lust. I have a friend, Susan Powers, who Makes Things. She recycles broken materials, and inherited plate six the day after it fell. When we shatter the remaining Plates of Breakage, she will assist the phoenix that rises from their crystal splinter ashes.

Reduce, reuse, recycle–retail? I dunno, but those plates have bought us more fun than $1.25 ever should.




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