Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Arch Queen of Accidental Disaster

I have prayed over major appliances, only expensive ones of course - or ones that belonged to somebody else.

Prayers such as Lord, please may this stereo experience a revitalization of its necessary components, so my brother-in-law won't kill me, and please, I ask that this dishwasher be able to process that huge chunk of glass that's stuck in its filter.

I need the intervention of a higher power, because I am Destroyer of major appliances, Public Enemy No. 1 of all things breakable, and Spoiler of white, immaculate things. I am, in fact, the Arch Queen of accidental disaster. I have put permanent stains on my parents-in-law's creamy white carpet during two separate visits. I have broken half the stoneware and three-fifths of all drinking glasses in every home in which I have lived for more than a month. I have annihilated numerous irreplaceable objects, created stains on other people's clothing from a respectable distance, and lost the personal property of family members while on vacation.

I am on the fourth microwave in my married life and the fifth set of dinner plates.

And Matthew, my poor, poor man, is married to me. When he breaks something, loses something, spills something, like the coffee yesterday that he left by the couch, what do you suppose I do? I rejoice! I keep the score. Sure, it's my 3,984 accidents to his dozen or so, but every new tally on the Matthew page gives me an itty-bitty bit of leverage for compassion when the next accident strikes via Hillary. And it will, probably in the next five minutes.

Last week I busted a whole case of beer after I shoved it beneath a shopping cart. "It's wedged," I said lightly to Matthew, even as I heard the faint squeak of that inner warning voice, now so weary and hoarse from years of shouting and clamoring for the attention I so rarely give it. But it gets plenty of validation, as it did when that beer fell with a splendid crash against the pavement as my husband traversed a speed bump with the shopping cart.

"Yeah, it's wedged." he said acerbically as he bent over the damage, flicking beer from his fingertips.

It was face my husband's disappointment over the loss of pricey beer, or shamelessly ask the store for a new case. By now I am pretty shameless. I'm an old pro at acknowledging the catastrophe, garnering sympathy, gaining forgiveness of my debt and/or compensation out of pity. I should carry my own liability disclaimer into every home and place of business I enter. Because a case of beer? That's nothing. I've broken three cases of vintage soda in a novelty store/restaurant by swinging my child and their carseat into a carefully-arranged display, and all that after forgetting my wallet at home and finding myself unable to pay for my breakfast.

One of the worst moments I've ever had in my prolific accident career happened after Thanksgiving. I realized our car keys were misplaced as we were leaving our friend Camille's house to head home across three states. Sickening, but even more sickening to know that this colossal accident would go on my extensive tally sheet. I had reached a pinnacle of shame. We turned out my purse and the diaper bag and all suitcases, searched every room in my friend's house, scanned the driveway, crawled through our vehicle, literally dumped our dirty laundry out in the street.

And then....then I found them on my tenth or so desperate dig through the dirty clothes in the chill Oregon air. They were in the zipper pocket of a pair of pants, and those pants belonged to...Matthew.

I cackled and danced like Rumpelstiltskin in triumph. I gloated and shouted exuberantly that it was in fact NOT MY FAULT! I skipped and laughed as I rattled the keys for my Man and everyone to see. This is not to say that I went out of my way to make my wonderful husband feel bad about it. No, no - my joy was was not bridled by such petty feelings. I simply felt liberated from remorse and justified, innocent when naturally assumed guilty. Amazing! All hope of such a thing had seemed increasingly slim with every year of marriage to my non-accident-prone, near-perfect man.

Of course, my lovely guy did apologize, and sincerely, albeit with a look of shock on his face. I needed something to celebrate my rare good fortune, so I begged a piece of Camille's birthday cake from her to take on the road.

She replied, "I already gave a piece to Matthew for you." Aha! His gift to acknowledge his false accusation, I thought, but then she added, "And he asked for it before he knew he'd lost the keys."

Well, well. He got me an enormous piece of chocolate cake for the road even as he thought I'd lost the keys to our new minivan several hundred miles from home? What a wonderful, long-suffering man!

But it still went on his accident tally. It can't quite even things out, but it is a BIG boon for me in future beer-busting situations. Hey, I love the guy, but I need all the leverage I can get.


  1. So, I see you have not changed, my girl. Yes, I agree, you are the Arch Queen of disaster; but fortunately, you are also a lovely person.
    (Superb post, by the way, one of my favorites now.)

    1. Could I ever change, Dad? Well, you know maybe, just maybe, 2013's my year to listen to that warning voice! I can always hope.

      Thanks for the acknowledgement of this post, Papa. I was beginning to think no one liked it. :-) I'm glad you did.

    2. Are you kidding? It's a great one. Your writing is as good as writing ever gets (anyone's), and your wit is knife-sharp. And the personal stuff is always some of your best.


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