Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Things that Don't Work as they Should

I know... I should be sorting, discarding, packing, downsizing...  But I've reached a kind of wall.  On one side are the things I've already given away, thrown away, packed away:  Emptiness.  On the other side ... what's left.  The in-between things.  It's hard to know exactly what to do with such things.

One thing I've noticed:  multiple iterations of certain items - that never quite work as they should.  Garlic presses, for one.  I must have 3 or 4.  Each one was supposed to be the ultimate gadget.  I have one in the shape of an egg.  It allows for the piece of garlic, the press, a tiny plastic window beneath it - where the pressed garlic is supposed to collect.  And a little plastic piece to clean the holes where the pressed garlic passes to the waiting "window".  (If you remembered to put the window back.)

But it doesn't really work as it should:  Who presses only one clove of garlic?  If you're a garlic lover, one clove will never do!  And one clove is really all that fits in that little window place.  Well, maybe two, depending...  And to empty that little space?  And reuse it?  Not as simple as sounds. Another problem is that little plastic piece to clean the holes.  Unless you've replaced it upside down (in its cleverly designed little cubby) the garlic press won't press.  But it's hard to "grab" when it's upside down.  It's hard to put back upside down.  It's tiny - so you can't just leave it lying around.  In a minute, it's been mislaid.

All in all, it's a brilliant design, this little garlic press.  But it never really worked as it should.  One more thing that looked so enticing - in the store.  And failed to please - in the kitchen.

Tea steepers are like that.  Tea kettles.  Tea pots.  We've tried them all!  They've hit the sorting wall, along with me.  I could have a little nicknack shelf - a sort of museum of things that never worked as they should. 

Like so many things in life, this piece of wisdom can be applied across the board to so many other things - things which were cleverly designed to work.  Take the Constitution, for example.  On paper it looks so clever.  Three branches of governmentBalancing each other.  One to interpret it.  One to extend it.  One to manage it.  Well...  history has now revealed - in our own lifetime - it doesn't work as it should.  So many institutions, civil and religious, that don't work.  They promise so much!  We have high hopes.  The older one gets, the more dashed those hopes become.

Now what is the point here, you may asking yourself?  Nothingness, I suppose.  One more example of why some of us turn to meditation, to reading the saints or the psalms.  We need something to hang onto in this changing world - where nothing really works as it should.  Read Genesis, for example.  Right in the second chapter:  Things are already going wrong.  By chapter four there's been a murder - one brother slaying another - after the eviction notice and the pain of childbirth promised (and borne).  Hopes dashed.  "How great was human wickedness on earth," thinks the Creator by chapter 6.  So there's a do-over.  Like trying another garlic press.

It's comforting - in a strange way...  Reading the Bible.  You feel you're not so alone, carrying these pieces of wisdom, these collected garlic presses, tea steepers, blog posts.  Your own life, like the Bible.  The detritus of a life lived.  A people betrayed and dismayed.  And yet - the willingness to go on.  To love.  To hope.  To care about each other.  To make that next pot of tea.  To press that next clove of garlic.  The spice of life cannot be quenched!  Bread and wine - and thou beside me - in the wilderness.  It's the simple things in life that make it richer, deeper.

Even if - often - they don't work as they should.


Update:   Oooh.... let's get our hopes up, shall we?  (It's in the testing stage...)  

Then again... my clever cart - with its tiny broken part...  assembly postponed, till a whole new side of the cart...  (Quality Control....  please show up at Refugee Camp!)

Take a lesson, say I!