Friday, October 9, 2015


            Kim is afraid that the planet will soon run out of sand. (She has never been to Egypt.) This is one way I can explain her fixation on glass bottles and jars. When we run out of sand, we will no longer be able to manufacture glass, and thus we will no longer have any glass bottles. Therefore we’d better start collecting them – just in case.
            We have a shelf crammed with glass jars in the basement. Some of these – old peanut butter, mayonnaise, and mustard jars – we use to collect bacon fat and other grease that we don’t want clogging our drains. Some of these we use to imprison bugs that we capture – we carry one or two in the car. And yes, you can buy peanut butter, mayonnaise and mustard in glass jars, at least until the reverse Apocalypse when desert sand is turned into forests and meadows and we can’t make any more glass. Kim can tell you what stores carry items in glass containers. That shelf in the basement has about 40 other jars whose purpose is yet to be defined.
            I’m kidding, of course, about Kim’s concerns about sand supplies. What really motivates Kim’s glass collecting is her aversion to plastic. She refuses, when possible, to buy food products in plastic. We read that chemicals leach into the food or beverage, which is especially true for bottled water with its very long shelf life. Mouthwash migrates from plastic to glass, and when we buy vitamins, supplements, or prescription drugs, we transfer the pills into small brown glass bottles. Unfortunately, these bottles do not have labels, so we sometimes have to rely on our failing memories to determine what pill is in what bottle. But at least we are not consuming plastic chemicals!
            Kim’s glassaholic tendencies draw her most powerfully to antique glass. Two of our windows use rows of antique bottles in place of curtains, and our dish soap has been transferred from the noxious-but-handy squeeze bottle to an old green wine bottle shaped like a fish, fitted with a spout designed for pouring olive oil. It sits on the counter next to the olive oil, which Kim transferred into a green glass bottle shaped like a fish. She is working on a display involving old Coke bottles (we rarely drink it), and just today she designed candlestick holders out of antique glass insulators that we brought home from New Mexico. I wish you all had seen the look on her face when she showed them to me. This glass is practical, it looks cool, and the candles almost fit.
            Is there any help for Kim’s obsession? I don’t think so. It could, however, be worse. What if she collected bird nests? Or bottle caps that have been crushed and then rusted in parking lots? Or clothespins? Antique buttons? Those plastic puzzles where you slid tiles around to arrange numbers 1-15? Or what if she collected ceramic balls used to break up sewer sludge in Atlanta? Snake skeletons? Hornet nests? Leaves where insects have eaten away everything but the veins? Feathers? Rocks in the shape of a heart? Keys without locks? Typewriters? Eye cups? It could be worse . . ..

NOTE: Kim read this over and said, “But you didn’t tell them all the cool things you can do with bottles! And who else has six fish bottles?”

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