If toast were a conversation starter, it would be the drably simple, “Hi.”
Toast is my obligatory minimum dietary sustenance. When I am too busy, too sick or too tired to sit down for a satisfying meal, I have toast.
Similarly, “Hi” is my obligatory minimum social interaction. When I am too busy, too impatient or simply can’t be bothered to care about anybody, I say “Hi” and keep going.
Both these obligatory minimums were completely obliterated with the epiphany I had whilst unpacking my precious stack of mismatched china: Years of random scavenging through garage sales have yielded me a pretty assortment of china, tea towels and knick knacks.
I never pay more than a dollar for anything, so I really shouldn’t be so stingy in my use of them. But, I am. I store them safely in the corner of the tallest shelf in my pantry, cushioned by sheets of newspaper. And the only time I touch them is when I clean the shelf or move from one home to another.
“Such a waste. I should be enjoying these pretty little things,” I said to myself as I unpacked the box of china yet again. And it’s no big deal if one breaks. A few dimes under my sofa cushions and a sunny Sunday at a flea market is sure to get me another. Perhaps one even prettier.
My china reminded me of my words. It’s a gift I’m told I have–People, strangers even, often tell me their darkest secrets and despairs with great ease. And I seem to always find the right words to say. Yet I don’t enjoy these interactions and avoid them with a hurried hi. Instead of being generous with my words, I stash them on an emotionally-detached shelf for use only in emergencies.
That’s just bad. Wasteful. I really should couch my “hi” in a mouthful of words that express genuine interest. With that, I decided to dress up both my toast and my greeting.
With that epiphany, I sat my too tired self down for a bare minimum of dietary sustenance on a pretty white plate filigreed in French blue. My toast never tasted so good :)