In the most abrupt and unavoidable way, some sort of table-faerie came upon me this morning, and pushed my freshly poured coffee cup, right out of my hand. I know it was pushed, as I watched the white ceramic decanter move upward, out of my hand, in ultra-slow motion. It then began to invert, and the dark liquid in the cup showed itself, also, moving slowly through the air, and out of the cup.
My first instinct was to slurp, but I realized this would benefit no one.
Within the next excruciating half-second or so, the cup continued to tumble, falling past the table’s edge, and directly onto my lap. I sat for a moment in disbelief. And then I felt the wrath of the high-temperature liquid. The coffee seemed to be scalding my leg, right through my favorite pair of jammy pants.
I can only describe the next feeling as hurting like a son of a biscuit.
I was in my office at the time. I had been up at least an hour, so it was probably around 4:30 a.m. I will blame that time, and the element of surprise, as my excuse for not moving. At all. I seemed to be locked in place.
Finally, I budged. My first thought was the lawsuit-lady and McDonald’s. I imagined her cup careening away from its cardboard tray in her car. I could also see her lack of movement, and then her reaction to being scalded. Very much like my recent circumstances.
And then. After cleaning up the mess, and putting on dry clothing, I went back to what I was doing. But the injury was sustained. And the memory is now with me.
It is not the first time I have been doused in such a way. The time that stands out in my mind was from a trip out to California. We were with our son Jesse, his then-wife Billie, and our two grandkids, Haylee and Levi. We were driving up some mountain, probably on our way to Yosemite. We stopped at a little shack-of-a-place to each lunch. Levi was very young, and he spilled an entire large Sprite into my lap. A very cold, and sticky, and lasting, Sprite. It soaked quickly into my pair of Levi Jeans. It did not injure me, but it made for a soggy and uncomfortable, rest of the day.
A few years later, at a different restaurant, somewhere in Ohio, a different grandson, Isaac, repeated the scene. Same type of large Sprite, same lap, same soggy outcome.
This morning, two phrases are coming to mind.
History has a way of repeating itself.
What can go wrong, will go wrong.
I think all of life’s circumstances are made to teach us lessons, if we pay attention to them.
I am not sure what the lesson is here. Not yet, at least. But sooner or later, it will present itself. And I will have made another step toward being the wiser.
Until then, until that magic moment, I am switching to a sippy cup.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”
“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.”
― Isaac Asimov
“Learning is not child’s play; we cannot learn without pain.”
“Holy Crap. That burns like a mother!”
— Polly Kronenberger