Broken things create opportunity

One by one, the bags were excavated from car trunk to shopper hands. With each one transferred from trunk to hand, the mind declares, “This will fit too; no reason to make two trips. I’m on a schedule.”

s-kevinwilson1.jpgEn route to the door, one bag receives a transfer from hand to teeth. “This bag isn’t going to the ground,” the mind declares. “I’m on a schedule.”

Has something new and shiny shattered in your face, leaving you to wonder why things are wrong?

Door opened, the bag goes back from teeth to hand, and both hands lift up the evidence of the Sunday morning grocery store run. It is the grocery store run I made as quickly as I could, for I had a schedule that said I needed to be in Lubbock soon, and an itinerary that would leave me too lazy to grocery shop upon my return.

Included in the bags was a bottle of my favorite iced tea, delivered in 1-liter glass bottles.

“Don’t worry about bagging those separately,” I tell the clerk. “They’re surprisingly resilient.”

Just not to gravity, it appears. Despite my mad Tetris skills, my unpacking proved inefficient, and my hands were full of items for the refrigerator when the tea started to fall.

You know how just before a bad thing, your mind hits hyperdrive and your body pauses? My mind said all of the following in 0.8 seconds: “Hey, what’s happening with the tea? Oh, it’s falling. It’s going over the counter. Then it’s falling on the floor. I’m going to clean that up. I hope I can still get to Lubbock in time. Why don’t I have one of those Shamwows for moments like this? That Shamwow guy got arrested for something, what was it? Don’t worry yet, there’s a chance it might not break. They’re resilient; remember that one, dummy?”

A few cracks, and some high-pitched shatter noises, followed by an outpouring of tea enjoying freedom for the first time.

I laid down some paper towels, just to get the main moisture. But I couldn’t get it all because I treated the scene like it was covered with sharp glass, on account of the presence of sharp glass.

I swept the shattered bottle into the dustpan, bringing with it quite a bit of tea unclaimed by towels. I looked at the dustpan and thought, “I can’t throw this all away. Liquid in trash bags is the worst for everybody involved.”

Then I saw the recessed handle, and I realized I could angle it toward the sink and pour the liquid out through the handle. Tea goes into sink, mostly dry glass goes into trash can.

I got it cleaned, put away the rest of my groceries and made it to Lubbock just fine. I wasn’t happy about losing a full liter of tea, but I didn’t just think about what went wrong. I realized what went right with the dustpan, and the ways that could help me down the road.

On the road, I realized something. The phrase goes that sometimes things fall apart before they come together.

But other times, the broken things in your life remind you of the things you never knew were so great, because you looked at them the wrong way all this time.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Clovis Media Inc. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by email:

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