“Would you like a glass for your soda?” my friend Jenny asked after she handed me a can of Sprite Zero. Usually I just drink soda straight from the can, leaving me one less dish to wash and saving me all that time pouring. But when I’m visiting other people I like to pretend I’m not the low-rent individual that I am who has reused the same bowl three times without washing it, so I said yes.
Then she brought out the Charlie Brown glass.
“OMG!” I exclaimed, only I actually said “Oh my God” instead of shouting out the acronym, because even I am not that geeky. “We used to have glasses exactly like this! From McDonalds!”
“We also have a Smurfs glass from Burger King,” she said, showing me her Smurfs glass.
“Oh, we never went to Burger King. We were McDonalds people,” I said as I admired the glass. It was perfectly preserved, as if someone had reached into the china cabinet directly into 1984. Our McDonalds glasses took hundreds of trips through the dishwasher until their imagery was washed away along with the sticky soda residue at the bottom. We also had Muppets glasses that suffered a similar fate.
It was so bizarre, finding a piece of my childhood sitting in my friend’s boyfriend’s mother’s china cabinet. It triggered a memory I hadn’t known was sitting in my brain. It reminded me that yes, my past actually did happen. Here was proof, printed on glass and filled with tasty diet soda. It was as though a fragment of the 1980’s had fallen through a wormhole and was now appearing in the present even though it didn’t belong there.
This type of thing hadn’t happened since…a week ago at La Hacienda when they served us salsa in a bowl just like our old wooden kitchen bowls. These were bowls we threw out because the laminated, molded, wood started to splinter, and you don’t want to get a splinter in your tongue. On that memory, I only had one chip of salsa. Before that, I hadn’t had a flashback triggered by a physical object since I’d walked through the Rathskeller’s dining room, furnished with our old dining room chairs. I didn’t want to steal the chairs or the splintery wooden bowl, but I wanted to steal the glass, the cheap, McDonalds branded glass. I kept my kleptomaniac urges to myself though, and instead gushed over the dinnerware.
“You are so easily amused,” my friend said. Yes, I am. It makes life so much more delightful.