Friday, May 27, 2005

Bemis, I'll Wash the Pot

While I was washing the dishes this morning, I was reminded that I'm unusually guarded about the coffee pot.  I'll wash the coffee pot; I almost always do.  I'm the only coffee drinker in the house.  I brew the coffee.  I fill the carafe to the six-cup line, shovel the grounds, click the switch.  I empty the pot.

In K.C. we had a fancy dishwasher.  It did the work of clearing grime from all the kitchen-wares.  But in N.Y., we're back to washing by hand.  And Ph., at fourteen, is as good as any of us at keeping us with enough clean dishes to eat.  No matter how we arrange our turns at the sink, however, I get an itch about others washing the delicate glass pot, especially Ph.  In fact, I often ask him to leave it as the final dish, then I'll wash it. 

What's so special about the coffee pot?  I'm not sure.  That's the thing.  It just seems fragile to me.  But this morning--first leg of a chore-filled Friday--I had a flash of insight, a coffeepiphany of sorts.  I'm almost certain somebody broke a coffee pot when I was a kid.  I can't remember who or under what circumstances or what even came of it.  Did it crack from careless washing?  Must've.  Least that's what I told myself this morning.

In turn I associated the not-quite-a-memory with the Twilight Zone episode--"Time Enough At Last"-- where the bank worker, after avoiding global catastrophe because he was in the vault when the world ended, finds himself with a bulk of time for reading.  Just Henry Bemis and books; time stood still.  And he's overjoyed about it, as I remember (a re-run me and J. watched multiple times on late-night TV, early teens), so overjoyed that he manages to step on his glasses.  Without them he can't see well enough to read.  Bemis was one sorry dude.  Woe!

Because I'm the only one who even thinks about coffee (not the only one who thinks differently about the fragility of the pot) in the house, it's a similar sort of despair that I'm trying to intercept, assist others in avoiding.  Interventional dish-washing, as I think of it.  Was I the one who broke the pot as a kid?  Could it have been me?  Doesn't even matter.  That it's implicated in my action--in my everyday way of living--presents me with an odd quandary, and I'm not sure, even connecting it up with Bemis, that I'm any closer to feeling differently about it.

Coffee Enough At Last

Henry Bemis, now just a part of a smashed landscape, just a piece of the rubble, just a fragment of what man has deeded to himself.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at May 27, 2005 1:00 PM to Under a Bushel

That was the most haunting episode of The Twilight Zone I ever saw.

Posted by: Chris Geyer at June 2, 2005 11:04 AM

It was a good one. I can't remember most of the specifics, but I watched them persistently during my early teens--summers spent with my uncle in KC. Turned from the TZ episodes to the short stories that inspired each program and from there I got hooked on Ray Bradbury stuff--_Dandelion Wine_, _Zen in the Art of Writing_, _F'heit 451_, etc.

Posted by: Derek at June 2, 2005 7:52 PM