I have often wished that I could know, as I stand regarding my reflection in the dressing-room mirror, or in line to purchase my latest gewgaw, whether it’s something I’ll wear/use forever, or something that will sit until a friend says he or she likes it, or I find an appropriate owner or until I set it out under the bridge for the unofficial clothes ‘n stuff pickup I’ve set up with the cartoneros (paper recyclers) that sort their wares near my house.
In high school I had a good friend named Donna. Donna had this magical power. She could look at an item of clothing and say “you’ll wear that forever,” or “don’t buy it, it’s not you.” I don’t know if it was a Jedi mind trick or what, but she was so right, so very right. Even if a blue-on-blue waffle-knit long-sleeved teeshirt was horribly dorky, she knew I’d wear it and wear it long after the 80s were gone, though I notice that they’ve come back.
Ahem. Earlier this week, I was on Broadway in NYC, and I was poking around Pearl River Market. There they have hundreds of different kinds of glazed Japanese and Chinese ceramics for eating and drinking. Diminutive sake cups, slightly larger teacups, western-style teacups, sets of all of the above, noodle bowls, etc. And I love it all. There’s a crackly bluishgreen glaze on a grey stoneware that I love, and I routinely go to the store, fondle the wares, and then leave. The pottery in question is a bit fragile, and I break pretty much everything I bring back with me to Chile, or at least one of the set. Also, while I like to think of myself as a tidy one-bowl-of-rice-not-a-grain-dropped kind of eater, I’m more of a messy casserole kinda gal. And sake? The boyfriend and I like it, but are we really going to turn into sake connoisseurs? Highly unlikely.
So I left the lovely Pearl River Market behind, sneaking quickly into Muji‘s Soho location, which is a tiny Japanese Ikea-like store. They sell you the idea of tidy, perfect, white and chrome and linen and shuffling across your immaculate floor in beige slippers that never get dirty on the bottom. There I bought a couple of items, but I knew I was licking my wounds from not being able to purchase to my heart’s content at Pearl River Market. Maybe someday, when the dishes don’t have to span half the globe to get to my house.
A few blocks uptown, I peeked into Dean and Deluca, the shmabulously expensive and fancy grocery store where any matter of cheese, yogurt or perfectly painted cupcakes that cost over five dollars apiece can be had (and as an aside, who do we have to blame for the cupcake craze in the states? Is it the guy who started Cake Love in my ex-almost hometown of Washington, DC?).
There in Dean and Deluca, I had a moment that Donna would be proud of. I picked up and purchased two hefty ceramic mugs, diner-style, with thick walls and a slight hourglass shape to fit your hands, five bucks apiece. And now I shall stop waxing verbose about the mugs, and fit one of them into my hand and drink the coffee I bought a few months ago in Vila Madalena. Coffee from Brazil in a mug from New York in my apartment in Chile. It’s the perfect convergence.