If you’re coming to my house for a social call, a casual tête-á-tête, a little visit just to say hi, make sure to take note of both your surroundings and your offerings. Bring wine if you like; wine is benign. A six-pack, perfectly balanced with a sunny smile and a warm greeting will make the afternoon bright. Even a bag of chips is good because bags of chips have never been identified with ominous tidings or uncanny prophecy.
But avoid the Pyrex if you want to stay married. Or if there’s any potential for emotional disaster looming. Beware if you are mid-argument with someone; the stakes may get a whole lot higher once the Pyrex enters the equation.
On the other hand, if you are looking to hasten the conclusion of a thing–if you are, say, looking for the exit in an unhappy romance–feel free to bring the Pyrex-oven-and-microwave-safe-glassware, full of glistening and delicious morsels of food. Perhaps the Pyrex on its own would be enough to speed up the process, but this theory has not been qualitatively tested in the affirmative. There has often been food in the Pyrex in the past, and if you are truly committed to ending a thing, best to hedge your bets on a full dish.
The first example of Pyrex as prognosticator came ten years ago. Two friends dropped by unannounced while I was making lunch. It was a beautiful day, sunny, warm, deceptive in its cheerful aspect. We sat around our kitchen table laughing the laughter of the innocent, naïve souls who did not yet know how to read the signs.
One friend got a phone call; he took it on our porch.
I used a hot mitt to remove lunch from the oven, in Pyrex, which upon meeting the cool air, blew up in my hand, sending shards of hot glass over the entire kitchen.
My husband, noting the glazed expression on my face and the fact that I had no shoes on, threw me over his shoulder, a classic fireman rescue straight out of Hollywood disaster movies. Our friend on the porch, taking his phone call of doom, saw me in this rather embarrassing position, and wondered what sort of horror had befallen me, especially when he was receiving the message from his wife that they were getting a divorce. It was over between them. She was with someone else and was finalizing their marriage by putting in the papers.
Our vinyl kitchen flooring was a little melted in places, I was completely fine, the Pyrex and our lunch was a wash. Our friend was devastated. He had been married for years, and with the woman for far longer; we had been at their wedding. They had a child. It was a hopeless situation. And the Pyrex told all.
Years passed. We moved to a new house. Friends of ours came together with nary a breakup or disaster in sight. No Pyrex coincided with any social mishaps. I hadn’t used Pyrex much after the explosive necromancy of the past; since it blew up once I wasn’t encouraged to test its integrity every time I baked something. But nothing terrible had befallen any of our friends or loved-ones in a proximal relation to any oven-ready glassware in a long time, so perhaps we let our guard down.
Perhaps we had forgotten the lessons of the Pyrex, Harbinger of Doom.
Four years ago, two friends of ours were coming over to dinner. It was a reunion planned with great joy; one of our friends had come out of a career which had been one of the most surreal experiences of her life and now that she was relieved of duty, she was stunned at the life she walked back into. She was instantly famous, recognizable to any and all who walked down the street. She was weary and needed a respite from all the attention. I have pictures from that night. She looks sad, her life exciting and interesting, but overwhelming and stressful just the same.
She asked what she could bring, and I said anything that went with gumbo would be fine; a vegetable dish or cornbread, maybe. I did not think to specify the container; who does?
She is a terrific cook, one who takes great delight in feeding those she loves. She hadn’t cooked for anyone in months and had placed all her affection and all her joy of of good friendship in her big pot of greens. She and her beau walked up to the door with her lovingly prepared collards, the perfect accompaniment to a Dutch oven full of gumbo. The bag, heavy with liquid, slipped a little, and then more, and she watched, helpless, as the collards in their Pyrex sepulcher fell and shattered across our front walkway. She was devastated, started to cry because she had poured her love into them, and now they were cast across the pavement in a cruel dispatch, the tea leaves of Southern comfort food embossing our sidewalk with messages we couldn’t decipher.
We did not know that the disaster was not the loss of the greens; they were going to be delicious and we mourned them. But the Pyrex does not concern itself with mere sustenance, the food of the flesh; its concerns are metaphysical, otherworldly, ineffable. For our friend’s beau, unlikely as it seems, was the same beau who had been served notice on his impending divorce when the first Pyrex blew up in my hands. We even remarked on the uncanny similarities of events, laughed nervously at the unlikely coincidence, though since he was already divorced, his first wife couldn’t divorce him again.
Alas, there are more options in the fore-shadowing of Pyrex.
At about eight o’clock, the beau received a phone call from his now ex-wife: she was moving out of state with her new family. And she was taking their child with her.
Let me state for the record that we were good friends with this beau, but we hardly ever saw him. We most often mingled with him at large barbecues, where apparently the mishmosh of Pyrex mixed with other off-brand examples of oven-safe glassware watered down the chimes of the universe. Perhaps Pyrex has a direct line into the psyche of this one friend, which only aligns, like certain constellations, when in proximity to my husband and myself. Location is irrelevant: we live in a different house than the delivery of Interstellar Pyrex Message Number One, but the message seems to follow us to where-ever we are.
It would appear that Pyrex, in some unspoken relationship, has chosen my husband and I as the locus for emotional disasters to befall our friend and his kin.
Years pass, fortunes change. I turn forty. A celebration, a convivial atmosphere. Pyrex? None to be seen, but I wasn’t looking–I was turning forty, after all. Surrounded by my friends and loved ones, including the couple, Famous Person and Pyrex Lightning Rod.
They decided to part ways after almost a decade together. At my party, on our deck.
I had been too caught up in my own personal drama of forty-ness to look for the clues; where had the Pyrex been hiding? How had I missed the signs? But maybe this is not a part of Pyrex Prophecy. My husband and I just need to be near the Pyrex, we don’t even need to know it’s there for the powerful voodoo of Pyrex oven-safe dishware to work its ill-wind upon our friends. Maybe we are merely tools the Pyrex utilizes to channel the messages from the celestial spheres, creating a zone of safety for our friends to receive Pyrex Prestidigitation. We are the jewel and the medallion on the Staff of Ra, shedding light upon the stage where the drama will unfold, but not actors in the play. We must merely exist for the Pyrex to deliver its missive.
I want you to come over to our house, and we will share all the delights our house has to offer. I set a good table, our house is warm with cheer. We will sit under the grape arbor in summer and around the table in fall. We will laugh, and take great joy in each others company.
But it is only fair to reveal the Truth of Pyrex. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.