Thursday, May 5, 2011

It is happiness to you

When we moved into the new office building, my second big concern was the length of the walk between my desk and a place where I could make hot tea. (My first concern was the floor-to-ceiling windows, total lack of window shades, and our department's location on the south side of the building. And our school offers Masters degrees in architecture AND interior design.) I solved the problem by getting a big insulated cup for hot water and a lovely blue glass sake bottle for drinking water.

It was such a beautiful bottle. After the first month had passed, everyone on the floor had gotten their "Rachel's guzzling alcohol at 9 in the morning!" jokes out of their systems, but I still regularly got compliments on it. The label held up well despite repeated washings, and featured a full-color reproduction of a Japanese woodcut of a geisha. The label was delightfully mistranslated and spoke of "rice pure 80% harvesting." It ended with the vaguely threatening "It is happiness to you."

Unfortunately, I never took the time to write down the rest of the label. And now, I'll never get the chance.

Yesterday, after I'd made my morning trip to the kitchen to fill up my vessels and wash my tea strainer, I put the full sake bottle on the edge of my desk and knocked it onto the concrete floor where it shattered into a half-gallon puddle of water and lovely blue glass.

The keening of my office mates was like the cooing of pigeons under the BQE. I almost cried. My bottle. My blue sake bottle.

Sometimes I used it to give me an extra foot of reach when I was taping manila folders to my windows to block out the relentless sun. Tall Boss said it looked like I was a drunken Spider-Man splayed out against the window, especially when I did it on St. Patrick's Day. Other times I read the label to the ladies from Financial Aid when we were sharing front desk duties, or compare it to my coworker's glass Mason jar he used for his water vessel. Rachel's guzzling sake and he's pounding moonshine.

Rest in shiny blue pieces, pretty sake bottle.

Today I brought in my replacement. It's not the same--but it'll do.

Excuse me--I have a bottle of sake to drink.

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