On the Ephemerality of Things


About a week ago, one of the six rubber bird glass charms in our studio mysteriously vanished.

These individualized charms—designed to perch on the rim of the glass to help the owner identify his or her beverage container—belong to that class of not-particularly-necessary-but-nevertheless-very-cute-and-helpful-thingamajigs that I tend to associate with the Japanese. These had been given to Abbey and me as a present last Christmas, and it was with some hesitation that we decided to permit their public use at the studio.

The hesitation, of course, came from the fear of possible loss. Inasmuch as we had functioned perfectly well our whole lives without the assistance of these not-particularly-necessary items, their cuteness had activated a latent avarice and its attendant paranoia.

Nevertheless, as proponents of the mind-and-body wellness attitudes of surrender and letting go, we (reluctantly) perched the birds on the rim of the glass that contained all our handmade beverage container charms. (One red bird we put on the lip of a rectangular glass vase as a demonstration of solitary imperchment and a reminder of the essential isolation of all things.)

Then last week, like I said, one of the birds enigmatically disappeared. As there were only six in the flock, to begin with, the disappearance was quickly noticed:

Abbey (wailing): One of our birds is gone!

Eileen (blankly): What bird?

Abbey (frowning): The green bird! The green bird!

Eileen (blankly): What green bird?

Abbey (frowning more): The green rubber bird for the glasses!

Eileen promptly leaves the office, frantically inspects the pantry and hurriedly returns: 

Eileen (wailing): The green bird is gone!

Abbey and Eileen start wailing together.

For the next ten minutes, Abbey and I brainstormed on how to recover our lost avian. Our favorite idea: to post small wanted flyers around the studio asking, “Have you seen this bird? Please return him to the flock! No questions will be asked.”

Of course, with everything that we both had to handle, the flyers never materialized. We both consoled ourselves by using the incident to meditate on the essential ephemerality of all things. The isolated red bird on the glass vase looked on with skepticism.

Then today:

Abbey (triumphantly): We found the bird!

Eileen (blankly): What bird!

Abbey (frowning): The green bird! The green bird!

Eileen (blankly): What green bird?

Abbey (frowning more): The green rubber bird for the glasses!

Abbey promptly holds up a little green item.

Eileen (triumphantly): We found the bird!

Abbey and Eileen do a little jig together.

Apparently, even mysterious disappearances are an ephemeral thing.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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