Wednesday, October 22, 2008
“Habit is stronger than reason.”
Certain habits are indelible. During the first Christmas Day that I was away from home and residing in California, I spoke to my mother on the telephone many times within a few hours. She was due to visit me in a few days and, it being an eminently significant occasion, I was on her mind.
During one such call, I heard a clatter of plates and rustle of wrapping paper working in symphony with each other as Mater attempted the dual tasks of readying the dinner table and opening gifts. Then, in the background, I heard my brother speak to her.
"We don't need that many plates," he said, "you've put one extra."
Mater had, in a combined moment of chaos and custom, put my plate on the table. The unique, blue-patterned plate was instantly recognisable: I had, years before, determined that item to be exclusively mine because my brother had a tendency to lick his plate after a meal, and I wanted my own fresh, permanently unlicked dinnerware.
That, then, is how one can be in two places at the same time, and how habits are not easily untied from the tangle of our lives.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 2:58 PM