August 30, 2002
It's not that we must have bendy straws, it's that we can have them.
There are simpler ways. There is the "good enough" of a utiltitarian assistant, delivering your drink with no fuss. But also delivering it, and this is the important part, with no grace. It's not too much to ask that the implements of our daily routine aspire to elegance. It's not too selfish to hope for beauty.
And beauty there is. An undeniable elegance that can only come from a curve. From the satisfying knuckle-cracking sound of a straw bending to accommodate, striving to make the mundane transcendent. "No, no, you stay seated right there," the bendy straw insists. "I'll come over and bring the beverage to you!"
It's a disciplined and unassuming helpfulness that the flexible straw exhibits. Not the forced smile vainly attempting to mask the grimace of a self-consciously scraping sycophant, nor the bowed head and tremulously lowered tones of the resigned subservient. It's a tip of the hat and an affrimative nod. This straw's just here to make it easier to wet your whistle.
That's what we aspire to, isn't it? That we might make these few precious days together that much more pleasant, that we might ease the everday burdens of life by doing just a little more than we have to do. That wasn't so hard, was it? Especially since that coy and coquettish little helper had been lying stealthily in wait, in an unassuming plain white wrapper, not advertising its charms, not asking you to hurry and choose its advantages. Holding on to a pleasant little surprise, for only the reward of the sparkle in your eyes. It would still seem that , at least in some of the smaller details of life, true love does wait.
Of course, you can just get by. There's life, I'm told, without art, surrounded only by the functional and the blatant. But why live without the grace of an effortless articulation? We're given this world that we may hope for a straw that shows through the flex of its neck that it wants to kiss us back.
Is it a luxury? Maybe it would seem so to those bereft of that hunger for the sublime. But now that I've seen that even in this flawed world, I might maybe be met halfway... now I think my thirst has been quenched.