Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Missing Ball

(Don't look down, Sextant).  Actually, I am referring to those oversized, blue exercise balls you get at the gym or as a Christmas parcel from a concerned adult child.  Well, they are big, aren't they? (The ball, not the child).  You wouldn't think you could lose a blown-up one (again, ball not child)  in your own house. This happened to me. It was a dubious acquisition in the first place for an average-sized family home as it won't fit into a cupboard and therefore mostly stands around in the way when not in use. I looked for mine during the month of my toe op when I couldn't go to the gym.  It wasn't in the spare bedroom ...and then the phone rang and I forgot about it, thinking it was simply somewhere else. I looked for it several times more during November and more or less the same diversion happened until I finally forgot about it altogether. Until last week. My family was visiting for New Year and I threw out the question, "Has anyone seen my blue ball?"  (Don't snigger, Sextant). To my surprise, my daughter immediately confessed that my small grandson had punctured it while riding it down the passage when I was in the UK for my dad's funeral (last July). She had been meaning to replace it but her brother said his wife had one that she didn't use and I could have that.  However, that's as far as the offer got until they both forgot about it as I had made no comment myself. This led to a debate as to what one could expect of someone who breaks something in your home.  A glass? Please - no problem, an apology is graciously accepted. A glass is cheap, besides I don't put out my best ones. My husband, he of the elephant memory, brought up the time one of the toddlers got into his drinks cupboard and broke a treasured porcelain Delft bottle.  He (my husband) made such a fuss that my daughter finally tracked down an identical one in an antique shop in Cape Town and paid top dollar for it. I remember a time when my brother-in-law visited us when we lived in a communal house with a vinyl-lined swimming pool.  His two young sons went for a swim - with the brand-new diving knives and lo - after they left, we noticed that evening that the pool had lost most of its water and there were deep slashes in the vinyl.  My brother-in-law said it could not have been his boys - and my not-yet husband would not argue and to my annoyance paid for the damages himself. He has always maintained that he will not 'fall out' with anyone in his family. He would rather walk away.  There is some wisdom in this as he is still in frequent contact with his five remaining siblings.  His mother always used to say, "People are more important than things."  Personally, I am very careful with other people's possessions and if I break something I prefer to replace it no matter what they say.


  1. As much as I would love to rise to the challenge, the rest of the post is pretty removed from your bait, as such I will not wax poetic about certain spheroids and the pain and heart break of their blue period.

    I sort of take a middle of the road approach on these kind of deals. Indeed, possessions are not people, and perhaps it is best to take the high road when one is the victim. But I definitely agree with you, that if I or those for whom I am responsible, breaks or damages someone's possessions, I will replace them.

    What is sad about those people who don't, (your b-i-l for instance), is that they feel the value of destroyed possession is worth more than their relationship to you. They are also saying that the price of the object is more than their personal integrity. It is one thing to say, "oh I am terribly sorry for what my children did. Hey I am low cash but replace it and I will pay you back in payments." And it is another to say "no way my children did that". Your brother in law probably feels that he got away cheap. Yet after 3 decades you still remember the incident, and I am sure your husband does also. Your brother in law sold his personal integrity for the price of a pool liner, and his boys learned that there is no cost to irresponsible or bad behavior. Hard to say where something like that may lead.

    BTW have I ever told you that lifting up on car bumpers is not a cure. The only thing that I found that worked...