I was eyeing off the ceramic pot plants.
I could imagine their earthy crunch as they hit the ground. I could almost hear the warmth and resonance of the sound as the pot moved from being a single unit to its varied crunchy pieces.
I had to clench my fists and look away.
It had only taken about 20 minutes to become an addict, but addict I was.
I was attending a polterabend, held the weekend before my daughter’s wedding in Berlin. Until this moment, I thought the Greeks were the only people into smashing plates, but apparently, it is a German custom to smash a few plates too. The stories around the symbolism vary, but basically it is about driving away a few demons before the big day, then working together as a happy couple to clean up the mess in a show of being able to share difficult times.
In this instance, my daughter bossed around her future husband about sweeping up, then he bossed her around doing the same. I would say this qualifies as a happy show of mutual and equal cooperation.
But I digress. Because on this day, it was all about the plate smashing.
My daughter had been to a flea market and collected several boxes of smashable items and people had also brought their own. Polterabend, it seems, is also a great way of clearing out your cupboards of ugly and unnecessary ceramics. The polterarbend venue had stipulated that toilet bowls could not be smashed and I wondered just what else had made its way to this suburban square of concrete (and also how easy it would be transfer said toilet bowl to the venue via public transport).
After I had hurled a rather nice plate in blue and white, I grabbed a chicken salt shaker to break next.
“Oh that looks nice,” said a fellow polterabend attendee.
The old me might have given her the chicken, but the new me could see that options for smashing were getting low and this might be my last chance to feel that immense satisfaction and rush of witnessing something hit the ground. I gripped onto the chicken harder, recognising the covetous look of a non-devotee.
The chicken may have been small, but it made a wonderful tinkly smash as it hit the concrete. There would be plenty of cleaning up there and it occurred to me that the bridal couple might learn some things, not only about themselves, but also about their guests (and future mother in law) in the process.