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Hi, I’m Shani

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that.  

shanisilver@gmail.com

I Use A $60 Wine Glass And So Should You

I Use A $60 Wine Glass And So Should You

I have one good wine glass. It was very expensive and I love it. Drink your swill from cheap, mass produced glassware all you want, I’ll take my 2013 Chianti in a Zalto glass. Think yourself “rustic” each time you sip from a short tumbler typically reserved for water, of all things. You’re not doing it right. You need a glass born and bred for introducing wine to your mouth the way you’d introduce a foreign dignitary to the First Lady. Don’t be a peasant.

The extravagant cost of one perfect, indulgent wine glass is such that I see no reason to purchase a second. It’s just me in here, opening bottles of wine the nice Italian proprietor of the shop down the street thought I might like, given my affinity for earthy reds with high tannins. I consume them on Sunday afternoons with a book or perhaps an old television series I never got into. I’m about to start Downton Abbey, don’t ruin it for me. I buy $22 bottles of wine and I drink them out of a $60 glass, this is who I am.

The amusing part of course is that I only have one. I myself don’t find it amusing, I think it’s highly logical and cost-conscious, but apparently it’s comical, if you ask my friends. When they discover I’m the owner of just one wine glass, a puzzled, concerned expression washes over them, as if I’d just told them I’m not sure summer will be coming this year. They can’t understand why I’d ever buy just one glass. That’s so silly! What do you do when you have people over?

Silly? What I find silly is blowing dust out of the bottom of an entirely unused wine glass once a month when I give my apartment a deep clean. Silly is spending $60 on something I will have to find surface space for and I’m certain you can understand what a lip-curling chore that can be in a vintage one bedroom apartment with a ceiling that leaks so often I never move the bucket. Silly is buying things you’ll never use, for no reason.

This is not to say I don’t buy “just in case” essentials. I have, and regularly maintain, a small cache of emergency supplies fit to sustain me for 1–3 days should a hurricane or blizzard take hold. Water, duct tape, oatmeal, Cliff bars, emergency lighting, a headlamp, and toilet paper. I like to think I’m ready. I get made fun of for the toilet paper part but let’s see who’s laughing when they have to wipe their ass with a sock, hmmm?

I check smoke detector and flashlight batteries regularly and I sleep with an extra canister of mace in my nightstand. I’ve padlocked the iron gate outside my bedroom window and the key is taped to the wall next to it. A couple I’m close friends with have a copy of my apartment keys. I have a twin air mattress for unexpected guests. I buy cat food in bulk. You won’t find me in a panic unless (ironically) I’ve somehow allowed myself to run out of wine. Being the prepper I am, unpreparedness simply doesn’t happen. Things that drive people to stand in lines at Trader Joe’s that resemble Star Wars movie release campouts are things I was thinking about a year ago. The world ain’t gonna sneak up on me. But I don’t spend an extra and useless $60 on the best wine glass money can buy just because it looks and feels weird to only have one.

Do you think I care about weird? We’ve established I’m alone in here (and you should see my current outfit choice, you really should. I’ve closed the curtains lest the Peruvian family across the airshaft get an eyeful and call a sanatorium). I couldn’t care less about weird. Instead, I care very much about maintaining. Maintaining sanity, maintaining confidence, and maintaining a sense of control over a single life lived alone despite buckets of fruitless effort to find someone worth buying a second Zalto glass for.

You probably gave him a drawer, or a toothbrush. Not me. I don’t care if he keeps his shit on a chair in the corner. My future partner will know he’s special when I hand him a piece of glassware more perfect and brilliantly crafted than many sculptures in the National Gallery of Art. He won’t believe me at first, of course, but it won’t take long for him to experience the reality of wine actually tasting better when consumed from a good glass. Don’t believe me? Let’s make a $60 bet.

I purchased the “universal” model, of course. That was the most cost-effective choice. You’ll find shapes specifically crafted for whites, reds, champagne, even specific varietals. I have had my eye on a three-pack set that includes one white wine glass and two glasses specifically for various reds, but at $183 I’ve thought it best to save that purchase for a special occasion. Also I’d need to install new shelving and I’m not sure I’ll be resigning my lease this winter. There’s a beer glass, a lovely decanter, and even a glass for water, but I’ll just stick my head under the sink. You can personalize each glass with initials but to me that feels like scratching the face of a supermodel with a rusty instrument.

You’ll have to hand wash it, too, please don’t forget that. Don’t insult the glass by shoving it into the dishwasher next to the plastic baseball game cups with fading colors and reusable tupperware you take for lunch. If you can, keep it inside a cabinet safely away from the shelf’s edge, so as to prevent the gathering of dust inside the vessel. I use mine so often it sits on the kitchen counter next to my high quality olive oil and the wooden spoons I inherited from my great grandmother.

Remember that it’s special. The Zalto glass does not exist to get you drunk. Though, it certainly won’t hinder that goal. The glass is there to help you enjoy one of life’s finest pleasures. It reminds you to stop and think about what you’re doing, what you’re drinking. To take things a step further, I think my Zalto glass actually reminds me to slow down. To practice a bit more patience and care. The first time you ding that stem on the water faucet as you clean it will stop your heart with the force of a GM airbag, I’m telling you. Take care of your glass. Be gentle, be slow. There’s nothing hustle or bustle about this glass. It’s a physical reminder of just how lucky we are as human beings.

We get to be alive and drink wine, and look at the stars, and go to the movies, and order just french fries. What other item in your kitchen can remind you to be grateful for everything present in your life? Is your Nutri Bullet going to help you relax? Is that potato masher from Target really adding to your life in a positive way? They don’t compare. Nothing compares to the Zalto. It is perfect. It is beautiful. It is luxurious. I’m so lucky to have this glass.

And I certainly don’t need two.

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