JournalismPakistan.com October 22, 2013
I don't like coasters. I am not referring to those convoluted tracks in the fair where masochists zoom up and down leaving their stomachs behind (I hate those, too) or those people who coast up the ladder of success with disgusting ease while people like us stumble up each rung with transparent and vivid despair.
I am referring to those circular discs made of ceramic, plastic or cardboard which are placed on tables in classy homes so that your glass doesn't leave a nasty ring on the rich surface polish. I believe most sincerely that coasters were created by a misanthrope who got his jollies from other people's discomfort.
Now, coasters may be camouflaged to suggest they save the furniture but actually they are deliberately placed there to stick under your glass. They will stick half way up to your lips when you raise a glass then fall away like the first stage of Apollo Xl. If they are made of crystal they will strike against your knee then shatter cheerfully on the ground making you look like a complete cretin, which condition for some people is not very difficult to attain. Ask me. This will give the hostess a chance to say, no problem, small matter, don't worry about it. Worry about it? Ha!! Since the odds are it is happening in the boss's house how can I not worry. I can hear his mind whirring madly. How can you hold on to a job if you can't handle a single coaster in my drawing room, have to do a rethink about you in office.
Research has shown that coasters are not simple, benign creations. They are mean, calculating circles of intrigue bent on making mankind suffer. The plastic ones use suction to draw blood. Like leeches. They glue themselves to the furniture base, squelching resistance when you try to lift the glass. Some of them turn porous, thereby defeating the very purpose of saving the wood and still others slide, slip and slither every which way, all of these motions malevolently designed to ruin your happiness.
Coasters are mean little beasts in camouflage. They come with ghastly motifs of the Eiffel Tower, the Taj, the pyramids, dogs, a village scene or some equally revolting product embossed upon them. Even the owner suffers. They are never around when you need them, the guest probably forgets they are there and puts his glass back on the pristine varnish. Now, this is a very major problem and has caused more breaks in friendships than there are in tennis. You sit there, a frozen tableau of courtesy, glass in hand as hostess gads about saying, no, please, not on the Chinese hand carved center table, I'll get you a coaster, they are here some place, I know, I kept them in the second drawer, darling do you remember, the ones with the fox and hounds on them, we bought them in London last month they were here, I saw them.
Darling looks blank and says, shove a plate under the glass but coasters are a sign of breeding in society and you can't get the same impact shoving plates under glasses. Finally, she yells, got it, here you are, and she plonks evil looking bunch of hounds chasing a little fox and ten people on red tunics. Now you can put it back on the bally coaster you tell yourself horses wearing, remember the coaster, on the coaster, that round circle on the table in front of you, hostesses like guests who put glasses on coasters, these are nice people, show your pedigree, don't upset them, make sure you don't forget the coaster. You do. Mess up. Missed the coaster. Your horror is dewdrops compared to sulphur shining in the eyes of hostess who now tells you frigidly that you did not use the coaster, that was a coaster, I went and searched for the coaster and it was there for you to use. All this is said in icy tones made up of stalagmites. Couldn't you see the silly coaster, you nit? That's one more relationship coasting downhill.
Why do you think they are called coasters?
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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