Years ago, Vincent told me that in France there was a saying: “Never two without three.” Now, many years later, when I am tying up the garbage bags, I have to make three knots. I have to add three dashes of salt to the pot. Or I have to kiss the dog three times on the head. It’s a sickness.
I am so susceptible to superstition. If a black cat crosses my path I make the sign of the cross. That might not seem too bad – except that I am not Catholic. I love peacock feathers but can’t have any in my house because when I was a child my grandmother told me real ones were bad luck. If I make a positive statement like “I’ve never had a cavity” I have to “touch wood” right away so as not to jinx myself (I actually had to touch my wooden night stand after typing “I have never had a cavity” just now). So you can see it’s bad.
A few years ago I found a small sculpture on the side of the road – apparently someone moving had no place for it and threw it out. It had a primitive look and I liked it; so I brought it home. It wasn’t long before I had second thoughts and felt it was really an eyesore. However, for some reason I got it in my head that it would be bad luck to throw it away. So I put it in the closet where it was constantly in the way. Finally, Vincent asked me one day “what in the hell is this ugly thing?” I told him the story of finding it and feeling like it would be bad luck to throw it away. He looked at me for one second picked up the figurine and walked outside with it. I followed saying “Don’t throw it away. I’ll find a place for it.” To which Vincent replied “Oh I’m not going to throw it away.” Then he proceeded to repeatedly bash the thing against the concrete steps with all his might until at last the sculpture was in a thousand pieces. Then he looked at me, smiled, and said “Still think it’s bad luck to throw it away?”
The whole thing caught me off guard and sent me into a fit of laughter. But more importantly, it really did feel great to see him beating the poor thing against the ground. It was freeing. Vincent’s total lack of hesitation in smashing that stupid piece of junk immediately made me realize how ridiculous I was being.
Though it by no means cured me of my superstitious nature, that incident is a constant reminder not to let myself get caught up in self-made stress and worry. I had turned a piece of trash into a problem. Now, I always try to remember that sometimes nothing feels better than to just say “fuck that piece of junk” and bash it to bits. And “junk” = anything you want it to be.