Story of a slanted coffee mug

I use a slanted coffee mug at the office and it draws remarks of curiosity or appreciation every now and then.

The attention comes because coffee mugs are supposed to be upright, not slanted. It shows how people are interested in things that are out of the ordinary. That's the number one rule creative artists need to bear in mind.

That coffee mug also draws a special memory. It is actually one of a set of four - all with unconventional characteristics. For the other three, one is very slim, one is very wide, and one has two ears. They were bought very cheaply from a 'business operation' that has ceased to exist for a few years.

It used to be that on my way to work every morning, I would walk past a street that was lined with stalls on both sides. The stalls were not open for business. It was too early in the morning. But there was this old woman who occupied one of those stalls. She would display for items that you would find in gift shops, such as photo frames, tableware, decorations, etc. She mostly only had one of each item for sale and the prices were very cheap. I came to know that they were samples from an import-export company that she somehow got hold of. It had soon become my hobby to stop by every morning to see what new items she had to offer for the day, and to make a kill when I saw something I liked.

Those four "weird" coffee mugs were one of those opportunist acquisitions. They were commissioned by a Dutch supermarket group called CoopCodis. Unfortunately, I broke the ear of one of them - the very thin one - while washing it. It looked even more weird, I know, but I couldn't stand the blemish and chucked it away. Four has now becoome three.

After some time, the old woman stopped showing up in the morning. I wondered whether it was because she no longer had the supply of curios, or.... Anyway, without her plying her trade in the borrowed space, the stall looked more deserted than ever. Even today, when I walk past the stall, I would half wish to see her there again, laying out her interesting collections.

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