“Is that a Ruby-crowned Kinglet,” she said.
“Is it still there,” he said, not looking up.
“Is that a Ruby-crowned Kinglet,” she said.
“Is it still there,” he said, not looking up.
According to her my brother and I couldn’t have been more different. When asked what we believed I told her that he was a pantheist and I an atheist. She was concerned, to her it was as if we were on opposite sides of a fault-line, an earthquake imminent–our divide could only widen.
She considered his cup full and my cup empty. Her world was black and white. Her world was fundamental. She had faith, she pretended to know things she couldn’t know.
The day she left she wished me well, “certain,” she said that my brother and I would be able to overcome our differences. She sent me pamphlets about how god loved me, and missives with the rules I needed to avoid his tough love. But her missionary zeal waned. I don’t know if she lost her faith, but the word faded, unneeded.
The divide she saw was never there of course. The fault line was not between my brother and me, but between those who require certainty and those who don’t. God is still dead and nihilism is still not a problem, not even Donny is worried.
The Utah legislature is in session. They’re doing their best. They’ve turned down millions of dollars for health care. They’re meeting with the teetotalers, the tea partiers, the pyramid schemers. They’re meeting with each other trying to figure out how to benefit their own financial interests.
They’ve decided that the prison should be moved providing them with more real estate deals. They’re supporting more technology assuring us that a computer can teach just as well as a human and that it doesn’t need healthcare, just a maintenance contract that they can provide. They struggle with facts. They struggle with logic. They’re suspicious of science. They’re looking for a way to deal with these inconvenient truths.
It’s the reason they were now rushing through a bill that will protect them, that will enrich them, that will keep the gravy train on track, a witless protection program. A program that will make the world right.
In its final act of the session, it is prepared to pass the Witless Protection Act. It is based on similar bills passed in like-minded states—Texas, Kansas, Ignorance.
The act will make it easier to defend the climate change deniers, the evolution skeptics, the society for the defense of bigotry.
It is certain to pass constitutional mustard, there being no constitutional dictate of rationality. The Bill of Rights protects ignorance, it protects stupidity, it protects them.
Yes, the Witless Protection Act, it’s their defining moment.
I was walking down the street when a fellow some distance in front of me glanced back and looked at me, a sinister look, as if he thought I was following him. I decided right then that though I hadn’t been following him I would.
I’ve been watching spy movies on TV, Covert Affairs, Alias, shows like that and relished the chance to practice my tradecraft. I followed him for some time, and though I used my best technique, he looked nervous. I was sure he knew I was following him.
I live in Utah where everyone but me carries a gun which caused me to reconsider. I decided following him, tradecraft or not, was a bad idea. While thinking about my bad idea my attention waned, my craft suffered, and I lost him. I walked further up the street looking left and right, and then behind me. It was then I saw him following me.
I was frightened as you might imagine having a man with a gun following me. I ducked quickly into a coffee shop, I love a dark roast, and lost him. I had a cup to calm my nerves, I know, and considered my adventure. My tradecraft needed work. I’d pay more attention, I’d perfect my brush by, and learn some simple ciphers, and when I discarded an empty coffee cup I’d pretend it was a dead drop. I’d be ready next time a spying opportunity presented itself, but maybe not in Utah.
I don’t know what happened to that dog, the beagle. It’s been 50 years, or so. I don’t even remember his name, though maybe it was Rocky, but I do remember mom’s shoes, dozens of them, mostly high heels.
Do women still wear high heels? Why?
The shoes, mom’s shoes all had bite marks, evidence that the beagle had chewed on them. The shoes were rendered less stylish. They were thrown out, perhaps the dog was too. Like I said, I don’t remember. I could ask my brother, he’d know. He knows all the dogs we ever owned and their stories, but I’m more comfortable not knowing. You can ask him if you want to know the rest of the story. But please, if you do, leave me out of it.
We went to Cous Cous last night, a new restaurant. Not new new, but new to me. Perhaps I’d seen it before, but I’d never eaten there, and seeing it there where an Arby’s used to be, if it registered at all, was quickly forgotten, and so I think it’s fair if I refer to it as new.
The cuisine is Mediterranean, and the chef Nick, is hands on and serves the food himself. My wife has eaten there before, and she suggested it as a place to celebrate her birthday, though her birthday is still two days away.
Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m sixty-four?
We had trouble finding the restaurant because the birthday girl said it was on 7th East between 8600 South and 9400 South. It turns out that it is between 5300 South and 5600 South on 9th East. She’s good at finding places if they are in the neighborhood. Though sometimes one neighborhood looks much like another to her.
Siri helped us find the restaurant. “This restaurant named couscous grill is a little ways from you,” she said.
We checked the menu on the wall. Gail and I decided on the Seafood Bake while one son ordered a Cajun Steak while the other a dish with lamb.
“I don’t like lamb,” I said, “it made me sick one time.”
The lamb son asked “how long ago was that?”
I said “oh maybe 20 or 30 years ago.”
He suggested that maybe I just got some bad lamb. I agreed that was possible, but since there were other menu items that I was sure would taste good, the lamb was something I didn’t intend to try.
“Maybe you could try it some other time,” he said.
“I could, but I probably won’t with so many safe choices available,” I said
Cous Cous is a restaurant where you order at a counter and take a number to your table. While the others, my wife and two sons were filling their drinks, I looked for a table.
There were none with room for four. I suppose we could have managed with the high stools and the little round table, but I don’t like those any more than I like lamb. I finally found a solution, not perfect but workable, there were two tables for two right next to each other with only a 12×12 inch column separating them. You could easily see two of the three other people at the table with no problem, and if you leaned a bit around the post you could see the third, but it wasn’t perfect.
Near us was a booth that could accommodate four but it was occupied by a couple, a man and a woman. A man and a woman can get married in Utah, but if it was a man and another man or a woman and another woman they would be out of luck unless they had already done it during the sanity window, December 20th to January 6th, when it was legal. It is now on hold.
But this is not about the state we live in–sometimes primitive, rather it is about a birthday, and food, and conversation.
It occurred to me that if we could switch places with the couple, in the booth, a man and a woman. There would be room for the four of us. But asking someone to move, is not something I feel comfortable doing. But I was thinking it, and then my son, also thinking it commented on how nice it would be to have the booth, but that he too was uncomfortable asking. He had it all worked out in his mind. He would explain how it was his mom’s birthday, and presto chango we would be sitting where they were. We decided that they had picked the spot because it was comfortable and while they might be willing to switch it really wasn’t fair to ask.
Asking would be like trying lamb, it might turn out to be great, But it might turn out poorly and once the mood is broken it’s tough to get it back. Sometimes good enough is good enough, though others might say nothing ventured nothing gained. I guess I’m a good enough kind of person.
Will I still need her, I do. Will I still feed her, I will. Just not lamb.
The way I remember it was Keith had to appear in court on a reckless driving charge. But it wasn’t reckless driving according to his mom, a hubcap had come off going around a corner and had made quite a racket. It was the hubcap not the speed that made it seem reckless
Later: days, months, or years, I don’t recall, we were coming back from Idaho Falls, the cousins, our transport a fast 58 Chevy. The law got on our tail around Shelly or Firth and Keith quickly pulled into town did a left and a right and another left down a side street. He pulled over turned off the lights and whispered “be quiet.” The officer having excellent hearing, what else, pulled in behind us a few moments later.
I wondered what Keith would tell his mom this time.
I wondered how she would describe his latest stunt to others.
(Somewhat) Daily News from the World of Literary Nonfiction
Have you heard the one about . . .