From the next room, I hear the kettle click off: quietly, unobtrusively, even modestly, unlike the stovetop models that shriek bloody murder when they’re ready. As my hearing gradually morphs into a state of less than full reliability, I’ve considered changing things up for the impossible-to-miss version, but so far so good.
Heading back to the kitchen to make my morning tea — not a mere beverage but rather the very stuff of consciousness — I wonder whether I already put the teabags in the pot. On one or two occasions recently I have found clear hot water in my teapot after the required three minutes of steeping. Sigh. This is the latest sign that my mental acuity, like the auditory, is also morphing into a state of less-than-full reliability.
Or is it?
To every thing, swish, swish, swish
There is a season, clang, clang, clang
And a time to every purpose under Heaven.
As even the memory of the sweet swish of spring street-sweepers fades, the all-too-present clang of a truck-mounted blade hitting the driveway filters through the windows, closed and double-glazed against the cold as they are. Oh, hurray, it’s winter. Again.
A recession is coming.
We just don’t know when,
or how bad it will be,
or how long it will last.
But we know it’s coming.
Ah. Well, it’s good to understand the limits of his (and pretty much everyone’s) ability to predict the economy (much less the markets), and I value the honesty. (Not that our financial advisor isn’t usually honest, it’s more a shot at the industry.) (Or maybe a shot at human nature: In our respective spheres of expertise, don’t we all hope to be more certain and definite than we can legitimately be in the face of life’s uncertainties?)
Sometime the universe sends stuff in bunches, linking to current bemusements. For instance, this week I received a follow-up on last week’s question of how to cook eggs. This embroidery artiste ADDS CHIVES. Don’t tell Paul.
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
and drinking largely sobers us again.
– Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism
I’m always a step behind. I was well into middle age before I learned of the fashion diktat against combining black and navy, and only because a niece informed me that this hitherto-unknown-to-me order had been rescinded by the Colour/Color Combination Commission. I was a senior before I learned that our bodies contain ten times more bacteria cells than human cells, only to have to relearn this rule of thumb as the currently accepted ratio of roughly one:one, with the rough edge going to the bacteria.
It’s enough to make me stop picking up new things. I mean, what’s the point? I’ll just have to put them down again.
As the last bits of local colour do their thing before the white stuff starts and the calendar year ends, this mystery shrub takes up the slack from the Pinky-Winky hydrangea, which gave us its all.
It’s another reminder to #justbreathe. All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.
Saws and . . . envelopes?
The place and time? Chichicastenango, Guatemala in 2004, before I began documenting everything in pixels.
The source of the words? Cursive Spanish script painted in pale blue on the blindingly white exterior wall of a bricks-and-mortar store adjacent to the plywood-and-tarp outdoor market.
The speaker? A highly tentative me, reading aloud in Spanish-to-English translation mode. Questioning aloud, really. I mean, what sort of store sells saws and envelopes?
Against my expectation, my translation is bang-on. What *is* out to lunch is my business-school bias about what constitutes a coherent business model and whether it even matters.
Saws-and-envelopes: weird-in-theory combinations that work in boring old practice.
Years ago, while working on design/build proposals for public infrastructure — think hospitals and rapid-transit systems — I always dreaded the editing of the architectural sections. Their text was starkly different from, well, everything else from project management to engineering to administration. It was . . . (insert ominous dum dum dum here) . . . artistic.
They wrote about the feelings their designs would evoke (presumably), and the sensations their choice of materials would produce (improbably). They wrote about fitting into the neighbourhood, but used high-falutin’ phrases like “visual continuity with the a priori streetscape.” They wrote about how their curated colours/artwork/design-lines would reflect/respect/restore the sense of location/history/purpose. Or something like that.
My problem was that I couldn’t tell good writing from bad: It all seemed over-the-top to me. My impulse — which I had to forcibly suppress — was to dig it *all* out, root and branch.
Just the facts, ma’am.