My nephews had circled and then came to earth Sunday morning. It was snowing, so they came in to be "de-iced", as they put it. It was but a bald-faced maneuver to read my paper, eat my food, and drink my tea, along with whatever other mischief they could hatch.
I sensed this called for strong measures on my part, so I scurried like a vole into the kitchen, chivvied some double strength Stash Earl Grey from its canister, and made a mighty pot of tea...so mighty, in fact, that I began to sing in German and hum "Ein fester Berg ist unser Gott".
"Have you..." "...something a bit..." "...stronger than tea?"
I heard a mighty chorus mutter.
"You don't want tea?" I asked, incredulously. I looked at them, snow covered little ragamuffins. My heart melted.
"I picked up some Cointreau at the Duty Free coming back from T.O. in January." I pointed to the cabinet where I kept the real stuff.
The cabinet was filled with a series of bottles of booze in various stages of deconstruction.
"And there 's some beer..."
(I have finally found the proper usage for the word "deconstruction". I came across this usage in Foucault's seminal work "The Real As LCBO", where it is Leo Foucault, not Michel, and LCBO is the Liquour Control Board of Ontario. Bryan, my wife's cousin, gave me a cherished copy from the vaults of the LCBO.)
Maintaining a wine cellar and a liquor cabinet - I use the expression Licker Locker...actually Licka Locka!- is a iffy proposition when one does not drink. She-who-must-be-obeyed has a friend in Cleveland who thinks I am quite a pestilence. She drinks beer. Her tastes seem to be various. Every time she comes to town, I have to check and see whether we have a stock of her brew of choice. Since she only drinks 1 or two cans of the six pack- without benefit of glass or tumbler, I might add-this leaves a balance of 4 to 5 cans with nowhere to go.
Recently when she blew in like the Avian Flu, I was sent to the cheap fermented products cellar to see what was up. I distinctly remember some major-domo-ish character telling me that we had better started laying in the '06 malt liquors. In the fridge, there were 4 cans of beer, all the same brand, all of the same provenance, buried way in the back, hiding under an overturned wicker tumbrel of mottled lettuce leaves and various salad greens that had gone through Falluja.
They were not light beers. There was no light beer...and I hadn't laid in the '07 Lites!
However, I was informed that her nibs drank light beer. Not only did she do so now, but it seems that she always had done so, at least in the recollection of the intelligentsia standing around in the kitchen.
"Where did these four cans of regular beer come from, then?" I asked. "She drank regular beer last time."
I have often found that imbibers do not really have any notion of what they are drinking. I suggested that we serve the regular stuff, and she would never know the difference, only to be rewarded for what I considered my brainy little economy with an icy glare of the Wisconsin Glaciation type. So I headed to the store.
"...in the ice box."
They glanced at each other and guffawed.
Ice box! I had a sudden lonely feeling, as if I were to be the object of cartoon justice: say an archaic word and get an anvil dropped on one's head! Ice box, Victrola, Polaroid; the list goes on.
They bypassed the Kelvinator ( ??!! an ice box named after Lord Kelvin- rather cold indeed), passed by the Food-A-Rama, et allaient directement a la bouteille de Cointreau.
A small crystalline Steuben holding the Cointreau, a dish of shavings of Trapper Joe's dark chocolate, a Villeroy and Bosch Botanica tea cup filled with Stash Earl Grey double bergamot, and in the cup a stick of cinnamon from my Pakistani epicerie.
Outside, the snow was blowing and settled upon their three SUVs. "Eco-observation number 20." I said.
They looked up from my copy of The Times and smiled vaguely. Number 20 is something like why drive 3 separate cars when 1 will suffice. "Number 3." I added, this being a slur and a wish as to what a gas guzzler may soon guzzle, in copious amounts, and without benefit of Reverend Bowdler.
They looked up, smiled, and hoisted their tea cups in unison as if to drink to my health, pinkie fingers up, and, although unsaid, indicated that I should be hoist upon a triple pinkie petard. I had to admit that they had a nice touch to their riposture.
"...sometimes...not often, but sometimes..."
"...you do come up with something rather good."
I smiled. "Glad you like the tea."
They shook their heads.
"...the chocolate?" I wondered.
"This is all great, of course."
"We meant the Blog."
I gave me comfort that someone other than the Gestapo and Thought Police read the bloody thing. However, these three in front of me were not known for various and sundy kindnesses. I hedged.
I gave the room a quick once around, looking for the quickest exit. It appeared that a quick leap to the left, over the side table, then a down and roll to the pantry door just might be in the cards.
"That posting 'In The Nightlands' ."
"We liked it."
"We were shocked."
O.K. An insult in a velvet glove, or a compliment in a furze-laden glove. I'll take whatever is remotely related to a compliment. My mother is an expert in this field of the ontology of compliments: the velvet glove, the velveteen glove, the crack in the wise of the universe, the give with the left and take with the right...it runs in the family.
"The power of God is shattered like a mirror. God is broken up into shards, sharp pieces that reflect His power, but no longer unified. That's what was interesting. We see it in the world. People always moan why the news does not report the good things. Well, it's so scattered about. There is so much bad, and it is so very captivating. And it presents a unified face. But God, God is scattered around. You look and look for pieces of that mirror that once was God, then you find a piece, but you can only see so much..."
I did not know. These cute little metaphors that pop out of my writing are just my way of getting through another tedious session at the old keyboard. They actually having meaning??? The sky was greyer than the tea. The snow was making a determined effort to white-out the world.