Sunday, March 4, 2018

Small experiences, saved

Blonde, yellow and flaxen-streaked blonde, natural I think. Loose ponytail. A tiny bit past first youth, and knows it. All the rest is diamonds -- ears, fingers, throat -- and the polished white, paper-white teeth everyone seems to have now. It even, the polishing I mean, seems to change the way they talk, as if suddenly they have a new and attractive slight underbite; the polished-teeth people slightly thrust out their lower jaws, do you notice? and enunciate better. Once years ago I overheard a dental hygienist advise a young woman not to get them, because they look so odd. Now those of us with natural, dusky teeth look odd.

She wanted advice for wine for her dinner, and the man who normally gives her advice had the day off. "I could try," I offered. (I love the brief line from the fine character actor John Abbott in an old Star Trek episode called "Errand of Mercy." As Ayleborne he says humbly, "I am the head of our Council, perhaps I would do," when Kirk has landed on a planet Much Like Earth and asked who's in charge here. Of course it turns out that Ayleborne will more than "do," he is actually a projection of some sort of pure energy field, deigning to look human to give Kirk a "reference point.") Anyway, I offered to try the food and wine pairing game for La Blonde.

She was planning that night to cook roast pork with bacon gravy, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, and green beans. And her husband had said, to go along with that, she must "Get a big cab."

No, no, no. Why impose a fudgy, blueberry-spice Napa cabernet on that delicious meal? Instead buy a richly gossamer Chablis, or an Alsatian pinot blanc with that aromatic streak of honey down the middle, or get a fine sparkling wine from anywhere. If you must have red get an old ... no. I was going to say a Gran Reserva Rioja, an elegant brick colored Barolo, but no. No reds. 

I said all this with the utmost in Aylebornian humility. But of course it would not do. "My husband only drinks cabernet. We never drink whites. He said get a big cab."

Okay. I managed to ding the husband by selling the wife a Chateau St. Jean "Cinq Cepages," great, big, suitably expensive, but not -- completely -- a cab. And why has the Man with the Day Off, who always give her such good suggestions, not led her and her husband's shared palate elsewhere by now?

I really must cope with my lack of charity. It's the writer's stock in trade, though. How else can one observe the world from one's own irreplaceable and precious angle?

Spring wildlife has not really returned yet to the sloughs near here that we like so much. The water that will be covered with green lily pads in summer is now open and shining blue, with only the curving shores made of rank upon rank of last year's washed-beige reed stalks showing where land actually is. The woods beyond are an endless tangle of brown and sunlight. A bit of patience and a pair of binoculars were rewarded only with a river otter crashing out of the reeds and swimming through the cold water, then a red tailed hawk overhead, and a lone songbird nearby, like a dull dun sparrow with stripes on his head, that I don't know.

Do you remember the old movie The Greatest Story Ever Told? It's not so great -- see the intelligent review at the charmingly named --  but one part struck me as right and as giving information necessary to know. We see scenes of chaos in Jerusalem, as we are to understand it, just before Christ's time: everything and everyone is a whirl and a welter of brown and gray rags, violence, sickness, panic, and at the last, bloodied hands bringing up and steadying a lowing black calf for sacrifice, the huge knife under its neck. The camera swoops up and out to a bird's eye view of the city, with the Temple at its center, and then to white dots of people in a wilderness below and outside the walls, all journeying to the river where John the Baptist stands shouting "Repent!" Now any city anytime may be, in places, a welter of violence, sickness, and panic. But the strength of this visual teaching message, I thought, was good.

You will have to pardon me for "publishing" this, a bit unpolished. But I had an unfortunate event recently, wherein a blog post saved in draft was in fact utterly lost after hours of work. No very great loss, but still.  I learned that if you go ahead and publish, and then hit Ctrl and P, you can at least preserve the wonder of it all the old fashioned way, on paper.  

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