Friday, October 21, 2005

Not Much News

I'm watching a show about cannibalism. I'm impressed that I can see things from the point of view of the anthropologist who spent time with the Wari in the Amazon River Basin, a tribe of small, dark people who traditionally roasted and ate the flesh of their relatives after natural death. The idea of putting the body of a loved one into the cold ground to decay and be devoured by worms was appalling to them. I'm certain I couldn't consume human flesh (unless perhaps my survival depended on it, like the unfortunates the show is featuring now). But if it weren't for cremation, I don't think I could have let them bury Dad. To place his ashes in the ground, dry and clean and sealed in a container that will outlast humanity, seemed much more acceptable to me than to have to remember a cold clay cast of the person I loved, buried in the ground in a box to rot, even if that is the natural way of things.

A doe and her two grown fawns have taken up residence in the broad meadow down the hill by the plant. We keep startling each other at the bottom of the UV stairs, at the back door of the lab, down on the third reservoir when I check the level at 3:30 in the afternoon. I had to go up and check on the chlorine residual about 10:00pm tonight; we're having some trouble with our modem and can't rely on the dialer to call us. I've been alone at the plant in the night several times before, but tonight was the first night it spooked me to be there. I am rarely disturbed by thoughts of ghosts and monsters; it's people with bad intentions that frighten me.

Morgan and I were sitting sewing costumes in her basement late last Tuesday when the doorbell rang. As usual, the three dogs went berserk and by the time I got upstairs and hauled hundred-pound Daisy out of the way by her collar, the ringer had fled. On the porch was a stack of homemade gingerbread cookies in Saran wrap, with a photocopied chain letter encouraging us to play the same trick on our friends. And I thought to myself that there really are nice things about living in a small town. A complete stranger stopped me in the parking lot at Smith's this Tuesday to tell me so. He shouted, without preamble, "do you know how lucky you are to live here?" I looked around to make sure he was addressing me, and we had a brief conversation, standing ten yards apart, about how friendly people are here, how clean the air is, how glad he is to be back from three years working in Seattle. He doesn't even mind the long, severe winters Evanston dishes out. I wanted to say how much I miss San Diego. I didn't. I just agreed with everything he said and wandered into the store, where by chance I found the perfect twig broomstick for my Halloween costume.

I have so much to do this weekend that I'm frightened I'll never get through it all. Tonight I stuck a gently admonishing note on the windshield of a silver Impala. The 21-year-old kid upstairs (I can't believe how incredibly wide the small gap of five years between us feels sometimes) parked like an ass, taking up two spaces, and I politely told him to watch it. We'll see if it makes any difference. After a long morning of watching Gary wrestle with the software and hardware that operates the plant, Bud looked at Jeff and I and said, "I had no idea today would turn out to be a day like today." And he didn't even have to pee in a cup this morning. Drug tests are not much fun.


Blogger rackorf said...

with the canibal thing, apparently the eatee's end up with something like mad cow disease...
as to ways of departing, i reckon ashes in a big firework would be kind of nice...soar up high then blam and glitter out.

October 21, 2005 at 12:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry A, some of us in San Diego miss you too.

October 21, 2005 at 12:47 AM  

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