unusual things


Each year at this time the Tropic of Cancer hurls wetness our way, the deserts boil it, and we scurry around underneath, perplexed. Different ions are in the air. Danger lurks. Somewhere a dog is barking. We get edgy and prepare for change, shifting our weight from one leg of the annual journey to the other and letting go of balance just long enough to allow unusual behavior.

For example, Viv went grocery shopping this evening. To have her do the shopping is to invite chaos over for coffee. I've never been able to distill the results of her shopping into any logical system of supply that actually satisfies need. She'll go to the store in search of ingredients for a meal and she'll come home with a dream, a plan, a scheme, a whole new regimen for a lifestyle she saw in some article like "Eat With Your Brain" or "Tomorrow's Colon", knowing full well that next week when I do the REAL shopping I'm gonna come back with chicken and rice and broccoli and all the other regular stuff that we eat. This means I'll have to cram the lettuce and tomatoes I buy somewhere in between the hummus and sprouted faloombwehbweh she bought, and then - bang - it's Refrigereator Space Wars.

Tonight after she got home, as we were unloading the packages of frozen paqalinacheewah root, she launched into a tirade about the evils of Supermarkets Themselves, their insidious campaigns to place advertising into every inch of our field of vision, even on the rubber dividers in the checkout line, and what's with this club membership crap - why don't they just sell it to us at a fair price instead of gouging us so they can put up fancier displays to sell us crap that's marked up even more and why should I have to swipe this card and then show them this other card why don't they do the work instead of me who's paying for all this in the first place and doesn't this make you mad...

Ions, man. Weird ions in the air.

As the one who does pretty much all the grocery shopping I told her I sympathized but, as a forty-one-year-old, I've decided to pick my fights and this just wasn't one of 'em.

Immediately I knew it was a mistake not to share her outrage, but by that point I'd stated my position. There was no going back.

Sensing that I would not be joining her in a search for torches and rope, she quietly finished putting away the tofu-furters and rice milk. I went into the living room to cue up Good Will Hunting, the video we'd rented for our viewing pleasure this fine evening.

So, we sit down to watch it, she unwraps a Fudgsicle, and then proceeds to call it what she has called it for the twenty years that I've known her - a "Fudgicle".

"Viv. It's 'Fudgsicle'. Not 'Fudgicle'."


"You don't say 'Popicle', you say 'Popsicle', right?"

"I say 'Fudgicle'."

Twenty years, kids.

There's a scene in Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams is telling Matt Damon that it's the little things, the idiosyncrasies in a relationship that make them special, sublime and intimate. He waxes nostalgic about the depth of feeling for the simplest of details. This point is not lost on me. As a forty-one-year-old man who picks his fights I've decided to compromise.

I leaned over and assured her that no matter how mistaken she may be in her pronunciation, no matter how much embarrassment it may cause in social situations, from now on she should feel free to call them "Chocolate Flavored Frozen Dairy Desserts On A Stick" and there wouldn't be a problem.

She offered no rebuttal. She just looked back at me in her own special way, sublime and intimate.

Somewhere a dog was barking.


Today's Music:

"Teach Me Tonight" -- The Jimmy McGriff and Hank Crawford Quartet -- RIGHT TURN ON BLUE


Wisdom of the Day:

"When a match has equal partners, then I fear not."

- Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound