[lit-ideas] Re: Crimes Times Two

  • From: david ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2005 22:15:01 -0700

May I say sidestep the rules and say how much I enjoyed Mike and Robert's late night exchange?

Saturday was a slow day. Much of it I spent tinkering with the poem. I must fess us; I don't write them in one day. Sunday was an all-around family "ohmygoshtheweekisuponus," day. When I thought the work was under control, there was a call to say that our friends were catching an early plane and would be here for dinner. I must say that the tuna I prepared was as good as tuna can be, with tiny potatoes and tiny squash and fresh green beens and purple artichoke. I had it again for dinner this evening and even re- heated...fabulous. This would be the tuna that we bought from a man on a boat in Newport before returning from our last trip to the beach. If you freeze tuna in a bag of water, it comes out fresh as fresh can be.

When we were a couple of bottles of wine into the meal, the phone rang. I had already lined up one of our guests to deal with "the piano problem." We are inheriting a grand piano. The piano moving folk had called on Friday to say that they would deliver said instrument on Monday between seven and noon. "But," I expostulated, "this is when I work. Do I have no say in the matter?" Round and round we went on what had been promised and what my options were--it came down to this: take the offer, or leave it. Accept delivery of the piano or have it pulled off the truck and try again in a month; same rules and same risk of inconvenience. So the phone rang in the middle of the meal and, unusually, we decided to answer it. The piano guys had reached Salem and wondered if I would like the beast that evening.

They arrived and started counting steps. This is how one pays piano guys, by the step, not the weight or the distance from the road. I had told them that there are but two steps, thinking they would like to bring the thing by the shortest route. They were thinking that if they used the gravel pathway as an excuse and walked the piano round by the driveway, they could charge for five extra steps at so much per. I asked them how long they had been on the road and wondered if they would like a beer. I also told them I had lots of plywood in the back yard that I would be quite willing to lend them, if it would help. Suddenly they remembered that they had in the van a couple of pieces of plywood and, with the offer of my help, they came to an understanding: there was no more money to be made here and the best path would be the gravel path.

Only when I tried to move the piano the next morning did I really understand how strong these two fellows were. They put the thing of a dolly but goodness...they lifted the beast over steps as if there were nothing to it. And one of them did it in sagging trousers. Got to look cool while doing feats.

So the piano has moved into the space that I cleared--a mere full day's work of considerable lifting, and no one has yet said, "My gosh is that thing ugly." What the relative did by simple neglect to the piano should, in my humble view, be prosecutable, but the damage is fortunately not highly visible. There is hope yet that we may keep the beast.

Lest you begin to worry that I am about to suffer from tennis hubris, let me set your mind at rest; this evening I played horribly.

The rest of my life has been taken up with meetings and with trying to stay in contact with both girls as one struggles with the beginning stages of the International Baccalaureate and the other comes to terms with a high school that, in a mere three weeks, has extinguished, squashed, trodden on all her passion and love of learning. When piano ruining is finally acknowledged as a crime, we should add denting and potentially squelching curiosity. A suitable sentence I leave to you.

David Ritchie
Portland, Oregon.

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