[lit-ideas] Sunday Something

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2015 11:55:53 -0800

For parts of this week the chickens were something of a tree falling in the 
forest kind of deal.  No one was here to hear them.  There was probably a deal 
of griping, but I was in San Francisco and E. was busy. There will undoubtedly 
have been appeals to Amnesty.  I half-expected to return to placards and 
marching. "What do we want?" 
"When do we want it?"
San Francisco was marvelous.  Lunch Chez Panisse is not to be held to some 
standard of perfection but on an incredibly wet day when you arrive in Berkeley 
on the Bart  knowing you have no right to anything on account of birth or 
circumstance, but having saved your pennies and made a reservation, suddenly 
it's your turn.  Bring on the wine and beets and cauliflower and quail and who 
cares where the day heads next?  Half asleep on the way back, I mused on the 
miracle of a train that takes you underneath the bay, all the way across for 
just a few dollars.  What a miracle!

On my return home, the first indication of a change of mind was a redoubling of 
scratching.  The second was speed-gobbling of what they found.  Neither E. nor 
I could figure it out.
"Prospecting," said Mimo, when asked what she was doing.
"Prospecting?" I asked.  
Cheddar ran up, wondering if our conversation might presage the arrival of food.
"Prospecting," Appenzeller confirmed. 
"I thought you were developing a sense of leisure...Theater?  Sport?"
Mimo gave me her serious-and-severe look, "We have given up frivolity.  We now 
favor capitalism."
I pointed out that sport and capitalism are not incompatible.  They carried on 
working.  I toyed with the idea of simply going inside and getting on with 
catching up.  But no.  "Prospecting for what?"
"And if you find any?"
"We swallow it."
"Swallow it?"
Suddenly I understood, 'pierced through the veil' as it were.  "Has someone 
been telling you tales?"
"A little bird," said Mimo.
"Migrating," said Cheddar.
"And would said tale feature, perchance..., a goose that laid golden eggs?"
"Well do carry on," I said.  "Ars longa, vita brevis."  It was an exit line, 
and I took a step away, but continued to listen.  It's a trick I learned in the 
"Sometimes," said Cheddar to Peccorino, "I just don't get him.  So many weird 
"It's Latin," said Peccorino.  "He's showing off."
"Bloody gods," said Mimo.  "Leave you in the dark for weeks on end..."
"...in the pouring rain."
"...in the rain... and what do they come back spouting?"
"Bloody latin."
"What are you going to do with your egg...when it comes?"
"I thought I might make a statue."
"Why not?"
"A self portrait?"
"I was thinking something more bovine."
"That's like BAAL that is.  That's not allowed."
"Says who?"
"Said Wensleydale."
"She's dead."
"Only a bit."

David Ritchie,
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