Skip to main content

FRESH FLOWERS, FREE SPEECH, A PISSED OFF CAT, AND OTHER BITS AND BOBS: #12

 




FRESH FLOWERS 

Joni always gets it right. You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.

For something like 30 years and a bit more, we bought, packaged for resale, and distributed thousands of cut flowers every week. Roses, carnations, mums, and more slipped through our hands, primarily viewed as a commodity. It was how we made our living. Oh, every once in a while, a particularly fine specimen would catch our eye and wind up in a bud vase on the kitchen table. But in general, I just became accustomed to having fresh flowers in the house without really noticing them. 

In retirement, Cathey has taken to container gardening on the terrace. No veggies. Just stuff that looks pretty, smells good, or might spice up a stew. So we have sprigs and blossoms of several different sorts on the table as summer begins on through the middle of autumn. But the winters, as far from eastern Pennsylvania as we are, still can be pretty sparse. And, because I am a man, I hadn’t noticed that the vases had been put away and that the table was bare. 

The bulb lit in the dim recesses of what passes as my mind when a dinner invitée brought Cathey a bouquet of flowers instead of the usual bottle of wine.

“I just love cut flowers,” Cathey said. After more than 50 years, you may be as stupid about some things as a lump of granite, but if you are still alive and have all of your fingers and toes intact, you know when the lady of the house speaks from the heart.

Yes. I have started buying flowers. No big deal. Self defense is a noble and essential animal skill that human males would be wise to keep sharply honed.

FREE SPEECH

There’s lots of talk these days about freedoms. In particular, folks seem to be adopting the philosophy that rights are more important than responsibilities and can be disconnected from truth and from consequences. 

Joni again. She’s joined Neil Young in taking her music off Spotify in response to that service providing a platform for misinformation. Does Joe Rogan have a right to spout his bull shite? Of course he does. Does Spotify have the right to give him a platform? Certainly, although one could wish that Spotify would pay greater attention to the quality of the information its platform provides a megaphone for rather than the profitability of same. So what’s all the huffing and puffing about?

We need to have a serious conversation about how far we are willing to go to participate in the post truth society that we seem to be enveloped in. Most of us haven’t the power to influence the course of that conversation on a macro level. Joni and Neil can. But we have to do our part. We have to, with love and all due respect, push against falsehoods promoted in our hearing. Bypass the channels on the television or radio that promote false narratives for profit. Don’t give voice to family and friends spouting anti scientific nonsense, particularly in front of our children.

The freedom to swing your fist ends at the point of my nose. Should the two collide, there will be consequences. And in these troubled times, the freedom of people like Rogan to give credence to opinions that might cause serious harm to me or those that I love should not be allowed to be monetized without significant push back from serious and thoughtful people wherever it rears it’s ugly head.

OUR CAT IS PISSED OFF

We're in the middle of a move. We're only moving about 75 yards down the street, but we are moving. Beds, rugs, spice cabinets, plants, all that had been here will soon be there. Because we're only moving down the street, we are doing most of the moving by ourselves. We pack a box, we carry it down the hill, we unpack the box, we bring back the empty box. Repeat. It's been a couple of weeks now, but we are near the end.

Sylvie is having a hard time. She’s a snowshoe, an offshoot Siamese breed. And she was a street kitten, feral child of a feral mother, very territorial and always aware of her surroundings. So when stuff that Sylvie had become accustomed to began disappearing, Sylvie noticed. She began following us around. She became more of a lap cat. Something unusual was going on and she was not comfortable with it.

The crisis came when I began to tear down the room that she and I share. It’s my office, but it’s the one room in the house that has the radiator going all winter so that she has one dependable warm place to nap on her cat tower. As the date for the move neared, I spent a day clearing everything out of the room except my desk and that tower. Day bed, book cases, coats and hangers in the little open closet…all suddenly gone. 

Sylvie immediately displayed her displeasure. She threw up everywhere. Everywhere. She stopped eating, even her favorite daily treats. She hid inside the little cave in the tower that she had never frequented before. Sylvie was one pissed off cat.

Two days passed. We kept close watch. We considered a trip to the vet if she continued to refuse to eat. But in time, Sylvie came around. Slowly at first, but now back to whatever passes as normal for her. Now comes the kicker. We move her to the new house in a couple of days. I will report.

BITS AND BOBS

A friend in Florida is complaining that it’s so cold that he might have to put on socks. Meanwhile, they’re experiencing a blizzard where he grew up in the north. Opinions about the weather are indeed relative to the thickness of one’s blood and, in warmer climates, the blood thins rapidly.

A teenage girl just became the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe in a single-seat prop plane, solo. It took the better part of six months to complete the journey, proving that given enough time and money, anybody can do anything.

Apropos of our move, the new house is heated primarily by programmable electric radiators. I intend to fire up the fireplace insert frequently for two reasons. First, a fireplace not only provides heat, but visual and auditory and aromatic enjoyment as well. Secondly, we don’t have a ten year old child handy to teach me how to program the darn radiators which, by the way, come in a variety of different flavors with different buttons and little, unreadable screens.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

GRAND CAFE OCCITAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

  We made our way to a new restaurant the other day, up toward the hills past La Liviniere in the small town of Felines-Minervois. None of our party had been there before, but a friend had visited and said that she'd enjoyed it. She's a vegetarian. First clue. Now don't get me wrong. I have no gripe with those who choose to go meatless. I understand the environmental concerns and I understand the horrors of factory farming. But I also understand that form follows function in the design of tools, in the design of appliances, and in the design of human teeth. Our incisors and canines did not develop over the course of hundreds of thousands of years to rend the flesh of a fresh-caught broccoli. We are omnivores by design, Darwinian design. And I enjoy eating omni. Enough preamble... I never went inside the Grand Cafe Occitan. A young lady who would be our server met us at the front door of the nicely pointed old stone house, leading us to a pebble-covered courtyard on the side

MONARCHY, BUTT PATTING, SELF CHECKOUT, AND RANDOM STUFF: #17

  MONARCHY It is not possible to be an English-speaking expat living in Europe without having gained some understanding of how the UK works and how UK policies and politics affect European life. And so, a word about the monarchy is in order today. I'm no monarchist. As an American, I have grown up believing in liberal democracy. Today, I consider myself a democratic socialist. But I have come to appreciate the manner in which British royalty has accommodated itself to the modern world. There is no doubt that accommodation has diminished the role of the monarch. That's probably a good thing. But a diminished monarchy need not necessarily herald the end of the monarchy. Elizabeth's monarchy became simply the personification of her country's flag, to be trotted out to acknowledge community, in good times and in sad times, expressing publicly what was being felt privately. There was a time, during Brexit, when I was furious with Elizabeth. As one of the richest, most well-

THINKING OUT LOUD...