Archive for June, 2011


Teatime

“The trouble with knowing some things,” Alice said with a small, half-amused sigh, “is that them people expect you to know everything.” She lay back on the couch and tossed her feet up on the armrest. “They say, ‘What ho, Alice? You’re a smart girl. Come do my physics homework,” and you have to explain that you never studied the beastly subject and that, by the by, you are smart enough to know not to help someone cheat.”

“That is a bother, isn’t it?” said Mrs. Macy as she poured herself a third cup of tea and added two lumps and a spot of brandy.

“And they also fail to realize that there are different kinds of ‘smart’! There’s clever, and wise, and bookish, and savvy…”

Mrs. Macy set down her teacup with a startled clink. “Wherever did you learn that ghastly word?”

“From Freddie,” Alice said as she pried off her left shoe with her right toe.

“Who on earth is Freddie?”

“He’s the boy who brings the coal ’round on Tuesdays. Didn’t you know?” The first shoe hit the floor with a satisfying thud and Alice began to work on the second. “Freddie says his brother is savvy and never gets lost in town. Anyhow, there are people who know, people who learn, people who teach. Even stupid cousin Suzie always knows what to say when someone’s sad.”

“Alice!”

Alice picked her head up and threw it back down on the squishy pillow. “You called her stupid last week! I heard you telling Cookie about when Suzie gave her lunch money to the beggar outside the shop.”

Mrs. Macy sighed and cleaned her spectacles. “Suzie is kind, but that was not smart.”

“Well,” said Alice, “telling Cookie that, when I was right outside the door, was neither kind nor smart.”

Today at 6:17 it began to rain, and it was a welcome change from the Florida sun.  The air relaxed, the land cooled (I could almost see steam rising from the pavement), and my yellowing basil was rejuvenated.  Lightning burst, and crack by thunderous crack the clouds realigned themselves.  The cat had run under the bed before I heard the first raindrop, scared, no doubt, of the wrath of her immortal Rain God enemies.

Storm season arrived three days ago with just enough rain to make one sit up and take notice. They say it’s going to be a rough year – three to five real hurricanes minimum, and the first shall be called Arlene.  I had a neighbor named Arlene, but she wasn’t the stormy one. No, that was her, her… what do you call it these days? Partner? Companion? Lover? Live-in bitch (seems that’s all she ever did)? At any rate, I haven’t stocked up on water or bought a gas stove yet, but Arlene’s on the way and better safe than sorry.

A small meow came from under the bed, making me wonder once more how tigers evolved into creatures like my round, wide-eyed tabby.  Surely one of such a majestic bloodline must be brave, or at least crafty.

For that matter, why am I not brave or crafty? Some deep inner sailor (pirate, perhaps) laughs at thunder and seeks adventure, but where was I? Lying in bed, bemoaning a sore leg and a broken heart.

Au diable les orages! I leaped from the bed, snatching d’Artagnan’s rapier and cloak. I threw the doors wide and charged into the storm.

The cat poked her nose out from under the bed. She sniffed the air, stretched, and stole the warm spot. Perhaps she is crafty, after all.