Tuesday, November 30, 2021


For some reason I've been thinking of the pets we had when I was a child, and I realize that it took me too long to become human. That is to say, capable of a full range of empathy. Being a civilized person requires training and behavioural habit. Which takes time. And children often are little psychopaths. Which, of course, is why cats are so perfect. They'll tolerate things up to a point, and then when Johnny gets weird go off on their own to kill something.

And that inevitably leads to an expired mouse hidden in a desk drawer. Perhaps the cat put it there -- saving it for a rainy day -- or little Johnny rescued it, and thought that a shoe box bed and a blanky would help it recover from the travails it had been through. Suffice to say it didn't survive, and several months later the cleaning lady discovered it and had doubts about little Johnny's sanity.

Yeah, um. A desk is a fungible concept. Avoid the drawers.

When the company for which my dad worked replaced its old office furniture, we ended up with solid functional pieces, and both my brother and I, barely in grammar school at the time, had desks too large for us. Which was wonderful. They were sturdy enough to stand on.

When I was a teenager mine had a nice solid green glass ashtray advertising a local beer brand (Dommelsch Pils) as well as a stack of news magazines. My brother had National Geographic, chess pieces, and books about chess.
Plus a globe on a stand.

My father's old desk, which he had shipped from Southern California to the Netherlands, had, in one drawer, his pipe collection, which I borrowed when he went on a trip to London.
I smoked Balkan Sobranie in them and had a wonderful time.

The cats, to the best of my knowledge, only explored the top of my mother's desk. It was perfectly positioned for a shaft of sunlight. They were peculiar that way.

My desk nowadays is my lap and sometimes a tea tray. There is no longer an ashtray on my desk. It's nearby. There are no cats here, though I like cats. They have the ability to look at you, seeming to ask "are you sure you want to do that?" Which everyone needs, because humans are often likely to do something baffling or stupid, and need sensible feline remonstrance.

I have my father's pipes; I seldom smoke most of them, because they smell like his tobacco, which is something I want to preserve. Instead I somewhat duplicated his collection, and have several briars of my own which he would have appreciated.
I miss the cats, my parents, and my brother.

There is a stack of National Geographics in the bookshelf facing me, and there are chess pieces on the table in the other room. I was never as good a chess-player as Tobias.
I rarely play chess nowadays, and then only with myself. It's a mood thing.

My brother was far further on the Asperger scale than I.
I wish I had realized that at the time.
Didn't know about it then.

Throughout life there are doors.
Sometimes keys go missing.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

No comments:

Search This Blog


It seemed an echo of a Shanghainese place on Parkes Street in Jordan. Which is in Hong Kong. The combination of snow vegetable and pork shre...