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ralph robert moore
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small, glass ghosts
march 8, 2003
Mary and I had a disappointment this week, which I'm not going to write about at this time, so instead, I'm going to write about water.
I love water.
I love waking in the middle of the night from dreams, reaching over, tilting cold water into my mouth, over my bottom teeth, ice cubes banging against my lips.
Our five kittens, big but still small, each as perfect as a toy, have discovered in their wanderings while we sleep that there are water jugs on our night tables, so it's not unusual to wake to the sound of a kitten's tongue lapping at our water, triangular-eared head bent into the jug.
The jugs we use are in fact mayonnaise jars, the family-size ones, because they hold enough water to get through the night, and you can musically drop enough ice cubes inside each to assure coldness until about two a.m.
What we've done lately to discourage the cats from drinking from our well is drape a white Kleenex across the rim of each jar, molding the whiteness down the curved sides, so that when we awake in the darkness the jars look like small, glass ghosts.
When we drive, we drink Deja Blue bottled water, the bottoms of the plastic bottles recently modified so their bases are too rounded to stay in the cupholders of our car.
They almost stay, so that as we approach the first turn of many towards Dallas, towards Baylor Hospital for Mary's speech rehabilitation, the blue bottle is respectfully upright, but as soon as we go into the turn, it jumps to its death, banging onto the floor mat, rolling around our shoes.
The Deja Blue bottles, drunk one after the other, are kind of expensive, so during the day we rely on those bulky, rectangular plastic containers of water you lay on the long side in the refrigerator, the type of container usually snatched up during natural disasters and Presidential elections, stabbing its top where its brain would be to get air into the container, then slicing through the strip of plastic holding the small blue spigot closed.
The other day, I had a Rube Goldberg experience with one of the tubs.
I opened the refrigerator door, light shining on my pajama front, bending over into the chill to fill my mayonnaise jar, when I noticed the tub was almost empty.
Hmmm. I maneuvered that heavy tub into the fridge just last night, and we hadn't drawn its tap at all.
Yet already, the water line inside was shallow, almost, but not quite, at the sloshing level.
What was going on?
Which is when I noticed all the water on the floor, I don't know why I didn't before.
I pulled off square after square of paper towel, got down on my knees in front of the refrigerator, swabbed up the spill.
But all the wet paper towels wouldn't account for the amount of missing water.
Which is when I pulled open the two side by side vegetable bins at the bottom of the fridge.
Vegetables and plastic supermarket bags floating within each bin.
So I dislocated each bin, carried each over to the aluminum sink, air-rescued the bags of green onions, bell peppers, celery, zucchini, fresh ginger and lemons, what we happened to have in the bins that morning, tilted the heavy bins one after the other into the sink.
I unrotated a few more paper towels, polished dry the insides of the bins, feeling mighty proud of myself, pinched a hole in the bottom of each plastic bag of vegetables to drain the water inside, figuring a little moisture left in each was okay, it would keep the vegetables fresh longer, started carrying the slightly dripping bags back to the bins, but while I was walking the bag of lemons across the kitchen towards the opened refrigerator, one rogue lemon, may it live in infamy, fell out of the pinched-out hole I had created, dropping straight down, as I watched, tops of my bare feet wet, landing on the rim of a white styrofoam bowl on the kitchen floor, it could have thudded down anywhere, but it just happened to hit the rim, violently tilting the bowl over, spraying dry cat food all across the floor, and I mean, really, all the way across the floor.
After I wrote the above passage, in Microsoft Word, I ran it through spell-check, and of course had the option of accepting or rejecting each spelling Word thought might be wrong. Word, as do other word processing softwares, includes an option called "Add", where you can not only approve a particular spelling, but add it to the base dictionary. For example, with the text above, spell-check questioned "unrotated", a word which did not exist, but which I created because I felt it was the best verb to describe the action of pulling paper towels off a roll.
It's funny, but I don't often hit the Add button, not because I don't feel a particular creation is worthwhile, but rather because I get a "Why bother?" attitude, knowing from experience that even if I customize my dictionary, my system's going to crash eventually anyway, and I'm going to have to start all over.
But I hit the Add button tonight anyway. Call it an affirmation. Things constantly go wrong in life, there are all sorts of disappointments gleefully lined up around each corner, but there's a lot of fun, too, until you turn that corner, and even after you turn it, and have to deal with all that, there's still another stretch of sunny sidewalk before the next corner.
SENTENCE is undergoing a major restructuring which will take several weeks. In this interim, you may click on a link and come out on a page you've never seen before, or click a link which hasn't existed before and come out on the steel ledge of a 404 error.
All of this will be resolved, probably before the end of March.
In the meantime, simply think of SENTENCE as a huge spaceship, like one of those Star Trek movies where the transporters sometimes take you precisely where you want to go, metallic doors whisking into the walls, steaming blue food waiting for you on a plate, and other times take you to this weird space/time continuum where I'm battling with a mirror image of myself, both of us humming fight music between our teeth while we bang fist-bracketed poles together in endless variations of a sloppy X.