Snippets

Little bear/jumped on the chair/and blinked./A good song/and not too long. . . .

A company says that it will clone a wooly mammoth from preserved DNA. I have questions. I have heard of wooly mammoths, but were there cottony or silky ones? And would a hairless mammoth be hypoallergenic and make a good pet for a toddler?

The spouse asked me when I wanted to leave to be on time for our restaurant reservation. I answered. She immediately said she wanted to go five minutes earlier, and it was clear that we were going at her preferred time. As I started to ask why she asked me what time I wanted to go, I, of course, knew the answer. If by happenstance I had picked the time when she wanted to go—the time when we would go–she could look like she was merely acquiescing to my wishes. I love this clever woman.

“To tell a woman what she may not do is to tell her what she can.” Spanish proverb.

I do not have any biological children. (I know, I am supposed to jokingly add, not that I know of.) But the NBP is my child, an adopted one. Of course, sometimes I have wondered what a child with my genes would have been like, but I know that my genes are a mixture of DNA descended from many others, and I had nothing to do with the genetic material I have. When I was in the hospital for a heart procedure, something that does tend to make you think about your death, I talked with the NBP. I said that my genes were not in him, but I hoped that some part of me would live on in him after I did die. That was more important than the genes, which I did not control. If part of me survived in him, it would be because of the time we had spent together; things we had taught each other; connections we had. That seemed to me, and still seems, more important than the passage of genetic material.

Peacocks were part of my youth. I grew up a half-dozen blocks from a small-town zoo, which contained peacocks, and it was always impressive when I saw one in the feather display. But even when at home, I could hear the call of a peacock, which from a distance sounded mysterious and sort of romantic. My view of that call changed when I spent a season on Longboat Key, the barrier island off the west coast of Florida. In the funky part where I stayed–a collection of old (for Florida), small cottages–peacocks roamed freely. I sometimes had to brake for them, and I would watch them from the porch where I read. I was used to their calls and did not think much about them at first. That changed. The cry came not just during the day, but also at night. One peacock seemed to have an affinity for my bedroom window’s air conditioner and would perch there. When it would emit its cry at 2 a.m., which it did frequently, I would bolt awake, and its reiteration would stop me from falling back asleep. Too often I would stumble outside to chase it and its companions away. I started to have dreams of hunting the birds. Romance turned to vengeance.

“We’re born arsonists and we die firemen.” Andrea Camilleri, Treasure Hunt.