Smoke and Reflecting Pools

There's only so much that can be gotten from smoking. The smoke easily becomes a distraction from the flavors already there. The syncretism I imagine is certainly not credited by the manufacter of the smoker (a box with holes and a heating element): the whole goal of smoking jalapeños, according to their recipe, is "a slow flavor infusion." To this end "you may also slit the peppers in half to remove the seeds, or cut small slits to let out the moisture and let the smoke in."

I have this suspicion that "bacon makes everything better" carries some nervousness with its enthusiasm. Some athiests seem very angry for people presumably beyond dogma. I know I feel I'm near temptation in the pork aisle. The flavor of smoke is sticky. Smoked salmon, bacon, and chipotles leave me smelling under my fingernails. The whole patio smells of smoke from one batch of chipotles a week ago.

I felt regret reading a character who says she feels most herself on long walks through the city. There is a way of walking in which the walk, be it flanerie or trancendentalism, never reaches me. Yards are not whole worlds. Nothing intrigues. A bench is not a hideaway. I change the route, stay out longer, slow down. Why fight it? Today I noticed a small ravine I never had, even though I had walked that alley hundreds of times. It's so strange to see a waterway, however nearly dry, appear under a tangle of ivy in someone's back yard, and disappear under the pavement. (Writing allows me to pretend I'm giggling at this imagery with you.) For some reason these are the mysteries that grab me. It's probably an effect of years of ambivalently accompanying my father to wetland delineation sites, where one must preoccupy oneself with the flows of and obstructions to water. It's become a brain spasm, like dialogue from childhood movies. If he's present I spout hypothetical hydrologic histories, having not a clue what I'm saying. Hot air, it's called.

There's a deeper ravine a little farther up, where I used to walk. I only noticed it when one year, as every year, the nearby cottonwoods released their summertime blizzard. I've heard that cottonwoods are loathed by farmers in flat places because the cottony seeds gum up everything, like The Returned's living dead. Screen doors, engines, chimneys. I guess? Now that I think about it, it's hard to picture what I've heard. Where did that little stream go? I always wondered.

There's a vet here who goes by The Cheerful Vet. In one of her rooms, where we waited for the anaesthetic to wear off our dog, there was a Self magazine, and an advertisement for a pet microchip. This was not, we learned, a tracking device, but merely stored a number. They kept a database. "You'd be surprised," she told us, "how many pets get lost, lose their collar somehow along the way, and end up in shelters."

After fifteen minutes, we couldn't tell if we were being hurried out or were being coerced into insane caution. The dog was still slipping a little on the floor and swaying, but it seemed to be implied this was fine.

The cat still limps a little from rat poison injested months ago. I was kept appraised of the cat's recovery with percentages. It's been "99%" for a while. Every time I see him, all his movements say "1%" to me.

There was some media fuss over a doctor who said he wants to die at 75. He admits the age is arbitrary, but that at some point "quality of life" drops. He names a cult of "The American Immortal", yet he wants his children to remember him "hiking in the Alaskan wilderness", and not frail and bedridden, which would be "a tragedy." Slowing down disgusts him. An idle mind is the devil's workshop, and an idle body is worse than a dead one.

I'm using a lot of quotation marks, which are not suspicion marks, which if I were speaking would be "air quotes". These are exact quotations. Water does not necessarily flow downhill. A blush is a blush is a blush.

10 October 2014