The Tactical Situation

Confession: I don't pour tea from teapot directly into a cup. Oh, no. I decant the teapot into a small vacuum bottle, from which I pour small cups of tea. It's nearly always only for myself, and drinking the entire bottle--the heat of its contents carefully preserved--rarely takes more than half an hour. Nothing else but tea goes in there. I never wash it except by warming it with boiling water while the tea brews. I often spill, pouring from bottle to cup.

I overdress for the cold, and for the heat. Even in the heat, I suspect I may at some point sit inside in a place cooler than 80 F and find my bare legs and arms chilled. Going out in shorts and a t-shirt without carrying more clothes with me gives me far too much exhiliration. Going out without a bag at all (no book) is skydiving.

I read a cooking blog post with the epigraph "Drink your tea as if it is the axis on which the world spins." In other words, slowly. This is exactly the way I treat tea, but I drink it too quickly anyway. I run out. Hence the vacuum bottle and the tiny cups.

When it is at all cold, I conceive of naps in terms of forever. I will never leave the blanket; my body is infinitely cold and will be warm forever. I moan. I wake up two hours later, overheated.

My friend went to a romance writer's conference in Texas, and received this bit of advice on writing a hot sex scene: banish your mother from looking over your shoulder. I thought, with Freudian arrogance, isn't that what makes them hot: the mother hovering? But that's not right either. It's the banish*ing*. If she's ever gone completely, you're free to do whatever you want. Nobody's looking. What's hot about that? Or maybe it's hot like sex in a hot tub.

Rolling down the windows, my brother said when it's hot like this you just feel tired. I stared languidly out the window, watching wilting willows whizz by. There seemed to be no reason to answer. Consonance was implied.

I was told summer in San Antonio is one series of excitements about thresholds. One is never without a superior temperature on the other side. Dry and 65 F inside, 100 F and humid outside. One is always stepping across going "ahhh."

Perhaps one wants revenge for having been born. Revenge fully realized is anathema. In Damsels in Distress, Violet grants that sending drinks to a table is "a tactic or perhaps even a ruse, but without some of that, would our species even survive?" I believe she's right; procreation is acheived through a series of questionable tactics. She did not say it's desirable that our species survive.

Even thirteen years earlier, Whit Stillman was preoccupied with tactics. Strategy isn't the word. The Last Days of Disco's Alice and Charlotte are divided by what moves they consider violent. Charlotte accuses Alice of putting off men with her deployment of truth ("you're a bit critical"). Charlotte suggests that Alice instead deploy "sexy." Alice tells a man Donald Duck is sexy. Later it is revealed that it is not Alice but Charlotte who puts men off Alice, intentionally, and that the man was put off by Alice's use of the word sexy. (He wants her to be virtuous and uncalculating.) Not enough not to have sex, apparently. I don't know where each little cup of tea leads, but inevitably it leads to the bottom of the bottle.

Lately in the movie theater there's been this ad, I've forgotten what for, in which a cinema ticket-taker tells spoilers as he tears tickets. Spoilage isn't usually wilfull, just negligent. But it's the worst offense when it's a movie that spoils. Who feels that leftovers too long in the back of the fridge are a gross lack of etiquette, nearly of morality? (The ticket-taker is literally a pig.) It seems movies are more fragile than thimbleberries. Their best defense is offense, if the aghast looks of the spoilered in this ad are anything to go by.

It would be an offense to join Alice in saying everything must develop naturally. (That would simply be to sink, naturally, into the tar pits of what I'm prone to think.) But this word "tactic" covers the stink of fear.

30 July 2014