Tuesday, August 07, 2007

My Wife's Heroic Action In The Face Of Terror

I was in the smallest room in the house (one of the pair of them) when three-year-old daughter Cornucopia came to the door with a message. My presence was required in my wife's personal room. My duty? To remove a corpse. My wife had encountered, and had slain, an unwelcome intruder.

The corpse was under the table, flat on its back. It was a cockroach, black, about half the size of my thumb. My wife had killed it with, of all things, the blast of hot air from her hairdryer. Mr Cockroach came sauntering out in the summer air and my wife holocausted him with her beauty machine.

Here in the Tokyo-Yokohama area, it's tropical. Temperatures of about 33 degrees Celsius. Two-meter surf breaking on the beaches of Chiba, where we will be, shortly.

When I had cataract surgery, before the operation I asked an eye doctor if, after the surgery, it would be safe to swim in heavy surf with an intraocular lens implanted.

My father, who was present, scoffed at the question. "When do you ever swim in heavy surf?" Well, almost never. In fact, I almost never swim. In the last fifteen years I've only swum in two places, one being the Bali area (Bali, Lombok, Gili Trewangan) and the other being Okinawa. For me to get in the water it has to be close to that of a comfortably warm bath, but I think maybe in Chiba it will be.

So, all going well, I'll be out there body swimming. I wouldn't call myself a strong swimmer, but I'm a very confident swimmer, and don't expect to get drowned dead by a wave of a mere two meters.

In my previous blog entry I posted a link to a blog by a guy who is in Chad. Here is an excerpt from the text near the top of the entry for Day 17:

"Editor's Note: In March, Kurt Pelda, Africa Bureau Chief of the Swiss daily the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, traveled to eastern Chad on the border with the Sudanese crisis region of Darfur. Over 200,000 Sudanese refugees live in eastern Chad, having fled the violence in Darfur. The region likewise serves as staging grounds for the Darfur rebels fighting against the Sudanese government. During his three weeks traveling in the region, Pelda kept a diary, which provides a portrait of the Darfur conflict that is perhaps unrivaled in its detail and nuance. In daily installments through the beginning of August, World Politics Review presents this important document for the first time in English, concluding with an epilogue penned by Pelda exclusively for WPR"

You can find the latest page of the blog by going to Google News and doing a search for "chad darfur."

Today I downloaded Day 19, which says, in part:

"We drive back along the same route on which we came from N'Djamena to Abéché two weeks ago. But there is one important difference: At the time I still had a valid visa. Fortunately, however, I am never asked to show my passport at any of the many roadblocks we cross. In the worst case, I have just to produce my ominous film and photo permit."

A pretty gutsy thing to be doing, I thought, roaming around an area like that, all on your lonesome, with no army at your back.

Just to wrap up, regarding the intraocular lens, the bottom line is that once you've healed up you can treat your eye exactly as if it was a normal eye. A post-cataract surgery eye with a plastic intraocular lens replacing the natural lens is no more vulnerable than an unmodified eye.

My father was highly amused when I asked my big surf question, but now, with the big surf, improbably as it might seem, almost on the doorstep of the future, I'm very glad that I did ask that question.

Oh, and one little thing discovered in the blog, a mysterious synchronicity at work: "it is already past noon. The thermometer has risen to over 42 ºC (107 ºF). The wind in our faces as we drive feels like air being blown out of a hairdryer."

The photo at the top of my blog entry today is by Kurt Pelda, and shows a boy and a rock formation on the way to N'Djamena.

I feel the tweaking of my psychic powers at work, not for the first time: my spellchecker isn't going to like that rubric one little bit.

And ... just one more little thing today. Recently I fired off some angry e-mails to Lulu.com because my latest book had been rejected for distribution to the likes of Amazon.com. Today I looked for a response and found that all six of my e-mail messages (a couple were duplicates) had been answered by a serene machine, the subtext saying "Be as angry as you like, but you would be able to unequipoise me!"

I guess the bottom line is that, in the end, I'll fold, eat humble pie, and sit down and figure out the technicalities needed to conform to the sacred rules of one of the modern world's branches of the Inquisition.

Since this spanner has been thrown in the works, I've already decided that I'll use this opportunity to enlarge and revise the book. So I'm at work on the printed copy that I have in my hot little hand, annotating it with marker pens.

It's an amazing luxury, using a real printed book as a revision tool. It rejigs my vision of the modern printed book. It's not a fixed item that rolls off the printing press and then becomes immutable. It's more like a bronze statue which, if you're so inclined, you can melt down and then reform. The Book Mutable rather than the Book Eternal.

Someone says, and I can't remember who, that a work of art is never finished. It is merely abandoned. After about six months of really solid work on GENGHIS LOTUS POETRY COLLECTION, I did have the distinct impression that I was abandoning the book rather than finishing it.

So many things to do. A billion cockroaches on this planet, and, in the last two days, I've only managed to dispose of the corpses of two of them.

Cockroach onslaughts permitted, then, the True and Final This is Forever version of GENGHIS LOTUS POETRY COLLECTION will be a bigger, bolder book than the one of 141 poems and 312 pages that I have in hand.


Blogger wearygrrrl said...

You have a daughter named Cornucopia? Why? What a horrible name, and a horrible burden for her to carry the rest of her life. You and your wife are idiots. Some people just shouldn't be parents. What on earth were you thinking????

5:57 AM  

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