Ruth: I could have sworn I was a fast writer.  That’s what I’ve always told people, anyway.  But you wouldn’t believe it from the slow, laborious way I’ve been adding to my short story, now called “Inappropriate Humor.”  At the rate I’m going, all I can say is thank God it isn’t a novel.  I want to live long enough to finish it, although, at the rate I’m going, they’ll probably have to wheel me off to the cemetery in mid-comma or something.

When I get restless, though, there’s always something in the newspapers to outrage and invigorate me.  Today, among many other things, was Bush’s fraught warning to the Castros to let Cuba be free.  Good lord, I cannot believe these time-warped hacks are still raising a ruckus over Fidel, who’s outlasted how many U.S. presidents? — Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and now the Current Occupant of the White House.  After repeated harebrained plots and incompetent schemes to overthrow or kill him, Castro is finally going to die of old age.  What a strategy — patience!  The ultimate victory is ours.  Maybe, someday, Osama bin-Laden, too, will die of old age.  Wouldn’t that be a feather in our caps?  We told him we meant business!  Don’t mess with the CIA, bud.

At home, we’re harboring two guests.  The first is our nephew, who’s a wonderful, funny, insightful kid whose only flaw is a new infatuation for organic food.  Yesterday, he told me about his plans to trek over to the local macrobiotic/nut restaurant, where you can see bevies of stringy-haired vegetarians swapping stories about colonics and filthy cheeseburger-eaters.  But the patrons are the aesthetic high point of the restaurant.  The food — the food! — is pure swill.  I’ve eaten there two or three times (we call this memory loss repression), thinking that — surely — it couldn’t be as bad as I recalled.  But it was.  Limp, inert, tasteless, gritty, vile mounds of food that dares not speak its name and with good reason (libel laws).

I used to go to yoga there and had to put up with the constant good cheer about the benefits of the in-house macrobiotic buffet (which not only tasted bad, but cost a fortune).  Most depressing of all was Wednesday, which was Mexican food day, which many of the anorexic yogis raved about.  I never entered their threshold on Mexican food day, since I have far too much respect for Mexican food and no wish to have it defiled.

No, wait!  That was the next-to-the-most depressing thing I heard about that restaurant.  The most depressing were the enthusiastic reviews of their Thanksgiving Day food.  Just thinking about my favorite holiday being besmirched, de-birded and de-fatted by vegan food criminals was acutely painful.  No wonder I had to stop taking yoga there.

All of which brings me to our second guest.  Our little rodent problem has recurred.  I’ve heard noises for several nights, trying desperately to ignore them and pretend they were the cat.  Unfortunately, the last time I heard the sounds, the cat was sleeping in my lap.

“Guess what!  The rat is back!” I told my husband, who’s just back from a business trip.

I thought he’d want to know.  I’m a hard-core feminist, but I do have my little idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies: Rats are men’s business.

(Copyright 2007 by Ruth Pennebaker)

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