The older one looks at the coal scoop and says, soberly, "Captain Brown, this is highly individual."
Love that line.
Some things in my life are highly individual as well.
The other day I was getting groceries. Over by the milk, this mom came along, pushing her cart, with her maybe 11-year-old twin daughters, one on each side of her. They looked cute and well-cared-for and like they were having fun.
The two girls were walking with crutches. Not the temporary sprained-ankle, under-the-arm crutches, but the shorter, more permanent sort--a single metal pipe, with a handle sticking out at hip level to hang onto, and then a plastic semi-circle around the arm, nearer the elblow
As they passed, I looked again. Each girl was missing a leg below the knee. One was missing the right leg and the other, the left.
A "highly individual" sight, believe me.
My first thought was that they were messing with our minds and playing a good joke. Maybe they has pushed both legs down one pant leg. But no, their jeans were tight enough that that would be impossible.
I wanted very badly to stare and to ask them about 50 questions. I decided instead to let them shop in peace.
But I wonder. Were they conjoined twins, attached at the knee? Were they in a freak accident? Or were they mirror twins with the same birth defect?
I hope I have a chance to talk with them someday when I'm not imposing.
The second "highly individual" item is Emily's writing assignment. She is finding that some classes, especially Communications classes, encourage writing and expression in the most concise, clear manner possible. These teachers make sure that the assignments are clearly explained and the students write clearly in response.
Then there's her literature class, in which obscurity seems to be encouraged and vague is good and all kinds of modern political ants swarm all over the literary material. Emily brought me a paper the other morning and said, "Can you help me figure out what this teacher wants from us?"
I quote from the yellow paper:
Packer: We've arrived at a point in the African American literary tradition where the literary artist is not burdened by the socio-political drive of "racial uplift" that we've seen throughout the writers we've studied (art as social protest, art as a declaration: we are human, we are worthy). If you agree, then explain in what ways is Packer continues to take part in the African American literary tradition? With what themes? With what techniques?
It really said, ". . . in what ways is Packer continues. . ."
Then there's that "if you agree." With no guidance for anyone who disagrees.
It was highly individual, I thought.
I told Emily to concoct something wordy and obscure from her rich imagination and throw in some mysterious, obtuse phrases and she will do fine.
The third item is just a bit of fun trivia.
The new governor of Washington State is Jay Inslee. I had dinner with him once.
Later I found out she had had a child fathered by Colin Firth. Yes, the beloved heartthrob, Mr. Darcy in the old Pride and Prejudice movie.
That is just wrong on many levels.
I seldom actually think about this, but it is a highly individual sensation to know that I had dinner with the governor of Washington and someone who had an affair with Mr. Darcy.
Quote of the Day:
We were looking for a desk for Jenny on Craigslist and saw a picture of an old school desk, the kind where the part where you write on is attached to the seat in front of you.