Life Along La Strada Di Ronzoni
By Tom McDermott
No rational person sees any humor in the global tragedy playing out before us day-after-day, week-after-week. Sadness hogs this stage in three acts: sad, very sad, unbearably sad.
The micro-scene at home, however, offers plenty of comic roles to play.
In our home, a two-story cottage on the edge of a hilltop farm which looks as if it might have once been the residence of Basil Fawlty, we have had to resort to Traffic Updates in the kitchen. As far as our friends at the IRS are concerned, this room is my spouse’s office for about 12 hours per day and night. In practice, it doubles as the kitchen, 24/7.
Need I say more? I will anyway.
Once upon a time, and a really sweet time it was at that, my wife and I casually passed each other by in the morning and evening hours, with only an occasional rendezvous near the coffee pot. This pleasant situation has morphed into morning and evening rush hours, with backups, fender benders, and a mild form of road rage.
For planning purposes, we have had to rename certain areas of the kitchen as roadways. Bumble Bee Tuna Way, for example, gets congested every two or three days now, causing a related problem along El Camino Hellman’s Real. “We” solved this problem amicably by my making the tuna (or pink salmon) salad al fresco on Dave’s Thin-Sliced Killer Bread Terrace.
The traditional “lunchtime” at the cottage, I have learned, is taken very seriously. It is a period of about 20 minutes between 1 and 2 p.m. The usual practice at this meal, before my daily participation rate skyrocketed, was that all food was <plated>. Also, this modest repast was eaten while seated, with a napkin, and was followed by a thorough “cleaning up”. And this procedure apparently existed well before the use of wipes, gloves, and disinfectants with multi-syllabic names all of which sound as dangerous as a wet market.
My own dining regimen is like one long meal, with short breaks: breakfast, followed by Elevenses, then lunch, tea (the meal, not the beverage), hors d’oeuvres, dinner, sweets. Plates, and use of furniture are optional and there are opportunities for strolls along Rue Grey Poupon, into the Piazza di Progresso Split Pea, followed by The Ritz.
My wife refers to this routine as “snacking” rather than actual meals. In the nearly 400 years that her family has been here, apparently, there was no snacking. As a city boy, I, on the other hand, have developed a Seinfeldian approach to the kitchen and meals in general. Cereal, for example, can be eaten at any time in the course of the day and is often enjoyed straight out of the box (I’ve sworn-off dairy). Also, while some people see chips only as an accompaniment, I treat them as meals unto themselves. Same with jelly beans. And dark chocolate drops.
Who knew that crumbs from cereal, sweets, and chips created traffic jams for country ants and other smallish critters, as well as matrimonial rancor?
Fortunately, we’ve approached these minor conflicts with a sense of humor. So far. And, what’s wrong with a little bodily entanglement in the kitchen or office while more sorrowful things are happening outside? We’ve even worked out a few dance routines in order to avoid collisions along the always sparkling Canada Drive, waltzing around the center table, pirouetting the desk chair, twisting as we exchange places at the toaster.
If this keeps up, we’re looking to get down a tango in May, the rhumba by June, perhaps in the airy Plaza de la Jose Cuervo, formerly known as the dining room.