Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kind Hearts & Coroners

Up in the aerie, five-thirty in the afternoon, west-facing room bathed in gorgeous mellow light. I just got back from picking up D from Warren Street and he's taken the car and gone back into town for a couple of hours.
Pick me up whenever, five, six.
I'll come by so that I'm home around five, my usual time to blog.
Blogging - what a euphemism.
Euphemism? For what?
Blogging - Old English for sipping rosé.
Yeah, but some writing gets done too, or started, sometimes polished in the wee hours, such as early this morning, between about three and four. And despite that I felt physically fantastic today. Rick had an awesome guitar player in the KZE studio yesterday that I listened to until the power cut out. How are you, asked David Grier (ibid). Rick replied: Fantastic. And only more so to be here with you.

And that's how I've felt all day long today. Full of energy and high spirits and loving the weather and running around and shopping and cooking. I've got an enormous pot of curried chicken on the stove, made with aromatic hot curry powder from Two for the Pot in Brooklyn, along with vegetables from yesterday's CSA farm visit - cauliflower, peppers, plum tomato, braising greens - and others too - sliced white onion, green beans, and carrot - stewing in beautiful defrosted homemade chicken stock, all of which we'll have heaped over basmati rice and sprinkled with some fresh CSA cilantro.

I took a long walk around here this morning while chicken was roasting in the oven, along with an apple pie I made. D beat me back home - and the pie juices had spilled over, smoking up the downstairs. Of course he complained he'd just painted the kitchen. It'll be all right. He opened the windows and turned the ceiling fans on high. I hadn't been gone very long. The pie was fine before I left the house and a wash that I'd started was still on the final cycle. That was my Law & Order-type defense. It's not as though I had wantonly abandoned the house for hours all systems in chaos - you see, I can prove the timeline, the towels are in the final spin which proves I was gone no more than 35 minutes.

Ah election season ye olde crazy neck of the woods. Placards all over the place for (I'm purposely garbling the name to prevent googlings, but keeping in the spirit of its length and syllabilization) Debbie Blazi-Sopritomayor. The name is a mouthful, but who cares, whatever, but it's what she's so earnestly running for that's puzzling - 3rd Coroner. How many coroners does Columbia County need? Is anyone running for 1st and/or 2nd Coroner? Why is a position such as coroner an elective office anyway? (We hardly wonder about that anymore since Town Justices, who are elected, don't even need law degrees to mete out justice that can wreak complete Dickensian havoc on one's life.)

On the ride back home this afternoon D and I remarked on the Debbie for 3d Coroner signs we passed. We imagined her as a character on a Law & Order type series. Janeane Garofalo plays her. She arrives at a crime scene, grim, messy hair tied back, no make-up, in the middle of the night, rumpled trenchcoat. She flashes her creds unsmilingly. Debbie Blazi-Sopritomayor, 3rd Coroner she says. (Cue Law & Order duh-thunk.) Oh, but cool - she's on an actual case - at long last. Because how often can a 3rd coroner possibly be called upon in a largely rural county with a relatively small population? (Though the possibility of a disproportionately high number of deaths may indeed lend itself to the need for not one but two backup coroners.)

I picture the Janeane Garofalo 3rd Coroner character toiling away like an undiscovered understudy for years on end, sorting index cards, reviewing the 1st and 2d coroners' reports, forming alternate opinions of her own. Finally, one night 1st coroner gets the flu, 2d coroner's in Las Vegas at a coroner's convention, and Janeane's moment has arrived. The phone rings. The penny drops. She understands. The suggestion of a grim smile crosses her face. She pulls on her trenchcoat and leaves the bleak upstairs garage office. She climbs in her Subaru. Deer are caught in her headlights and scatter as she pulls out of the driveway. Cue Law & Order duh-thunk again.

A fresh laid egg from a free-ranging chicken in a semi-rural setting never killed anyone, she says to her cat later that night as she types up her report. It may have been salmonella poisoning - but judging from all the fastfood wrappers and half-eaten burgers around the place - it was probably from an industrial food source. Those damn stupid lawn mower tractors and insecticides poured over lawns, that's another story. There now, what's that icky little hard bump in your fur, sweetheart?

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