Never Mind, I Got One


My new life challenge! Someday, someday I shall make it all the way out of the driveway without hopping out of the car to check once again that I locked the side door.

I’m only fooling myself. But then who are you only fooling?

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

Confidence in the out-for-ice-cream plan was shaken today by word that nobody was sure the ice cream place was open on weekdays this early in the year and as a result the index rose only one point.

127

The Civic Process


I really mean to throw this letter out but it’s been bugging me. Shortly before the election I got one of those letters that tells you how often, according to public records, I’d voted in the elections and compared that to how often my neighbors had. It reported I had voted in only one of the past four elections, compared to the neighborhood average of two.

The thing is, that’s just not so. I’ve voted in all the November elections since I moved here, at least. So where do they get one vote out of four from? Maybe they’re thinking of those dinky little elections held at weird times when, like, there’s two people fighting for the right to fill in the last three months of a term on the district board of education, and I’ll admit to skipping those when I can’t convince myself I know enough about the situation to cast an informed ballot and none of the participants at least had the decency to plaster local street signs with hilarious campaign flyers about how the British Royal Family is involved in this somehow. But I know there weren’t four of those gone on the past year, when I’d voted in two of the election-gathering affairs.

So the letter haunts me: did they just make a mistake in the letter sent me? Did votes I cast for somebody or other back in August in the vote about something or other not register? Are they just making up stuff in the hopes of inspiring civic-minded people to have sleepless nights worrying about the integrity of the voting process? And why do this to me? Don’t I have better things to worry about? No, in fact, I don’t.

Now I’m not so egotistical as to think some mysterious shadowy organization went to a lot of bother to just make me self-conscious about stuff I do on otherwise slow Tuesdays. I hardly need help with that. They must be doing this for everybody they can name, although I don’t think they sent my love anything, come to think of it.

The Big Insecurity


Our pet rabbit, as seen outside in the yard.
Our pet rabbit, as seen outside in the yard.

“I can’t put food in your bowl if you don’t get out of the way,” I told our pet rabbit.

“This is more important,” he said back, and don’t think that was something I expected to hear him say. I’ve seen him judge getting food as more important than sleep, not going up the stairs, getting out of the pet carrier, and eating what he already has.

So I kneeled down to about his level and said, in my most sincere voice, “What’s wrong?”

He stood up on hindpaws and looked left and right, and in a soft voice said, “Am I big?”

I nodded. “You’re quite good at being big. You’re bigger than I was through fourth grade,” which is my normal hyperbolic answer, since he’s only actually bigger than I was through third grade, when I grew considerably thanks to discovering if I was quick about it I could have two bagels for breakfast, lunch, afterschool snack, and dessert.

“But that’s still big, right?”

“Oh, yes. Quite.” He’s a Flemish giant, a genre of rabbit that’s known to grow to as much as 26 feet long not counting ears and whiskers, although he is a smaller example of the breed.

He pushed his head into my hand. “And I’m not getting any smaller, right?”

For once I had a flash of this thing I think the humans call empathy and didn’t say he wasn’t going to start shrinking for another year or two. “Not a bit. You still are remarkably big.”

He dropped back down. “Then why didn’t he?”

“Why didn’t who what?”

“Why didn’t he remark?”

“Which he?”

“The one you had in to come make all that noise on the ceiling!” A couple months back we had some roofers come over. They replaced the nearly four square feet of perfectly good shingles we still had on the house, as well as a bunch of others that looked like someone had spilled a deck of cards into a nauseated food processor, and put on a bunch of new ones in a different color. From inside all you could really tell is there was a lot of noise from up top and then stuff being thrown into the driveways, which might have got us in trouble with the neighbors except they were going through a monthlong stretch of having just vanished. We still don’t know about that.

“The roofer? He only came in to talk about the work, give us an estimate. What did he do?”

“He didn’t remark! He didn’t say anything about how big I am!”

“Everybody who comes into the house mentions how big you are. I would’ve thought you’d be glad for a change in the conversation.”

“But he didn’t say anything! What if I’m not … big?”

I sat down so I could better pet his head, which he likes, and his back, which he supposes is better than nothing, most of the time. “But you are. You’re the biggest rabbit I’ve ever known personally. You’re big enough you could — ” and I thought better of mentioning how he could easily yoink the remote control off the coffee table if he really wanted, because I didn’t want to encourage that — “probably push me over if you tried. You’re so big we joke that the Sparks song `Big Boy’ is about you.” And that’s true, although the Sparks song is really more a chipper tune about the Biblical story of David and Goliath and I didn’t want to mention how Goliath probably didn’t care for how that story came out.

“But why didn’t he say anything?”

“Well, maybe he didn’t notice you. He was only in the living room a short — a little — a brief while, and he was thinking of shingles and maybe rain gutters at the time. That throws off your ability to notice rabbit bigness.”

“If he didn’t notice me how big can I be?”

“Aw, bigness isn’t any guarantee you’re going to be noticed. I’ve seen things many times your size that I never noticed,” and he looked at me the way he does when he suspects I’m imitating his chewing. “I mean until they were pointed out.”

“Would you tell me if I wasn’t big?”

I rubbed his ears. “I promise. Look, you wouldn’t be nearly so scary to squirrels if you weren’t big.”

He rubbed his chin on my knee and hopped off to nibble on some hay, apparently soothed. I left the room, crawling on my knees.

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