fragrances are weird like that
Friday, January 26 2007
I'd had some pieces of that cottonwood near the fire for a couple days and it seemed dry enough, so today I threw it in the fire. It didn't burn spectacularly well or spectacularly poorly, but it did burn. What really mattered more than anything else was that I was getting rid of wood that was stinking up the house. Gretchen thought it smelled a little like leather or a tackroom, but to me it smelled exactly like horseshit. There is, of course, a relationship between these two smells. Though one is considered "good" and the other "bad," they are not opposites of each other. Fragrances are weird like that. I'll never forget the time Nathan VanHooser was visiting me at my parents' house when a cat took a massive shit in the litterbox. I was horrified with the odor and so was Nathan, though he observed that the worst thing about it was "it smells kind of good." I've definitely eaten cheese that has smelled worse than cat shit that has impelled me to go on an emergency scooping mission. (Recently I was at a party where I kept smelling terrible body odor at a particular place in the room. Only gradually did I come to realize that the odor was coming from some particularly fragrant cheese on the finger food table.)
Today was probably the coldest of the year, with temperatures only reaching into the lower teens. Temperatures would have been even lower were it not for a cruel wind that kept layers in the atmosphere well-mixed. I drove out to Woodstock today for a meeting and, on the way, passed the Ashokan Reservoir (Ulster County's most obvious Al Qaeda target). Normally the reservoir is frozen solid at this time of year, but today it was still completely fluid, its surface a rasp of choppy dark grey waves. Along the shoreline the vegetation was crusted with several inches of ice, droplets tossed from the surface that had immediately frozen.
At some point today I was doing something on one of the primitive Macintoshes and I managed to gesture with the mouse so aggressively that it knocked a shot glass from my makeshift desk. (I'd gotten this shot glass less than a year ago when I was in Guatemala.) As it fell through the air the glass struck one of the steel legs of the desk and shattered, throwing three shards of glass in various directions. I hate experiencing the loss of the mementos of my earlier life, so I recovered all the pieces and superglued the shot glass back together. This was, it should be noted, the first time I'd ever thought of repairing a broken glass. The result of my repair is far from perfect, and I actually had to sand down some sharp edges at imperfectly-matched junctions between the shards. But the shot glass is still usable and now it has some obvious history to it, like the Liberty Bell or Michelangelo's Piet´.
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