Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Father's fork went missing today. Or maybe yesterday, I can't be sure. It all depends on when I last washed the dishes, which leaves the matter doubtful. It could have been -- well, why indulge in idle speculation.
In any case, the fork went missing on a blazing hot afternoon. Of that we can be sure. On the day in question, I lunched, as usual.
It was the sterling silver one. The fork, I mean, in case your attention wants tethering. My father's name was engraved on one side and there was something engraved on the other side, a scene, picture of ... what? Algiers, Alps, Alf? I don't know. Even though that fork and I broke bread a thousand times or more.
Had we once paused, this fork and I, in the thousand trips we journeyed together between meal and mouth, I would have known. But no, hoisting the implement to its final destination always seemed so critically important, so time-sensitive. And the sun was blazing, need I remind you.
My relationship to this fork has, or had, an odd history. Until a year ago, I thought it was my birthday fork. That's what Norwegians do -- in lieu of teddy bears, Norwegian parents and their Norwegian friends present Norwegian babies with sharp and pointy instruments. It's a Darwin thing.
But last year while waiting for the pasta to cool, reach a safe temperature (near abouts, close enough, or ouch), my eyes happened to land on the inscription. The inscription on the fork. As the sun was blazing. The name on the fork wasn't mine at all. It was my father's.
Which left me to wonder, does this fork now mean less to me, or more? I pondered, and my pasta grew cold.
But now the fork has gone missing and the point gone moot.
I live in a dry climate, and wash my dishes with bio-degradable soap. I know the soap is vegan, not because the price is unconscionable, but because the label makes me cry. Regarding our unwitting destruction every time we brush a tooth or cool our heels at an In-And-Out. "DO YOU KNOW..." the label starts to say, but that's as far as I can go before I weep, uncontrollably.
I wash my dishes with this soap, in a pot, and toss the water from the pot on thirsty plants. The plants are always thirsty, because as I may have mentioned, the sun blazes, always. And tossing this water on thirsty plants, the soap bottle says, will not save the earth as we know it, but can't hurt.
Back to the fork. My fork is gone, and J'accuse the soap. The bottle most particularly. Because the label never once mentioned that before tossing the bathwater, look for a baby.
You can't give me anything -- and I mean this as a warning, in case you were thinking about it.
(The picture? Ceci n'est pas une fork. It's a cake knife. Or as we say in Norway, Kaka Knife. Yeah, Kaka -- go ahead and laugh, you Olympic losers.)