One-legged Men

I've been reading The Letters of Jessica Mitford recently - this is the Mitford sister who started a 'running away account' at the age of 7, and then used the savings to run to the Spanish Civil War with Churchill's nephew, married him there, moved to the US, lost him to the war, and ended up in Oakland, CA as one of the funniest social activists who ever lived.

One letter caught my attention wherein she reports a conversation she had with her mother ('Muv') about arrangements to meet a family friend for lunch. This is how it went:

Muv: Ohhhhrn, well, Alec just telephoned, wants you and Benj [JM's son] to go to lunch with him tomorrow, very sweet of him really poor old thing. Can you go?

JM: Yes, love to, of course, where is the lunch?

Muv: 3 Lexham Gardens, I think - either 3, or 5 - or is it 7? How mad of me not to know...

JM: Which one should I go to? 3, o5 5? or 7?

Muv: Oh yes I quite see, which one ... let's see ... well, little D [JM's nickname], why don't  you just go to Lexham Gardens and ask for the man with one leg? I think that'd be best...

Why, you might be asking am I excerpting this particular letter from the many that are in the collection - it's a lovely read by the way - all about Hitler having tea with with Muv, and Muv asking whether he [Hitler] could pass a law banning white bread as she [Muv] believed that processed wheat would weaken the human race in general, or as Nancy [JM's sister] put it when hearing that chickens get fed the whole grain while humans got the processed wheat product, " in the end, hens will be Hons [Honourables], and Hons hens"

Where was I? Oh yes, one legged men. You see, what JM describes happens more often than you might think. In 2001 or thereabouts I happened to be driving from Vancouver to Oakland, and decided to pass one night in Seattle to catch up with a friend. The friend had just moved, and gave me directions to his place as follows:

" you head South on I-5 and as you get close to Seattle, you start counting the exits and it's the 3rd exit you want [note that he doesn't tell you when exactly to start counting exits], take that exit, the road will curve gently to the right and there'll be several roads coming off the one your'e one. Take the one where [and I quote here because it's still burnt into my memory] there's a one-legged man sitting in a wheelchair on the corner. Can't miss him."

The poor man, I thought, bad enough to have lost a leg, but to be doomed to sit at an intersection to mark the way to JP's house, really, can the US not take better care of its infirm? And as it turns, out the one-legged man was there (it was 7pm at night - I wonder what time he goes off duty), and he had a blanket around him and his one leg (it was also January), and no you couldn't miss him. At least I assume it was the same man - to be honest with the blanket around him, I couldn't really tell how many legs he had, and felt it would be rude to circle around for a better look.

Last night I was upbraided by the SOCK who earlier in the day had sent me an e-mail with the opening line: I like spicy chocolate with my wine!!

I had no idea what he was on about, and when I eventually saw him to feed on deep-fried sushi rolls (I'm sorry, MY, not the MY who puts his head on the side like a little bird and then assumes the expression of a dying baby Beluga whale who's had enough of the nasty polluted waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway; the MY I refer to has very high standards for mayonnaise, but deep-fried sushi rolls while perhaps an abomination in your world are a delicious indulgence in mine), I asked him about the spicy chocolate and wine, and he rolled his eyes (he rarely does this, and it's fun to make him do it) and was quite put out that I didn't connect this sentence with a conversation about chocolate I had with BK while in Shopper's Drug Mart, and which I reported in these same pages.

Well, what would you have me do? I have a lot on my mind, after having just returned from a 10 day trip to Washington State and Nelson, BC where there was much biking (but not as much as before), eating (just as much as last time if not more), swimming (more than last time) and standing under waterfalls, lying  in road intersections and on railway tracks (not done last time because Dr. J was too much of a stick in the mud).

There were also bears in full evidence on the bike trails and in the hot spring caves, waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting, and indeed the unsuspecting were splashed with cold (12C) water when one jumped into a pool that the unsuspecting JLM and RP were gingerly entering while MY and I watched, having already immersed ourselves. Too much else happened, hikes down from Idaho peak (don't ask how we got to the start, it reflects no credit nor glory on us), any amount of dinners and desecration of cultural certainties, flat tyres and experts (thank you PJ and JLM) who fixed them bibbity-bop without a flop.

Fortunately, not crashes nor other incidences. Kootenay Pride was in full swing when we got back to Nelson, and we attended to support the community efforts. It was held at the Gun and Rod Club which had the ambience of a meeting held by the Women's Auxiliary in a church. We were warned by a local that it was a very mixed crowd with much transfer of genders going either way, and whatever your proclivities, it could be a delicate matter determining what the other's original and present genders, much less proclivities were.

Fortunately, not gender incidents occurred and we behaved relatively well. The SOCK was there the previous year and we exchanged some stories mine much less salacious than his, for as I told KB, I don't do domestic debauchery (all for the sake of alliteration).

I have pictures but there's an embargo on publishing pictures until the 14th, and I must abide by this.