Today we are making chili. Chili with seven varieties of chili pepper. Chili that simmers even now in an unattended house on a range that is likely getting spattered with chili spray. There is a beer in the chili and a cup of coffee and a grated length of Mexican chocolate. Also the house is not completely unattended: Truman is there, and Little Pal Rudy, sitting in their windows. Every hour on the hour we are to cross the street to taste the chili, tinker with the seasonings. We are not a witch, but we felt a twitch witchy throwing all them softened peppers (guajillo, chipotle, de arbol, tiny piquan, ancho, pasilla) into the food processor and pureeing them to a nose-melting puree the color of old blood. A sniff’ll cleans out yer brain alright, sir, wif a scouring pad.

Today we are engaging with surveyors for cost estimates, arranging septic inspections, forwarding to Orlando protective covenants and deed restrictions. Today we are thinking–as we often do–of the one Paul Auster novel we started reading and the scene in it in which two men, strangers, meet in a bar, and the narrator begins recounting the passages both men had taken in their lives that led them to the exact same place at the exact same time… A mundane enough occurrence, but peal away the top layer and luminousness blinds us. To wit, how odd that our life story should at the moment intersect with that of an Englishman and a Chilean woman living in Florida and buying a house, for their retirement, in Maggie Valley? Who could have foreseen 34 years and eight days ago that that fat blue mottled Texan baby would in 34 years exactly negotiate the purchase, for them, of a home speculatively built by a North Carolinian doctor, that had been sitting on the market, overpriced, for nine years? It is insane, life, and if we think about it too much, the luminousness dazzles.

Today we are trying not to get to low in our spirits over the Astros, who are amazingly bad for the fourth year in a row. We are comparing them to the Port Ruppert Mundys, the worst team in the history of the Patriot League, as confabulated by Philip Roth in The Great American Novel. We are wondering if Paul Auster is envious of his wife Siri Hustvedt’s success. We are reading her outstanding new novel The Blazing World. We are thinking about how in the first seismic clutch of our new love for “Boomcat” Walsh, back in 2005 (when the good doctor was commissioning the Floridians’ retirement home nearly a decade in advance), we said, shocked, with wonder, “I don’t care about the Astros anymore,” so greedy was our love then! And how Boomcat, who today we’ve been addressing as “pom pom”, was quite pleased by this (naturally, why wouldn’t she be? it must be something to have such a big fellow entirely smitten for you), and was a bit fazed later on when Whitman’s favorite game crept back into our inner life, and how ab fab it is that now she watches with us, usually on us, usually sleeping.

 

-D.W.

Advertisements