There’s an old song that goes:
“In the wee small hours of the morning,
While the whole wide world is fast asleep,
You lie awake and think about the boy,
And never even think of counting sheep.”
Lyrics by Bob Hilliard
I can remember a time when that’s what I thought of, while I was hopelessly waiting to fall asleep. Maybe I don’t “think about the boy” late at night anymore because nowadays he’s lying right beside me. Wish fulfilled.
But I also used to think of other romantic or daydreamy things. Poetry would form itself unbidden in my fertile brain, in the night watches, when there was nothing else to distract me — poetry which seemed so deathless and apocalyptic that I had to turn on the light and write it down. Visions of my brilliant future would waft across the transom of my mind — me modestly accepting the Nobel Peace Prize or the Oscar, me humbly acknowledging the standing ovation elicited by my electric opening night on Broadway as Maria in “West Side Story,” me moving into the 18th century crofter’s cottage in the Scottish Highlands overlooking a breathtaking view of the loch and the glens.
Seems like a long time ago. Now you want to know what I think about when I turn out the light?
“Why is the shower faucet still dripping? We’ve been trying to fix that for 21 years! And it’s not even a steady, rhythmic drip, like the water torture they used to show in old movies — something that might lull me to sleep with its regularity. No, it’s a sporadic, unpredictable drip, sometimes three staccato notes in a row, then nothing for 10 seconds — sometimes a single, maddening drip followed by a silence which fools you into thinking that it’s over. Then 11 drips at an uneven pace. Then nothing again.
Maybe it’s not random drips. Maybe it’s Morse code. Maybe there’s some intelligent life-form stuck in the pipes that can’t get out, and it’s frantically signaling for help. (For 21 years? That seems unlikely…) Maybe it is suffocating or starving or rotting away in the dampness, and we could save it. We SHOULD save it! Think how awful it must be to be held motionless in a little water pipe for 21 years, unable to scratch your ear or eat a doughnut or watch “The Librarians” in syndication. Like going caving and getting caught in some small space with a stalactite poking you in the thigh. (Is it a stalactite, or a stalagmite? Which is the one that points down, and which is the one that points up? I can never remember. And in all these years I haven’t been able to devise a good mnemonic to help me…)
But anyway, back to the shower. I believe in the sanctity of life; how can I justify lying here comfortably in my warm bed while some poor creature dies a horrible death inside the plumbing? I should get up! I should tear the pipes apart till I find and rescue the poor thing.
Unless it’s a sewer rat. I don’t care much for sewer rats. Sure, they have a right to live, but I’d rather they’d not live in my plumbing. We saw a sewer rat on the sidewalk through the windows of a Baltimore restaurant we were dining in once, and it ruined my dinner. I was afraid it had dined in the restaurant just before we arrived. Maybe at the same table. If there IS something in the pipes, if it’s a squirrel or a dinosaur, or a human who took a wrong turn, I’ll drag myself out of bed — but not for a sewer rat. Well, maybe for a sewer rat, too; I try not to be biased. We need to get the plumbing updated in this house anyway. Maybe the shower is a good place to start. I guess there’s no rush. Whatever it is has waited 21 years, it can wait a few hours longer.
Did I send out that contract to that bus company for the tour in October? I know I have several months yet, but they need to send me their first deposit by the end of this month. They don’t like the restaurant I chose for the dinner on the second night. What were they expecting — Delmonico’s? Is Delmonico’s still in business? It used to be THE place to dine and be seen in New York in the late 1800s, but maybe it’s gone bankrupt by now. After all, most restaurants fail in the first year, so Delmonico’s was doing pretty well to last as long as it did. How long was that? I should get my phone and Google it.
But even if it is still a going concern, I can’t take my bus tour there — it’s a good 500 mile drive, they’d miss the 8 p.m. curtain at the Cumberland Theatre. Maybe I could talk hubby into making his magnificent Tikka Masala for them. I wonder if he knows how to cook for 45 people? I should wake him up and ask. (Don’t you DARE wake him up and ask!) Where would I feed them, though? Our kitchen table only seats four. Maybe in the basement, if I can get it cleaned up between now and October. Seems unlikely. Besides, they might not all like Indian food. Or eating in the basement. It’s not exactly posh — although it has Pergo.
Why is Tikka Masala so popular in England anyway? The British didn’t treat India very well — did they think embracing the Indigenous cooking would help heal the wound and strengthen relations? I don’t think it worked. And the British probably don’t make the dish very well, anyway. British cooking isn’t inedible — it’s just not anybody’s first choice. I wonder why, if the British like Tikka Masala so much, they don’t take the hint and learn to use more spices in their cooking? Or ANY spices, for that matter. Every sauce they make seems to taste like pretty much nothing. Like something they just used to boil spaghetti in. Like water…
Water. Why is that shower faucet still dripping? We’ve been trying to fix it for 21 years…
Where’s the romance? Where are the magical moments bred by the silence of those hours after midnight? Shower faucets and sewer rats?
There is definitely something wrong with me. I should get a checkup. I should get a brain scan. But with our insurance, I doubt we could afford it. There are so many other things we need to be spending money on — like redoing the plumbing. Why is that shower faucet still dripping? We’ve been trying to fix it for 21 years…
Ellen McDaniel-Weissler is a LaVale freelance writer.
There’s an old song that goes: