Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Monday, January 21, 2008

In Which an Enquiry is Made

This weekend we were interviewed for the first time by the lovely grey mouse and aspiring film-star Terana Lark, who writes for the Weekly Whisker. She is an Efficiency Expert. That means that she regularly visits homes and families to discuss their day-to-day activities, money spent and general friendliness to the environment, in order to form a reasonable deduction about quality of life.

The poor thing did not quite know what to do with us. We surely are a pair. Eventually we felt terribly sorry for her and sent her off with a hunk of Swiss cheese and a promise to be more helpful next time.

TERANA LARK: It is nice to meet you both. So, it is Friday night again. The weekend!
TheElementaries: Is it?
TERANA LARK: Well, yes. What did or will you two do?
TheElementaries: We have been writing and working on our respective mysterious projects since early evening. We hardly knew it was Friday.
TERANA LARK: What mysterious projects?
TheElementaries: Hush. Close that window and we shall tell you.
TheElementaries: No. They must remain mysterious.
TERANA LARK: Can I have a hint? It would look better in the magazine if I have a little something.
TheElementaries: No. Or, to be more precise, yes. We listened to some music and we watched a video clip of a quite hilarious moment in comedy history: Abbot and Costello's "Who's on First" routine.
TERANA LARK: I don't believe I know that one.
TheElementaries: Well, we just happen to have the text right here. What a fortunate occurrence.

LOU: I love baseball. When we get to St. Louis, will you tell me the guys' names on the team so when I go to see them in that St. Louis ballpark I'll be able to know those fellows?
BUD: All right. But you know, strange as it may seem, they give ball players nowadays very peculiar names.
LOU: Funny names?
BUD: Nicknames, pet names. Now, on the St. Louis team we have Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third-
LOU: That's what I want to find out; I want you to tell me the names of the fellows on the St. Louis team.
BUD: I'm telling you: Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third.
LOU: You know the fellows' names?
BUD: Yes.
LOU: Well, then, who's playin' first?
BUD: Yes.
LOU: I mean the fellow's name on first base.
BUD: Who.
LOU: The fellow playin' first base for St. Louis.
BUD: Who.
LOU: The guy on first base.
BUD: Who is on first.
LOU: Well what are you askin' me for?
BUD: I'm not asking you- I'm telling you: Who is on first.
LOU: I'm asking you- who's on first?
BUD: That's the man's name!
LOU: That's who's name?
BUD: Yes.
LOU: Well go ahead and tell me.
BUD: Who.
LOU: The guy on first.
BUD: Who.
LOU: The first baseman!
BUD: Who is on first!

TheElementaries: It does go on for a while. Quite wonderful, really.
TERANA LARK: Charming. I admit that I was awfully confused, though. So- tell me your plans for tomorrow.
TheElementaries: Quite likely we shall do the grocery in the morning. We like to get that done while the roads are quiet. Then, a sweet little thrift store we know. That is, if the weather permits. Hopefully there will be lots and lots of books, since that is our main reason for visiting. We always have a plan. Gasoline is expensive and nowadays we can't simply drive around aimlessly. We start to talk about lunch around nine thirty.
TERANA LARK: That...seems a mite early.
TheElementaries: Oh, we do like to be prepared. We usually thaw some fish, so that takes time.
TERANA LARK: I heard that fish is very good for you.
TheElementaries: Her eyesight improved enormously since we initially started eating fish on a regular basis in April.
TERANA LARK: How curious.
TheElementaries: Yes, my Spouse is absolutely correct. It is true. I can see you! I can even see my hand in front of my face now. (Laughs)
TERANA LARK: isn't in front of your face now.
TheElementaries: No, no. I meant that as a rule, I can see things more clearly.
TERANA LARK: Can we talk about music, perhaps? What music did you two listen to tonight, seeing as you never left the house?
TheElementaries: We played a measurably varied collection tonight as we worked on writing and computer-related endeavours.
TERANA LARK: Ah, while you worked on your writing and other projects. Now I know.
TheElementaries: Yes. We played Lucinda Williams, The Kingston Trio, Smokey Robinson, Carla Bruni, Queen, Shakira, John Mellencamp, Ray Charles, and a marvellous little tune called "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything," from the television show 'Veggie Tales.'
TERANA LARK: Pirates who don't do anything? You mean to say that they did nothing wrong? I thought pirates were supposed to be actively villainous.
TheElementaries: They did nothing at all, good or bad. Just lounged around all day and lay around. Never even 'threw their mashed potatoes up against a wall.'
TERANA LARK: They did make a song about it, though.
TheElementaries: That is something, I suppose.
TERANA LARK: In a song about nothing, it is surely something. May I ask how many rooms you usually keep lighted and heated on a typical Friday evening in Winter, for example?
TheElementaries: We work in one room mainly. We turn up the heat in the kitchen when we feel like cooking, but otherwise we have our computer, books and music in one warm room while the rest of the apartment is, for the most part, unlived in. So, small as the apartment might seem, it still is much too big for us. The couches get all the space, it seems.
TERANA LARK: You work side by side? Do you not talk too much to be able to get work done? Especially since your projects differ- one of you writing, the other engrossed in electronics?
TheElementaries: No. Sometimes we hardly talk at all. It's very nice. As with everything else in life, words should not be taken for granted or wasted. Small talk takes a lot of energy and consumes valuable time. 'Talking comes by nature, silence by wisdom,' as the old proverb says.
TERANA LARK: I never heard such a thing. But I'm both seem so cheerful!
TheElementaries: Do you like poetry?
TERANA LARK: Me? Oh, do I ever! I love a haiku now and then.
TheElementaries: I shall write you a haiku, then, for your next visit.
TERANA LARK: Oh, goodness, you mean you will have me back? I am pleased. I do get flustered.
TheElementaries: Here is a dainty little poem you can take away with you. It is called 'Small, Smaller', and it is by Russell Hoban.
TERANA LARK: Do go on.

I thought that I knew all there was to know
Of being small, until I saw once, black against the snow,
A shrew, trapped in my footprint, jump and fall
And jump again and fall, the hole too deep, the walls too tall.

TERANA LARK: Ah. It just about sums up my life.
TheElementaries: Thank you for coming. Do call on us again.
TERANA LARK: Toodlepip!

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