Thank you for the many fine suggestions in response to the last post. I am also gratified to learn that many of you agree that Facility has a real ring to it. Just now I realized that a fine French alternative would be Utile. Non? Ah, Marie-Utile, you are looking especially lovely today! Oh, Utile-Françoise, you flatterer.
I am currently stuck in my office, having promised someone who is both a late riser and on West Coast time that I would be available to receive a phone call. This was an error, but it is difficult to choose a better course of action when the other person's work day apparently begins right when one's own usually ends. Yes, we live in a glorious post-office world (not to be confused with a Post Office world) in which I can talk on the phone anywhere I like, ATT's dire coverage permitting, but in this case I would like to be able to take and refer to notes, sit in privacy and comfort, and so on, which selects strongly in favor of my dear old friend the office, with its desk and paper and pens and central heat and reliable reception. So here I am. Hélas.
Speaking of my office, a mouse found its way in over the holidays. It gnawed at the baseboards, chewed through the Ethernet cable, and then quietly died. Poor thing. It did perish in the most considerate possible way, from my point of view. First it made its way through to the other side of the wall so that the person in the next office over could be the one to find it, instead of me. Then it thoughtfully met its demise early enough in the winter break that the odiferous corpse period passed entirely unwitnessed by human nose. Thank you, little mouse.
My mother likes to tell a story about when I was a little girl that goes about like this: we were on a walk, and I wanted to pick some crummy little flower or other growing on the side of the road.
"Don't pick them, darling. They'll just die," she said. But I was determined, and they didn't belong to anyone, and parenthood, I've heard, involves choosing one's battles, so soon I had a few clutched in my little paw, and soon after that, of course, they were wilted and dead.
"Oh no!" I said.
"Well, I did warn you they were going to die."
Then -- or so she says, and it makes a good story -- I looked at her, stricken. "Just flowers, right? Not people?"
So: just mice, right, not people?
Sadly, no. People go around dying all the time, sometimes even before the new year has gotten started properly, and I don't like it. (I'm fine. But death is shitty and I don't approve. Happy new year!)