its summer and the panties are vanishing from the lines

Dear Uma: Don't worry; I've made my peace about the dogs. They are in good homes, with their new owners especially pleased by all the goodies that came with them; I will be paying the cost of neutering them as well - the price of assuaging guilt.

Dear Uma:

Don’t worry; I’ve made my peace about the dogs. They are in good homes, with their new owners especially pleased by all the goodies that came with them; I will be paying the cost of neutering them as well – the price of assuaging guilt.

The house is clean, the fridge stocked with human food, and I am back at work with a great new project on the Minoan culture.

Theo arrives end of June; lots of time to get my head around being a stepmother. I have ordered some books on the subject and have found several websites to check out. After two puppies, a 15-year-old boy will be a walk in the park.

On to other things, things outside of here, things arcane and engaging.

For instance: watching a DVD last night, the rating of the film came on the screen, as it does, but this time it contained a warning that puzzles me still.

“Brief mild thematic elements, language, and some crude humour.”

Let’s take these one at a time.

“Thematic” I find, means “having or relating to subjects or a particular subject.”

The movie was one of those kids’ shows that adults can enjoy, I was told.

How can an adult enjoy anything that warns of ‘brief’ and ‘mild’ elements relating to the theme? What are we supposed to be enjoying? The lengthier times in between that are unrelated to the story?

And then the threat of “language”: one would hope there is some language during the movie, maybe in the form of dialogue or even captions.

As for the “crude humour,” we are so clearly skirting the edges of a collapse of our civilization that crude humour is as much to be expected as crude characters in a crude plot.

Needless to say, I didn’t make it through the movie.

On TV a man was predicting the weather, using one of those wall charts generally featured when earnestly involved in pretending one knows what the weather will be, and where.

I don’t know whether he was being amusing or simply trying to make his job more interesting, but he described the possibility of rain (I think) by referring to “moist impulses” coming from the east.

A ‘moist impulse’! Uma, I will confess, my immediate thought in relation to this description was vaguely pornographic—about as vague as an impulse is moist, I suppose.

It seems harder to get at the point of anything, let alone the reality. I have found myself losing the desire to know, too often finding myself reluctant to spend the time and energy looking for the nut.

The ‘putting a spin on it’ seems to have affected every aspect of communication.

We need to believe something and the search for facts and logic has become laden with difficult obstacles. It’s easier, finally, to simply accept what we are told, suspecting we are being duped but worn with attempting to get at the truth of anything.

Maybe that is partly an explanation for the recent spate of gossip, innuendo, misinformation and the like, which have led to a series of seemingly unrelated incidents among the residents of this little town.

The first onslaught of sunny weather saw everyone’s pale and wan faces split nearly in half with big grins of pleasure. Hearty greetings were the norm as folks collected their mail and bought their groceries, with the most common exchange being mutual delight in the welcome warmth.

I guess happiness is not for the likes of Lakers; the grimmer mood of winter lingers, along with the daily news of impending disaster economically and environmentally and socially, all from sources more and more unreliable, contradictions abounding.

Combine these cloudy communications with a ingrained habit of public silence and you have a season of nice spring weather being muddied with a spate of unpleasant incidences ranging from a group of people (the local gendarmes, no less) being ‘barred’ from a local business, to a former dignitary being publicly ousted from another business, to neighbourhood disputes over dogs to the disappearance of women’s underwear from a clothesline.

The latter interests me the most, which I suppose reveals my spring state of mind.

First, why would anyone have a clothesline when dryers are not only faster and make ironing unnecessary, but are now made energy efficient? With nine months of winter, there is not a lot of time left to dry clothes outdoors, and who would take any of the precious summer time to peg out their laundry?

Then, how would one selectively make off with certain items from it? I imagine a clothesline would also be drying sheets and shirts, or bath towels, not entirely hung with women’s teddies and panties. And aren’t these lines usually quite high off the ground?

Imagine the audacity of this thief! Carrying a ladder and a basket, or perhaps a packsack for his loot, sneaking up to a clothesline, or possibly the clothesline, considering I have yet to see one.

The snowbanks are just about gone and there are as yet no leaves on the trees to provide cover; this daring pilferer of panties must be stealthy and patient, perhaps even camouflaged.

To satisfy his yearning for frillies, he would also have to carry out his nefarious activities in the wee hours of the morning because the perpetual daylight of a northern summer is almost upon us.

The danger of discovery would be magnified by barking dogs. There is a dog or two or more in most every backyard in town; blowing leaves are enough to set them off, and when one starts to yap it is obligatory, it seems, for every dog within hearing to join in.

The whole caper may even be part of a bizarre courting ritual; stranger things have been reported in the land of the midnight sun….

Could it all be the result of the long winter? I wonder. People don’t see each other much more than is necessary during the cold season; they tend to semi-hibernate with their TV sets and computers. Come the spring, everyone wants to be out in it and participating in warmer weather activities. Unfortunately, these activities necessitate contact with each other and then the trouble starts.

All the little civilities needed to smooth and make pleasant these contacts seem to have rusted out over winter.

Folks haven’t gotten tanned and easy with heat, with each other; their sensitive winter skin cannot tolerate all this brushing up against one another, metaphorically speaking.

It’s a good time to keep one’s head down, go about one’s business, hurry home and enjoy the sunshine alone in one’s own backyard until everyone has gotten used to being happier.

As for the booster of bras, maybe he only sees these items in the summertime, on the clothesline and must harvest when he can.



Heather Bennett is a writer who

lives in Watson Lake.

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