Another lazy hot Saturday morning, the heat climbing up over the 40 degrees C (104F), the newly tarred main road in melt-down (why do I so love the smell of hot black tar?). My sensible housemate does not want a steaming bowl of classic French onion soup for lunch, she wants watermelon salad and then some pistachio ice cream.
I have been dexterously peeling and eating litchis with one hand while looking at cute-to-kitsch pictures of baby marmosets online. As a small child near Malindi on the coast of Kenya in East Africa, I kept baby marmosets and lemurs rescued during bush fires and they would sleep with me at night, clinging to little tangled nests in my hair and sinking their sharp teeth into anyone who came near or startled them. Even though they bit me several times when I moved too quickly, I felt guarded and safe.
Earlier this morning, after watering the poor heat-blasted garden, I went off and sat chatting to an elderly woman of 93 up at the local old age home. She was thrilled to see me but immediately began to argue with me as if I was a bad spinster daughter, telling me to find a husband and learn how to make a man happy before it is ‘too late’ for me. In addition, the room stank and I opened the window, which was not welcomed.
When at last I said rather crossly that I was going now, she hugged me as if I was truly a bad but beloved daughter and said with that sublime naughtiness of elderly women: ‘Now I can close that window and empty my bed pan.’
Anything that erodes selfishness by even a fraction helps me stay sober. A bitter pill to swallow but there it is.