The Internet says that an adult who gets mono might feel fatigued off and on for a year, whereas if a toddler gets it, it might just be a few days of a sore throat or being tired. The child’s parents might never even know their youngster has mono. I was kind of looking forward to having an excuse to sleep 11 hours a night for a year, take a nap whenever I felt like it, and sit around reading instead of going out, but must say I am feeling much better—in fact, pretty much perfect. Late in the mono experience, after I’d plowed through many of the works on my to-read shelf and on a day when I felt well enough to make the walk, I got a stack of books from the library and have been very happily immersed in Family Furnishings, selected stories of Alice Munro’s from 1995 to 2014.
I think I have mentioned from time to time the evident hoarder who lives next door. His back yard is almost always crammed with stuff, ditto the walkway alongside the building that his tenants would otherwise use for egress in a fire, ditto his car, ditto the lobby of the building, and ditto his garage. I don’t often get to see inside the latter, but now and then the door is open when I go by, and I have seen artifacts filling every square inch both horizontally and vertically. I can only imagine what his own apartment is like. I know it is quite a large place, because that building is a mirror image of ours. His apartment almost certainly has three good-sized rooms along with a dining alcove, a long hallway, kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room off the kitchen. Plus, being the building’s owner, he has the building’s whole basement at his disposal.
I have been told that every now and then someone complains to the fire department and he has to tidy up, though of course after a bit, things are again just as they were. He’s been in the process of cleaning up for several months now, sometimes in the middle of the night. After immense effort on his part, his back yard began to take on an uncluttered appearance, and I realized he was putting his extra-good stuff off to one side, which includes, I’m sorry to say, not one, not two, not three, not four, but five charcoal grills. Also quite a number of ancient chairs in poor repair. I think he must have the idea that he’s going to whip the place into shape and have friends over for a cookout, but Tom said there will never be a day when his yard is actually ready for entertaining—before it’s empty enough, it will fill up again, so there’s no point worrying about it.
The past couple of years, I’ve been saving as much money as I possibly can, to the point where I couldn’t afford to replace my toner cartridge, couldn’t buy a set of ankle weights, and so forth, let alone the new computer I now need, now that my browser is so far out of date I can’t get to my bank’s website or to YouTube or to the website for my long-distance service. I can’t upgrade my browser because my operating system is so old, and I can’t upgrade my operating system both because my disk drive is broken and also because system resources are insufficient, so I decided to give myself a raise via cutting back a bit on how much I save. Newly rich, it was time to have my kitchen knives properly sharpened.
I looked online, discovered the existence of a well-regarded cutlery shop two blocks from my place—I’ll probably see Zuckerberg in there one of these days—and took my knives down there. The place is called Bernal Cutlery.
I paid for rush sharpening service, and bought a honing steel, plus one of their cutting boards, after they explained that bamboo is bad for knives, as is plastic. This cutting board is made out of hinoki (a type of fragrant Japanese cypress), and it is really, really nice. It’s extremely smooth, and it smells wonderful, and it gives slightly under the pressure of the blade, and cuts in its surface kind of seal themselves up after the board is gently rinsed in cold water (now that I know it’s bad to wash a wooden cutting board using soap and hot water). Using a super-sharp knife to cut an apple on this cutting board is a treat for the senses: the smell of the wood and the apple, the sound and feel of the knife going so smoothly through the apple, and how the blade feels against the soft hinoki.
I was telling my mother all this, and she mused, “I like to think of you as being a simple hippie like myself, but every now and then, I realize it’s not the case.”
Now I’m racking my brains trying to think of everything I own that can possibly be sharpened. I took them my old lineman’s knife, from when I worked for PG&E, and while I was there, I bought a knife that is smaller than my big knife and bigger than my small knife. I wanted a 5” blade, which they didn’t have, so I bought a 5.75” Sabatier paring knife. The fellow there said Wüsthof probably makes something the length I wanted, but I’d rather spend my money at this lovely little neighborhood shop.
When I was a child, my mother had a Sabatier paring knife of which she was particularly fond, if I recall correctly. I’m sorry to say I broke its tip off while using it to pry something or other open, but she didn’t get mad. I remember being surprised by that. It was kind of her, or perhaps it happened when she was in a particularly philosophical mood. Afterward, she ground the blade down so that it came to a point again, so it was still a nice Sabatier paring knife, just noticeably smaller than before.