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minor victory

Over-focusing is not usually my problem. I am much more likely to need ritalin than whatever drug they use to handle OCD. But I can not tell you the feeling of satisfaction I got when, at 9:15 am this morning, having got up late for me, dashed to the Y to lose a squash game, shower, and return home for coffee (yes, that's how late I was -- not even time for coffee before the game) I found the pea.

This pea was the one that had rolled off my plate last night at dinner. And onto the floor. And then vanished. My kitchen this year (like Philip Marlowe, I move often, care about coffee, and wear a trench coat. I think he's a little more focused than I am, though. He'd be back to the main thought by now) has vaguely earth-toned kitchen tiles, hiding dirt nicely, and also food. I remember dropping a grape a while ago, turning in my chair to look for it and actually stepping on it without seeing it. Anyway, last night the pea rolled off the table, bounced off my knee and disappeared into the wild greeny-brown yonder. I hunted under the table and around the my chair, even getting down on my stomach and putting my eye down to floor level to check out countour change. Darn pea had vanished.

Well, like I say, I'm not compelled by stuff like this. I did not lie awake at night. I did not dream of an army of peas coming to crush me. I didn't even wipe the floor. But I did feel that upsurge of satisfaction this morning when, after pouring my first cup of coffee, adding my dollop of milk, picking up the cup so quickly (as you recall, I was late with my coffee) that I spilled some, sighing, grabbing a sponge and bending down by the counter, I spotted: the pea in question.

It was a very small satisfaction, of course, nothing like the relief when you find a lost child in the mall, or your wallet in your other jacket. But there was the same sense of scoring one against the prevailing trend, looking fate in the eye and saying, Gotcha. The way I figure it, everything in the universe is flying away from everything else. Entropy, right? (Unless that's the embarrassing disease.) Mr Yeats had it a century ago: the centre cannot hold. Galaxies expanding, planets drifting off their orbits, kids leaving home, money disappearing from your bank account, crime rates, heart rates, pollution counts, nasty new diseases, up up up. To say nothing of all those lost socks and jigsaw puzzle pieces. So any victory, no matter how small, is worth celebrating. I found my dropped pea. That's one on the right side of the balance sheet. Next thing you know I'll mend a broken heart, find some courage, and get my brain functioning again. Then it's on to global warming.


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