Not a River in Eqypt
Bev Vines-Haines

My friend Hattie Mars leaves her house without checking the burners OR the rug fringe.† And she calls me crazy!† It is common sense to make certain all the stove burners are turned off.† Actually I take the little knobs with me when I leave.† I just stick them deep into my purse.† No muss, no fuss.† No way the cat can jump up on the stove and accidently turn the flame on with his foot.† Imagine what could happen.† He is fluffy.† Very fluffy.† All that soft fur would instantly ignite if the burner flared.† And he would run.† Of course.† Imagine his fear.† Imagine the couch, the drapes, even my bedding.† They would all catch fire as he panicked and ran throughout the apartment.† Better to be safe than sorry, donít you agree?

Now the fringe is not a safety issue.† It has more to do with good luck.† And bad luck.† Donít think I am obsessive but the world requires order.† And obedience.† Favor and punishment are both dependent on our behavior.† Neatness counts.† I learned that in Kindergarten when Miss Moscow encouraged us to hang our lunchboxes and our sweaters on specific hooks, when she taught us to line up for the bathroom and never to push and shove.† Pushers and shovers get into trouble.† A lot of trouble.† I also noticed, as we made our way through the higher grades, †those same individuals kept getting in trouble.† Hereís my point: if you insist on hanging your lunchbox on another personís hook, if you eek out of line and take anotherís place, you will invariably start to skip homework and flunk tests.

Itís true.

We live in Miami.† Actually I live in the house where I was born some seventy-three years ago.† I never married.† I find men to be a bit loose with their disciplines.† Hattie was married.† Once.† He was a film star.† Silent films.† She showed me one of his movies once and the length of film was ludicrously short.† †Peculiar.† Like it wasnít a movie at all.† Just a scene.† He was a handsome man.† Iíll give her that.† I hate to point out the obvious.† †That would be arrogant.†

But her husband died in a fire.† A gas fire, if you catch my drift.††

So I use my acquired discipline to hold my tongue, to drink my tea and say nothing as she mocks my careful habits.† †Yes, Hattie Mars thinks I am crazy.† Sad.† Had she been a bit more vigilant, her husband might still be with us.†

Hattie Mars is in denial.

First published: August, 2009
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