Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Waving hello to composed crocodiles

There are times when Bessy and Margaret go out for a night-walk in the wind and rain. When they do, I wake up full of woe. Last night they went for such a walk. This morning I was full of woe. There's no explanation for it, as far as I can see.

Felix had spied a foreign sailing boat on the horizon and so popped over for breakfast. He had left a note on the bench saying if I waved, he'd see me and wave back. I couldn't see any boat, let alone Felix, but I waved since I needed cheering up. And sure enough, Felix waved back. At least, Bessy wagged her tail and barked at the sea.

George eats breakfast from a banana leaf as a way of reminding himself of his days on the coast in Sri Lanka. In those days, mind, he used to surf on banana leaves, he tells me. This morning his hair was in a mess, he said. I commented that it looked as good as ever. He said that if I cared, I'd have noticed the stray hairs sticking out. Given there are only half a dozen and they were all plastered down to his skull, I decided it was better if I left him to worry alone.

Mrs Benson came in today for a check up. She has a very remarkable ability to possess composure even under the harshest conditions. Only this morning she had retained it despite being flogged in a market for stealing a crocodile with ear muffs, somewhere along the coast. I asked if she felt humiliated by the experience. She smiled enigmatically and Cookie remarked on how composed she looked. And then we polished her teeth.

What it is to be composed, whether walking in the wind and rain, hopping onto distant boats or surfing on leaves. It seems easier to compose a short recollection of a day, than to recollect composure for a short day. Perhaps it comes down to what one wears on one's ears.

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