Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Knoxville (November 18)

Day 65

Stayed another day at the Knoxville menagerie with Trisha (the veterinary surgery had cancelled her shift). Picked up my bike, which set me back $116 (new chain, peddles, brake blocks, service) but it rode like a dream, and shot some tiles. It's weird how you can win every game one day and lose all of them the next. Couldn't do anything right in the three I played against Trisha, who played a tight game to begin and then closed down the board further. It was like some kind of slow, Japanese torture. In one game I willingly entered a vortex of pain, when I played a couple of vowel dumps (words with few or no consonants) only to collect more of the bloody things. This is called 'fishing' and I keep telling myself to go for points; but do I listen to myself? At least it was a pleasant atmosphere, in Trisha's large, well-lit living room, offering fine woodland views, in the company of her cat, Rasputin. Not so nice environment in Panera Bread, where I got beat by Trisha's friend, Ruchi. Mental note : never play Scrabble in an American cafes again; they are the noisiest places, what with the roaring espresso machines, thundering ice dispatchers (I saw people walking the frozen streets today sipping iced tea) and the PA system calling out orders. I have to admit that I am especially sensitive to aural abuse, which for me includes crisp-crunching, sniffing and, of course, mobile phones.

When Miles returned from a day of snapping fires and other diaspora, we dropped by a Mexican restaurant (I had an enchilada, burrito and taco combo, which all tasted the same) and took in The Secret Life of Bees at a cinema. Miles said to the man giving out the tickets, “Three senior citizens please.” The man didn't question my age and just smiled as me benignly as I walked past. Bloomin' cheek! Someone thinks I'm 31 one day and the next, 65+. We were the only people in there, possibly due to the film's lack of gratuitous violence, computer graphics and inclusion of 'acting'. It was a moving portrayal of a South Carolina girl's traumatic upbringing set against the racial tensions of the 1960s. Too schmaltzy for my tastes, although well done, and Trisha & Miles held hands. Back to theirs for a slice of Southern Red Velvet Cake, which is actually a chocolate cake with red food colouring. Miles said he was going to bake a blue version in honour of Obama's victory. There was a copy of the magazine, 'Garden & Gun' on the coffee table – and talking of guns – Miles had recently covered the court case of a man who had shot two people dead during a children's theatrical performance in a Unitarian church. Why did he do this? Because he was incensed by this church's liberal stance and acceptance of homosexuals, etc. But of course it's every American's right to bear arms.

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