Monday, May 18, 2009

Daily Maintenance


KHUK KHAK, Thailand - Some things require daily maintenance, such as your kitchen counter, your teeth, your primary significant relationships, your metabolism, in Indian Country - your car, and here in the tropics, lizard shit.

You can let any of these slide for a day or two, a few days even, but you'll soon regret the jamboree of insects on your counter, the scum on your teeth, your deteriorating relationships, your health, and the accumulation of excrement of gecko, attracted by the insects.

The floors, the floors you can let slide a day or two, the fans blowing organic debris into the corners. The communication can be put off a day more, you can have the dessert tonight and start working out seriously tomorrow, pluck the nose hairs another day.

Going to get around to it. The homework, the presentation, the wipe down, the last drink, the apology, the festering grudge, the yard work, the final cigarette, the email, the fully-functioning human being, the novel things that grew tedious and old, the little things that grew big.

A man sang a country song about a 'high-maintenance woman', one who wouldn't be interested in a main-ten-ance man, one who needed a great deal of attention, and attention to her needs; tomatoes under threat of frost, the flowers in your garden, the control tower radar, your pet's peculiarities, the wandering toddler, the boiling kettle, the critical mass plutonium, the molar extraction, the surgical knife, the killer on the loose.

There are things that cry out for immediacy; a natural disaster, an infestation, a ship slipping beneath the waves. Relative to the urgency, sometimes a hero is required, Spiderman or Mandela, an airlift of food. But most of the time, we can manage with daily care, pulling the weeds, wiping down the counter.