Friday, November 18, 2016

Do the Right Thing

I. The Easy Right Thing

In the midst of a fog of uncertainty about what to do post-Trumpit, I was happy that an obviously right and more or less easy-to-do thing presented itself this morning.

When I opened the curtains, still in my p.j.s, I saw that the morning's heavy rain had flooded the road intersection half a block away.
And I knew why.
Knowing I'd get soaked, I didn't bother to get dressed, just put on a raincoat over my p.j.s, a pair of boots, grabbed my downstairs neighbors' leaf rake, and headed out into the rain.

The thing is, with unseasonably warm weather, the city's regularly scheduled street sweeping in late October had missed many leaves, which were still on the trees. 

Now the late-fallen leaves mingled with pop cans, cardboard, and other garbage, blocking the grates and mouths of the drains. The rainwater backed up into the street, forming a small lake.

I took the rake and clawed out the wet glop from all the drains on each street corner, breaking the rake's bamboo tines in the process.
A couple car drivers stopped at the stop sign waved at me.

I had to stand in the freezing water in the gutter to get at it, but it was very satisfying to see the water rush into the opened drains, and the lake disappear in a matter of minutes.

II. The Right Thing Is Not Always So Easy

This fall I happened to pick up from a Little Free Library box a copy of Comedy in a Minor Key by Hans Keilson (first published in Holland in 1947).

This is the best book I've read in a long time. 

It's about a nice, young, well-meaning, Christian couple in WWII Holland who agree to hide a Jewish man from the occupying Nazis. 
He lives for a year in their spare room, and then he dies of pneumonia, and they have to figure out how to dispose of the body.

It's funny, but if its humor were a dessert, it'd be an egg custard (unlike Life is Beautiful, which would be a chocolate raspberry cream cake), and also, of course, deadly serious.
I won't say more about it---it's short, and I recommend it highly.

1 comment:

bink said...

I keep meaning to borrow that book...remind me!