Can we have a show of hands?

The air in northern Crete, in the week of Easter, has a grainer scent to it than springtime air in Vienna. Cretan spring air is herbal and smells of land, and sea, while that in Vienna is floral and urban.

At least where Odin works it is.

How many of you removed a tick from a teenaged girl’s navel today? Can we have a show of hands? Because Odin has.

Odin wonders if he leads a charmed life.

Also, whenever he hears the word TICK his skin crawls and he has to exert effort to not scratch himself from head to toe and shake his hair like a dog emerging from a lake.

Odin had a thing recently. It must have been Tuesday because on Monday it was raining and on Tuesday he needed to go to the tobacco shop to get back on schedule with his lottery tickets – Odin is in the habit of buying tickets for two different games, and if he buys them on the wrong days they are more expensive because the optional drawing options (which are obviously a scheme to get customers to pay additional marginal fees, but OTOH are also the only thing Odin ever wins) are for two drawings instead of just a single drawing. So he has to synchronize his purchases and when he is on schedule buys only on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

We shall not dwell on this because a full explanation would be even more confusing than the above.

Odin had a thing recently. On his way to catch a streetcar after work, the grey crow followed him up the street, and Odin felt badly about being empty-handed. On his way to get the lottery tickets on Tuesday on his lunch break, the crow followed him down the sidewalk again, this time not flying but walking, sort of waddling like a casual little penguin, while Odin spoke to it.

Sorry, little dude. I’m fasting today.

But Odin bought a ciabatta-looking roll with cheese baked over it at the bakery next to the tobacconist and stood on his corner waiting for the crow, nibbling his cheese roll. The crow arrived at the moment Odin gave up on it.


Odin tossed it the remains of the roll, about 80%, and the crow hesitated only briefly before flying away with it.

With the flat, rectangular roll in its beak, it looked like a flying hammerhead shark.

Odin’s conscience was assuaged.

No, wait: this was on Monday (Monday is also an okay day to buy lottery tickets) because on Tuesday the rest of the thing happened: returning from a walk, Odin saw his crow on the sidewalk by the corner, eating.

Odin was fascinated to realize that he is not the only human trained by the crow.

The man was sharply dressed, in an expensive blue suit, Ascot tie, nice watch and shoes. Somewhat younger than Odin, let’s say in his forties. When he noticed Odin, he concealed the roll in his hand (Odin had half a mind to tell the man corvids like meat, too, man) and examined the display of a mobile phone. Odin greeted him and the man greeted back.

Odin disappeared around the corner. A blackbird watched Odin from a gate and Odin watched it back. It looked birdlike and mechanical, like the robot robin in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, and just like that he remembered Laura Dern’s grimace in Blue Velvet when Isabella Rossellini showed up naked on the porch – a facial expression like the sum total of all silent movie face acting in history.

And he imagined Second Crow Man inhaling nitrous oxide thru a plastic mask.

And singing.

Odin’s wife recently said to him that he sometimes says things that seem more the result of his bizarre trains of thought than what immediate company is saying or doing. She seems convinced that his mode of thought is exotic.

Isn’t everyone like this? Odin tells himself. Everyone thinks this way, right?

Or are some people really just baked potatoes all the way through?

Coincidentally, it was the 20th anniversary of Twin Peaks

What is this all over my bag? [tastetaste]

Hm. Pizza sauce. The miniature pizzas I packed for lunch a few days ago were insufficiently wrapped, it seems. Packaging is important. Life reminds us of this occasionally.

So anyway there we were at our friend’s place. Being terrible guests. Late. Lost. But finally there. I was exhausted and could barely stay awake. My wife was making up for it. I felt terrible, though, our friend was running back and forth between the dining table and the kitchen and we just sat there watching.

She brought in food. The musician said something about the spinach when she brought that in, because he didn’t like spinach.

Then she brought in the main course. It looked interesting. It looked like a little alien, skinned and roasted amidst root vegetables. They conversed about it. Apparently it was rabbit, and our hostess was surprised that none of us were into rabbit. Except as pets.

I stared it down. If it moves, I thought, the night will be perfect. If it moves, it will be Eraserhead, I thought.

Come on, move.

But it didn’t move, as far as I could see. We ate it. One friend pleaded vegetarian and just ate vegetables and spinach. Her husband the musician took some rabbit, but just had a taste. He may have had some vegetables. No spinach, though.

Alpha had spinach and vegetables. She took some bunny rabbit, but ate none, not even a taste, maybe because I mentioned that her piece was ear-shaped. I had rabbit and spinach. The spinach was great. I neglected to take other vegetables because I was busy waiting for the pieces of rabbit in the pan to move. A roast rabbit puppet, I thought, would be awesome. You could really have fun with guests. “Here, have some rabbit!” and they stick their fork in, and the rabbit goes “Squeeeee!”

Rabbit is kind of chewy. I suppose because it is a wild animal. If you imagine you are starving in a post-apocalyptic scenario, like The Road, for example, it’s mouth-wateringly delicious. If you imagine you’re sitting around a dining table with friends trying to stay awake, it’s okay, except that it’s rabbit.

If it’s beef, you think the cow doesn’t die so you can eat it? So what’s the difference? Logic, I regret, does not change the fact that it’s rabbit.

Anyway. Staying awake was so hard. The cats had gotten me up at 3:30 that morning, I kept looking at the sofa and wondering if it would be weird if I lay down for a brief nap.

No one else was helping carry dishes back into the kitchen so I helped a little, but I got a late start and it didn’t help much, it sort of just emphasized that no one else had been helping.

Panna cotta. Panna cotta was dessert. One of the guests made a joke about how it resembled raw tofu, but I found it tasty. Is panna cotta complicated to make? I bet it is.

“Would you like coffee?” our hostess asked me, as I sat at the table, eyes narrowed to slits, having a particularly vivid dream while still endeavouring to follow the conversation around me.

“Yes, please,” I said.

Get back, Jo-Jo.

Had a good barber for a while until she went on maternity leave. The other women at the place were either political crackpots who couldn’t shut up or sick all the time, so when one canceled on me because she was sick I looked for a new place. Or, rather, went to a new place my wife had been thinking about trying. I had my first haircut there last night, and I think it was the best one I have had so far, ever. The place was dimly lit with calm pop music I suppose one could listen to all day at work without going crazy. The mirrors were big and nice with old-fashioned ornate gold frames and although the place was full no one was talking. I had to wait so I sat at a table with a big pile of magazines and sifted through them for a while until I found one that was not a gossip magazine and leafed through that until my new barber finished with her other customer and asked me if I wanted my hair washed. I actually didn’t, because it’s usually just expensive and I already washed my hair that morning but I said Okay as this was the first time and wow what a scalp massage. I would have proposed on the spot except bigamy is illegal and I couldn’t think of a way to propose that didn’t sound creepy. Then, seated in front of the mirror, wet hair combed back, thinking how, in a dark suit, white shirt with no tie, I resembled David Lynch, she didn’t even ask me “how do you want your hair cut?”. She just looked me over, said A little off the back and sides, a little off the top? To which I responded, Not so much off the top, and THAT WAS ALL!!!

She then proceeded to spend the next half hour or so giving me a haircut with which I was really happy. And hardly talking to me the whole time. And I got an espresso, black, no sugar.

The only drag was staring at myself for three-quarters of an hour. By the end, I had convinced myself I resembled David Lynch’s brother Jo-Jo, the one whose fontanelle never entirely closed.

I paid the bill (way less than I had expected) gave her a tip and made an appointment for my next haircut. I left the place feeling like a movie star, and not a Mafia hit man (as someone at work had described me earlier that day, because I was wearing a dark suit and sunglasses, as if a real hit man would look like a hit man – a real professional would look like a substitute teacher, or a urologist – think about that the next time you have your prostate examined). Health insurers should pay for haircuts, they do way more for your self esteem than therapy usually does.

Today, after a shower, it of course looks way different, but I’m still happy.