Common house spider dispatching a leafhopper in the Twisty Windowsill, July 2005
Regular readers will have surmised by now that I am the laziest muthafucka in all of Texas. To a mind like mine–a mind which, in oneâ€™s spare time, one might liken, if not to a colander, at least to a chinois strainer–any elevated state of purposeful activity is highly disagreeable. Too often, enterprise requires a marshaling of mental and emotional resources that, if one desires to excel at eccentric reclusiveness, ought more properly to be expended toward the act of frittering.
I may as well fess up: Iâ€™m frittering right now. The preceding three sentences have taken me forty-five minutes to write, so great is my compulsion to fritter. For instance, Iâ€™ve had to stop every three or four words to play tug-of-war with the dog. Iâ€™ve had to recline on the couch and contemplate the intriguing patterns of light thrown on the ceiling by the rosy fingers of dawn. In mid-sentence I had to adjourn to eat an overripe nectarine while standing over the kitchen sink. It was also necessary that I email my pregnant sister an article from the NY Times about a study showing that pregnant women are more accident-prone than the general populus. And of course Iâ€™ve had to make several trips to the C-1000 (indispensable to a person as lazy as I am, the C-1000 is a super-automatic espresso machine, a remarkable device of hilariously unintuitive Swiss design that eliminates from oneâ€™s life forever the dreaded hipster coffee house and its sarcastic barista by producing at the touch of a button superb cups of fresh-ground coffee in seconds).
I managed to accomplish some pretty good side-frittering during my last coffee run, when I espied a small Achaearanea tepidariorum in the act of sucking the lifeblood out of a winged insect three times its size, and felt moved to photograph it.
I do some of my best frittering before noon, but this week’s crowning glory, a truly world-class fritter, transpired last night, a few hours before the ceviche I rashly purchased at Central Marketâ€™s takeout counter came back to haunt me in the rather epic fashion of poisoned ceviches the world over: I watched â€œSybilâ€ on cable. In its entirety.
Because keeping on top of television schedules is not the forte of a spinster aunt bent on frittering, I discovered too late that the â€œGreen Acresâ€ and â€œLeave It To Beaverâ€ channel was having Movie-Of-The-Week Week, screening â€œthe greatest made-for-TV movies of all time!â€
Of all time!
Sadly, my Twisty-come-lately ways meant that I missed â€œBrianâ€™s Songâ€ and â€œThe Boy In The Bubble.â€
But â€œSybil,â€ featuring a young Sally Field (prescient in super-ugly glasses that would not become ironic hipster eyewear for another 20 years) in a tour de force performance as the mousy abused looney with about 78 annoying personalities, knows no equal when it comes to the perfect melodramatic coalescence of horror and tragedy and bathos that is the female buddy picture.
I am sorry for anyone who was not born in time to have been a 15-year-old girl when â€œSybilâ€ first aired 1976, before the Lifetime network was even a gleam the patriarchyâ€™s eye. A Plath-readin’ diary-writin’ 15-year-old girl of that era could really sink her teeth into old Sybil. She was the emblem of misunderstood teenism. Who among us did not, at the conclusion of the 2-night marathon, throw herself on the sofa and cry â€œSybil Dorsett, câ€™est moi!â€? She hated her mother, had glorious hidden talents that went unappreciated by the general public, could speak French, and despite being crazy as a loon, had managed to snag the one sensitive guy in all of New York (even if he did wear Mork suspenders and say things like â€œwouldnâ€™t it be great to wake up and find smiles on your pillow?â€).
Maybe â€œSybilâ€ could have the same effect on teenage girls today, but I doubt it somehow. Iâ€™m not sure what kids these days are into, but in Austin a lot of their time seems devoted to sporting around the mall wearing orange hot pants that have the word â€œTEXASâ€ printed across the butt.