My obsessive accumulation of books has rendered my shelf into bricks stacked to a safe point of balance. It’s my way of building something worthwhile I guess. Now home to a family of domestic spiders, I’ve started to pick through them again, sifting out which to ship home to Oz and which to pass on to a friend. I was pleasantly delighted this morning when I started leafing through a personal favorite by David Sedaris titled
I believe in timing, when a string of words might go unoticed at one point and resonate within you 3 years later. I must have missed this paragraph in my past read but it struck a chord within me for some reason and I am compelled to write it down to validate its significance.
…I went to my neighborhood grocery store and saw an elderly woman slip on a grape. She fell hard, and after running to her side I took her by the arm. “You really have to watch yourself in this produce aisle.”
“I know it,” she said. “I could have broken my leg.”
“Actually,” I told her, “you could have been killed.”
The woman attempted to stand, but I wouldn’t let her. “I’m serious. People die this way. I’ve seen it.”
Her expression changed then, becoming fearful rather than nearly pained. It was the look you get when facing a sudden and insurmountable danger: the errant truck, the shaky ladder, the crazy person who pins you to the linoleum and insists, with increasing urgency, that everything you know and love can be undone by a grape.