February 19, 2009

No use crying over sour milk

I've just tossed away a perfectly good morning reading the entire "things my girlfriend and I have argued about" blog. Written by Mil Millington,it lives in its entirety on one long webpage, although you can sign up (as I have) to receive occasional mailings from him. You can also buy his books, which I have not.

The postings are, as the title states, recountings of arguments Mil, who is British, has had with his girlfriend Margret, who is German. He attributes the arguments to Margret being nuts, which is likely, what with her having lived with him for more than 15 years. They have two children and aren't married, a situation he explains to Americans by calling attention to the difference between a ritual and reality. The example he gives is the way in which a person can be (and often is) dead without or without benefit of a funeral.

Margaret is not so much insane as she is a person who doesn't suffer fools gladly. In that respect, she reminds me of my sister Amy. The world is full of Amy stories, but this is the one that came to mind as I read about Margret.

One July when I was out in Arizona visiting, Amy, a few friends, and I were seated around her kitchen table, which had an ivy-patterned tablecloth on it that matched the curtains. (Yes, it was darling.) Amy and I had fresh cups of coffee in front of us. She picked up the small pitcher of milk, poured some into her cup, and placed the pitcher down in front of me. I picked it up, poured some milk into my cup, watched the milk clabber into lumps, set the pitcher down, and said, "Oh, look. The milk's gone sour."

"No, it hasn't," said Amy. "I just put some in my cup."

"I know you did," I replied, "but it's sour now."

"I JUST put it in my cup," she said, as though once that fact penetrated my thick head I'd reconsider my sour-milk statement.

"I know. But look." I moved the cup a bit closer to her and gave the lumps a quick stir with a spoon.

Amy peered into my cup. Then she sat back in her chair and glared at me. "What the hell did you do to the milk?" she asked.

They used to accuse witches of making the milk go sour, and I have a close relative who can't wear wrist watches because they stop two minutes after she dons them, but I myself am given neither to spells nor to odd electrical impulses - and yet nothing I could say convinced Amy that I have no control over milk.

All of which is to suggest that Mil Millington is a lucky man.

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