Can I Gnaw on That?
Okay. So. On this trip to England, I realized that Charleston blue bloods have nothing on the English aristocracy. While at my current hosts, I was treated to shaking a hand that’s touched the Queen (not carnally – that I know of – lest readers’ minds veer in that unfortunate direction.)
Prior to his arrival, my hosts were all a-twitter, explaining that he’d lived in the local pile for years before abandoning it in favor of his son. They went further to say that it was one of the best examples they could cite of inbreeding run amok. Back peddling ensued, such that I was imaging a cross between Jesus Christ and the Beast with Seven Heads and Ten Horns, if such a conjuring is even possible.
Aristocrat arrived, with American wife and dog in tow. He was tall, thin and about 75 years old, with old fashioned coke bottle glasses, greased unnaturally colored hair and a complexion that advertised inside-ness. Of course, russet corduroys, striped shetland wool jumper and tweed abounded. He shambled up and sat down across from a totally unprepared and unwitting me, who was innocently cutting up peppers for salad.
With every utterance, he mumbled intelligible things, occasionally managing to make clear a “sheep’s intestines are fine eating” or “pigs really do squeal the most when they die.” I blandly cut up my peppers and tried to keep my expressions neutral.
Until he asked me “Can I gnaw on that?” Truly, I didn’t know whether he wanted to chomp on my leg after all the talk of butchering and killing animals, or whether he was referring to something else innocently sitting around my area. Who asks someone if they can gnaw on anything? Gnaw? On? That?
He rooted through the pile of vegetable refuse I’d created and tucked into a stray sliver of pepper with copious seeds attached. He continued to mumble about dead and dying animals as he spat seeds and saliva in my general direction, cleaning up every single shard of garbage in the process.
A hand that shakes the Queen’s also gnaws on garbage. Hmmmmmm.
Postscript to this post:
The English have reminded me that salad doesn’t have to be complicated. A fresh variety of lettuces plus a few just picked veggies and a small smattering of the lightest dressing can be yummy. Minus the scraps of garbage, of course.