a walk in the park

Recheng called at a quarter to eight. We let the machine pick up, rolled over and snoozed, all five of us counting the cat, until twenty to eleven.

I called Re back. “We just woke up.”

“You’re joking!” she said: then, sympathetically, “bad night with the girls?”

Both kids have bad colds. They’re coughing up, and also swallowing, gallons of pale green phlegm; the coughing and the phlegm make them vomit. It’s very pleasant. It also makes it hard for them to sleep or eat, so Claire is on a hair-trigger, and even Jules is uncharacteristically cross.

We threw everyone into the car and met the Jaffe Tsangs at Strybing Arboretum. Glorious sun, white daisies in the green grass, cherryblossom. The Anarchist Book Fair had taken over the County Fair Building and there were lots of anarchists lolling around and gesturing meaningfully with red and black balloons. They wore old-fashioned hats and frock coats and so on; it looked like the music video for Safety Dance (ETA: OMG that thing is genius, go watch it and feel TWELVE AGAIN).

“Rachel, you can tell me,” said Jonathan, “Why aren’t anarchists allowed to wear white?”


“They’re all wearing black.”

“That’s because they’re opposed to things.”

“I get that, but can’t they be opposed to things in pink?”

“She’s wearing white.”

“Yeah, and she’s carrying the gear for all the guys. She’s just a groupie.”

“She’s with the band!”

We were trying to figure out the quickest way to the carousel. There were three policemen on large horses stationed across the road from the book fair, apparently just watching the anarchists. The use of horses to impose order seemed weirdly appropriate to the general late-Victorian ambience. I wandered over and chatted to one of the policemen, then wandered back.

“What did he say?” asked Re.

“He said the horse is a Belgian Draught – Quarter Horse cross. I’d guessed some kind of warmblood, so I was sort of close.”

“Rachel! You didn’t ask where the carousel is?”


Claire, who had asked earlier this week for a ride on a carousel with Knoa, was well pleased with our ad hoc adventure. It wasn’t until we’d parked at home that Jeremy realized he had left his beautiful, expensive camera hanging on the back of a chair in the picnic area near the carousel. A tense drive back to the park ensued. Jeremy was gone so long I was sure the thing had been stolen, but at last he came back in sight, waving the camera in one hand and in the other a sign: CAMERA FOUND HANDED IN TO SNACK BAR. I folded up the sign and am keeping it in the car, for more luck.

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