“You’re too drunk to look at the moon!”

She hurled this accusation nightly, rarely with any accuracy. I’ll give her Tuesday, sure, 10 minutes scanning the sky before I felt the rain drops. And Sunday, when I tried in vain to focus on the craters of the moon only to give up before she pointed out that I was looking at the streetlight, she was right about that one. But tonight, I wasn’t losing my arm-wrestling battle with the bottle. It was moon time.

“My herb pots spread the yard watered just stay inside I swear you stumble spill my herbs I’m locking door don’t tonight locked just t.v. Nova or Contact.”

Sometimes I think if you looked up “Blah blah blah” in the dictionary it would say, “Ask Tammy”, and damn, she’d explain it to you. (And regrettably, not very quickly.) I had long since filtered out most of the adjectives, developing my own version of the Evelyn Wood Speed Listening course. Something about too much herb and pot and lock the door and no TV, these things I committed to short term memory. But the rest, no thanks. No one tells me when I can look at the moon. I’m my own astronomer.

With the backyard lights off to allow better celestial viewing, I aimed myself in my usual direction toward the left-out-last-night telescope.

Herb pots, not herb and pot, that’s what she said. This popped into my head as my feet came to a halt at an obstacle while my body continued on its way across the yard. I sensed that momentum and I were no longer cooperating and splayed my arms and hands in an attempt to assume the standard push-up position. However, midway into the surprise calisthenic, my hand encountered the cold, hard tube of the telescope that, courtesy of its semi-precarious tripod stance, quickly joined me as a pawn to the suddenly overwhelming gravity. Herb pots, I thought again as I listened to the telescope crashing like space junk into the earthenware planters, the sound barely muffled by my body as I landed atop the mess.

As I lay uncomfortably sprawled on the shards of terra cotta and the wooden legs of the telescope, I remained motionless to determine if my minor misstep had been perceived within the house. The air was quiet, except for a notable ‘shhhuk’ of the dead bolt on the back door. Ahhh, she didn’t tell ME to lock the door. She said SHE would lock the door. Well, she’s always been true to her word. I just wish she didn’t have so many.

I extricated myself from the rubble, stinking of Italian cooking as I brushed off the potting soil and sprigs of Oregano and thyme. I carefully stepped over to the polyester-webbed lawn chair, sat down, removed a cigarette from my shirt pocket and lit it. There would be plenty of time tonight to find the moon.

I’m pretty sure that her comment “no T.V.” applied to me.

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