The big news locally this week is we get to sit inside restaurants again, because our region has done so very well at not getting sick.
Don’t get cocky about it. Keep wearing your masks while you order and until the food arrives and the waiter leaves you with your designated loved ones scheduled to get sick with you. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones you kiss and hug every day so you’ve long ago given up all hope of being able to protect each other from contagious diseases. Your sweethearts. The poor devils who if you die, they die, and vice versa.
I think Governor Inslee relaxed the criteria for us to re-enter Phase 2 of the lockdown just in the nick of time. I was sensing looming riots. People really hate not being able to sit in restaurants and feed.
Of course, the restaurants will still only be allowed to seat at 25% capacity, but they’ll probably all get around that like they did last time, putting plenty of chairs under umbrellas and awnings outside. Along the sidewalk, with no one wearing masks, talking loudly to each other, sweethearts, poor devils, as pedestrians have to walk past them, dodging spit droplets.
Speaking of food-related news, what’s the deal with exploited monkey labor? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has said Chaokoh — makers of coconut milk — use coconuts harvested by monkey slaves, and they convinced Target to stop carrying the brand. Chaokoh says, “Nuh-uh, none of our suppliers use slave monkey labor.”
I feel like there’s a lot missing from the telling of this story. The story doesn’t say what slave monkey labor looks like when it happens.
I’m guessing the monkeys would have handlers, and the monkeys, being mercenaries at heart, are not about to climb trees and toss down coconuts unless there’s something in it for them. I’m thinking monkey treats. I’ve heard monkeys don’t really thrive on bananas, but there must be something for them. Monkey biscuits? Monkey kibbles? Anyway, the handlers ought to know.
Should I throw out my wool blanket because the sheep were herded by slave border collies? Or is that a false equivalency? I’m so lost.
Back to local news: I get to talk about a wonderful instance of non-homelessness. Sometimes we like to be able to talk about someone whose cup overflows with homefulness. This time it’s Greg Kucera, who has for nearly four decades owned and run the Greg Kucera art gallery on Third Avenue South in Pioneer Square. He’s now in the process of selling the gallery to employees and planning to move to “a small castle, a ‘medieval stone fortress, built in 1501 for one of the minor Knights of Rhodes’ in the French town of Parisot,” The Seattle Times said. Wowie, wow wow. Dealing in art has been very, very good for him.
I want to confess right now that if I could afford a French medieval stone fortress, I would be moving there, too, provided it had Wi-Fi and decent heating and was within walking distance to a supermarket. But then I’m sure Kucera has a car to get around in and can afford space heaters as needed.
Built in 1501? The wiring can’t be up to code, can it? Well, I’m sure he’s taken all those sorts of considerations into account. I shouldn’t worry on his behalf.
Actually, the castle appears to be the Château de l’Astorguié, which was recently renovated and even has modern toilets in place of the original long-drop toilets. The wiring was definitely improved during the renovation, and under-floor heating was installed. The conical roofs of the towers have been replaced. By the way, the minor Knight of Rhodes was either the guy whom the capital of Malta, Valletta, was named after, or his father. Anyway, being knightly ran in the family.
Having been homeless for four years, I think I should be living in a modern renovated castle built for a minor Knight of Rhodes. I am glad for Kucera. I hope when he flies off to live in his small chateau, he fondly remembers us little people he left behind, for at least a while, until our memories fade from him as all memories will do, when you’re living in a well-heated castle with a spectacular view of the French countryside.
Just don’t get cocky about it, Kucera. Wear your mask all the way until you get there.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more in the Feb. 3-9, 2021 issue.