Usually when I’m down I take myself off to the public library; it is impossible to remain uninterested when you are in the middle of a public library and if you are interested, you cannot long remain depressed.
Perhaps my depression was purely chemical. Following the advice of Hazel, the rabbit authority who works at Balk’s Hardware in South Pasadena, I put a lavish sprinkling of moth crystals under my bed, where Hazel, her namesake and our rambunctious health rabbit, is determined to make a nest of the quartet of electric cords. It worked very well--Hazel left them alone; she now jumps on top of the bed with intentions of tunneling down into the mattress.
I found however, that while the moth crystals keep Hazel away from the wires, it is hardly conducive to slumber to breathe an almost palpable cloud of 100% naphthalene all night. Once moth crystals are down, they become part of the floor, refusing to be mopped up; I will never have any moths in my bed, my hair or my breathing passages.
Where Hazel is particularly fond of sampling old editions I had put a trail of cayenne pepper on a bookshelf--it looks like termites have passed in caravan. As an afterthought, I offered Hazel a sniff of the pepper can--she nibbled at the plastic tab for more. I think this rabbit is part goat.
Then there was the ravioli. Who would have thought a fat, wet ravioli could possibly disappear down the crack between the sink and the stove? Here it will live and raise its family since I can’t get it out.
But, Freud to the contrary, ruminating over the causes of depression does not alleviate it; action does. Hence I went to South Pasadena to see about getting Alfred’s grandfather’s watch running again.
It would cost $150, said the large man with the large smile and large hands, a French Canadian with the beautiful name of La Memoire. He also has a large interest in his work, explaining joyously how every little wheel had to be balanced on a point, trimmed and thinned, rebalanced with all the others--well, one wondered how any watch could be built in under a year.
I said I would think about it; that’s what one says when things are too expensive. Meanwhile, he brushed the battery in a little alarm clock I brought and replaced it, announcing it needed no new battery, untangled the knotted silver chain and thought hard about my checkered art deco silver bracelet with the broken clasp. It would cost $35 to make a clasp, he said. Probably worth it, but a little steep for a $3 investment. We both looked sadly at the thin broken hasp. Then, without a word, no fanfare, he suddenly bent the hasp with the pliers in his hand. It worked; the bracelet closed. Beams all around.
“For what?” he said.
“For fixing the bracelet, for cleaning the little alarm, untangling the chain . . . .”
“A smile will be enough,” he said and held up a finger, “but not too generous a smile or I will be in your debt.” I think he is more French than Canadian.
At Bellefontaine nursery there was a rosemary plant, its twiggy branch exhibiting tree aspirations. This, together with four pink and white dianthus and four inches of blue star ground cover came to $2.99, beautified my front door pot and restored my spirits.
The moral question? When you’re down, get up and get out.