Wednesday, December 08, 2004

"We're past pretending now. We'll leave that to the amateurs."

The Movie: Sleuth, 1972 (Anthony Shaffer, screenplay, from his play; Joseph L. Mankiewicz, dir.)
Who says it: Michael Caine as Milo Tindle, a hairdresser in love with Andrew Wyke's wife
The context: Having humiliated each other with elaborate ruses, Milo and Andrew Wyke (Laurence Olivier), a mystery novelist, move to a more serious negotiation.
How to use it: When you’re getting down to business.

It's not true, in case you were wondering, that Eskimos have 100 (or 200, or 400) words for snow. But they do have about 15 words, depending on how you count them.

I could use a few extra. Last night we had frozen rain after snow, leaving a crust of ice on top of about an inch of powder. It's treacherous walking, even in my LL Bean Mountain Moccasins, and it's dangerous for Dizzy, because the ice has sharp edges when his paws break through. I doubt the temperature ever rose above 20 yesterday; when I returned the rental car, the bank thermometer on Western Avenue read 15 degrees.

But today it's supposed to warm up considerably, and once it does, I'll go retrieve my car. The wise thing to do would be to take it directly to the Volkswagen dealership, to have the tires checked and everything winterized, but I'll probably do that tomorrow.

The short hours of daylight compress all the day's activities, and create a sense of urgency to get things done while the sun's in the sky. Sunrise to sunset is less than nine hours now, and we're still about two weeks away from the shortest day of the year.

When I moved up here, a friend of mine called it rookie league for Antarctica -- a long-cherished fantasy -- and that was truer than I could have imagined.

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