Generally, by 9 pm, I am so mentally spent here in middle age that I can hardly open a book. But I seem to be making an exception these days for Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series, which has me sitting in bed and laughing my ass off.
I know, I know. Almost 30 years after the rest of the galaxy discovered that Adams is one of the sprightliest manipulators of the English language since Jane Austen, I finally happen upon this revelation.
Let’s just blame my late arrival on eddies in the space-time continuum.
So I was really delighted last night when, in the middle of a landslide, Adams’ dim earthman hero Arthur Dent discovers that he can fly–as long as he doesn’t think about it. And the first thing he thinks of, naturally, to keep him from thinking is… tulips.
It was difficult, but he did. He thought about the pleasing firm roundness of the bottom of tulips, he thought about the interesting variety of colors they came in, and wondered what proportion of the total number of tulips that grew, or had grown, on the Earth would be found within a radius of one mile from a windmill. After a while he got dangerously bored with this train of thought….so he thought about the Athens airport for a bit and that kept him usefully annoyed for about five minutes–at the end of which he was startled to discover that he was now floating about six hundred feet above the ground.
Tulips do precisely the same thing for me, particularly at this time of year when November–ugliest, greyest, most dismal harbinger of five sunless months–threatens. They keep me from thinking about it.
Instead, I think about how fabulous ‘Purple Prince’ is going to look with the tomato red double late ‘Double Dutch’ and the golden yellow lily-flowered ‘West Point’ in my hell strip…while across the sidewalk in my front beds, there will be more ‘Purple Prince’–he’s gorgeous and since he’s a single early, he reigns for weeks and weeks and weeks–as well as an outrageous tomato red tulip with yellow fringes called ‘Davenport.’
And I don’t go mad.