Mornings and aliens

November home life
The fiddle-leaf fig is feeling cornered.

We have breakfast together now, perhaps for the first time in our marriage. Our previous day jobs were structured so that our mornings rarely overlapped. A shared breakfast is pleasant, even if it is short.

He tells me some music news that completely sails over my head; I make lists on scraps of paper; one of us will feed the overeager dogs.

We sit down at the table, facing each other. We each have a cup of Yorkshire Gold (Sgt. Brody’s favorite) and talk about what we’ve read or are thinking about. We are interrupted by getting up and down to let Eden out into the yard. Lately, we tend to share dark and gloomy political predictions. We wax poetic about all the ways America will go wrong in the next four years.

This morning, he regaled me with ideas from an article about intelligent life and made me feel anxious about (a) finding it in a far-off galaxy and then (b) being obliterated by it because it will not value human consciousness.

“They will not recognize the value of preserving consciousness,” he said, “because they will have no need for it.”

“So, they’ll see us like chickens?”

“Yes. And feel the same way we do about eating chickens. No moral hesitation.”

He stood up to leave, already a minute past the time he was supposed to be at work.

“Wait, I have a thing!” I said. “Listen to my thing.”

And I told him about a law in Nebraska that let parents abandon children without legal repercussions, but the law forgot to stipulate an age limit, and so within days, dozens of parents were dropping off kids from the ages of 3 to 17. It was the lead of an article that Catherine sent me yesterday.

“You would read a thing like that,” he said. And kissed my cheek. And we left for work.

(But really, where did Sgt. Brody learn to love Yorkshire Gold? It is not easily found in our shared state of Virginia; I have to buy it online. And as far as we know, he never lived in England. I call foul on this choice by the screenwriters.)

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