DAY 248: Risotto

June 4th, 2018 § 0 comments

To move to a grander scale in the grand scheme of things, setting aside mass carnage in places too numerous to mention, human rights abuses ditto, the shooting of a clearly marked paramedic on the Gaza border by the Israeli occupation force, drownings including of children in the Mediterranean. East and West, it was only to be expected (as I have finally come to conclude) that the fragile fabric of the universe which there were a number of reasons to conclude was not as secure as we had thought  was indeed crumbling (has anyone written down the Grand Theory of Everything? Does the Higgs really do what it say on the packet?). Things, which I had thought persisted in space and time, were unpredictably vanishing. I could cite about three cases from today, but let’s restrict our attention to a packet of arborio rice which – naturally – I wanted in order to make a risotto. I’d cut up an onion and various herbs and started  some oil melting and stuff and – hey! Where was the rice?

A week ago, there was a nearly full pack (okay, only a pound,


but no one around here would have eaten it) in the rice-cupboard. Now there was nothing. Nor in any other cupboard neither. Could that amount of rice have dematerialised? Could it have been taken by bailiffs to settle some rather picayune debt of which I was unaware? I naturally – given my currently rather fragile nature, which in the asylum-seeking trade we term ‘vulnerable’, rapidly became reduced to a weeping gibbering wreck.

Like the rest of us I’ve passed through a fairly disciplined school system (it’s evolved over the years) which filters the youngsters so that they come out getting to ‘know’ things about the ‘world’ (note the scare-quotes). So that we’re deemed to know about French, or chemistry, or Marxism, if we know that the past subjunctive of ‘nous voyons’ is ‘nous vissions’, or that cadmium has two valency electrons, being a transition element in group 12 (I hope) of the periodic table, or that the ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas. And not only would these ‘facts’ get you through your GCSEs, but they were ‘true’ and told you something about the ‘world’, which was safe and stable and wouldn’t go away. In particular, a packet of rice, if you put it in the cupboard, would stay in the cupboard unless there was some compelling reason for its disappearance.

[I should mention that this was the third in a series of such disappearances (or apparent disappearances) in twelve hours, and I was getting twitchy.] I wonder if Bishop Berkeley


had similar problems which unused him to doubt the reality of the material world. I know he didn’t exactly do that, but let’s suppose he did.

Of course eventually the rice turned up, next to the Shredded Wheat. I know rice is a cereal, but how could anyone have been so misguided as to put it there? I hesitated to turn inquisitor; I prefer to stick to my belief that the structure of reality is, in some essential way, fractured, and that causality had decided to take a holiday and play games with the rice. Jesus did it with
loaves and fishes,


it’s not too much to suppose that other kinds of food can mutate.

As I said, I found the rice and made the risotto. I can move on (or back) to the struggle and hope the universe will stay put for the time being.




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