I had plans – and I’m not talking in the earth-shattering sense – I meant blog plans. First, I have sadly neglected to cover the 2007 Cheese Rolling at Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire.

And then there’s my new-born fascination with the idea that I might have Amish Ancestors (because in my Euro-mutt mix there are ancestors with the right type of names who emigrated from Europe at just the right time and came to precisely the right county in Pennsylvania…). Perhaps the fact that I’d just finished reading Plain Truth had something to do with it. OR it was performing in the Amish musical in high school oh-so-many years ago (Plain and Fancy).

THEN I became very interested in seeing if I could figure out which of my ancestors died of the “Black Death” – well, and obviously somebody survived, too, so I thought I’d try and figure out who those hardy folks were. Maybe the fact that I’m reading a book about the medieval plague has something to do with that.

Yes, I purchased this book on purpose. I like variety. For instance, I packed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and the well-known Elie Wiesel (Founding Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum) Trilogy – Night, Dawn and Day – for the Park City Short Course.

But I have realized that there was a much more pressing issue. There should and must be a handbook for any and all interactions with me – Crazy Kate, Kate the Safety Dog, Crazy Heathen Aunt Kate, plain Kate, And bonny Kate and sometimes Kate the curst – any and all variations of Kate (don’t forget Jessica Biel). It might prove very helpful to the few people I encounter when I manage to leave the house. Because I feel great pity for them. Oh – I feel very sorry for them indeed.

This comprehension was hastened by painful realizations I’ve been having over time culminating into an epiphany of grand proportions on Friday. That night I subjected an old friend who I had not seen in well over a decade to what could only be described as a protracted stream-of-consciousness epic nightmare complete with sweeping hand gestures (dangerously close to poking out his eyes) and many “Uh – thanks for sharing” moments.

I’ll use great restraint and make these instructions short and sweet. Okay, I’ll TRY to use great restraint and make these instructions short and sweet:

  1. When the stream-of-consciousness has starts to look like a scenically transcontinental – NOT express – train that is derailing (which it WON’T – I must assure you that despite all appearances it will keep going even though by all rights it should dive right off the track and explode into a conflagration of unequaled proportions – it is the LITTLE TRAIN OF THOUGHT (thought?) that COULD), please feel free to use a gently halting phrase. I suggest, “Shut up, Kate.” It needn’t be shouted, just stated in a resolute and firm tone. “Shut up, Kate.” It’s not mean, I promise you; it’s a matter of self-preservation.
  2. There’s also, “Get out of the car, Kate.” Same thing – not yelled, not desperate – just a firm, resolute, “Get out of the car, Kate.” Throw in a “please” for fun if you’re so inclined, but strictly speaking, in these emergency situations it is not compulsory.
  3. No excuses are necessary. I understand what I’m like right now (though I prefer to delude myself into thinking that this was not ALWAYS so) and I’d rather everyone just told it like it was. You needn’t say, “My bladder might explode if I don’t get to a bathroom very soon,” unless, of course, it’s the truth. I’ll even take, “My head might explode if I don’t get some rest VERY SOON.”
  4. A fun change of pace could be a finger to my lips à la Dianne Wiest in Bullets Over Broadway with a, “No, no, don’t speak. Don’t speak. Please don’t speak. Please don’t speak…”

That’s all. I’m open to suggestions if I’ve neglected anything.

It occurs to me that this entry should be dedicated to Grettir, who, more than anyone else (I’m not disregarding my family, I just seem to be more deranged when I leave the house), has patiently suffered through, well, about twenty years of my day-to-day type lunacy and has, even more admirably, had the forbearance to still associate with me during what I might label my non compos mentis epoch. Thank you, Grettir.